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1998-02-28 17:11:52


Latest Update on Y2K from Royal Bank of Canada (1996)



The Royal Bank of Canada, Canada's second-largest bank, is regarded as one of the earliest to come to grips with the y2k problem. It has a Web site devoted to the problem. Unfortunately, it appears not to have been updated since late 1996.

Notice the forecast by the director of the y2k repair project: he speaks of the difficulties of the project "over the next three years."

It would be nice to have an update. They were supposedly over 50% finished in late 1996.

* * * * * * *

It's dawn, just after the clock and the calendar have changed to a new millennium--the YEAR2000. At Royal Bank the computers will be humming along as usual: customers will be taking cash from automated banking machines and the elevators at our office towers will be working.

The Royal Bank was one of the first companies in Canada to acknowledge the Y2K issue. To ensure it will be business as usual at the Royal Bank when the day breaks on the YEAR2000, the Royal Bank has launched Project DAYBREAK. A six-member team, under the direction of Ron O'Donoughue, has been working for over a year to remedy the situation. By the end of July 1996, an assessment of Royal Bank's nearly 600 systems was completed. Fortunately, more than half these systems were YEAR2000 compliant but required certification testing. The assignment for 1997 and 1998 is to implement all necessary conversions, leaving 1999 to make sure nothing has been overlooked.

"It's an enormous task," says O'Donoughue. "Everything affecting our banking applications must be changed over the next three years--mainframe, individual workstations, third-party software, electronic transactions and business forms--in more than 30 countries. We're working to make sure that none of our clients will notice anything different on Saturday, January 1, 2000 and when our branches open on the Tuesday, it'll be business as usual. They'll be able to transfer funds internationally and conduct their electronic banking through their phone or personal computers at home or at work."

Project DAYBREAK will cost between $50 and $100 million to fully implement, but that's far less than some financial institutions may have to pay. Lloyds Bank is quoted as estimating their conversion at the equivalent of $70 million (Canadian) and CIBC has warned its board the cost could be as high as $125 million (Canadian). Worldwide, the tab for businesses could run as high as US $600 billion.


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