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1998-03-09 23:51:28


Philadelphia's Last Large Local Bank Sells: Y2K Problem



The y2k problem forced the sale of a regional bank to a conglomerate. Apparently, the chairman of the local bank did not regard y2k as "media hype" or a problem that Bill Gates will fix.

This was in the Philadelphia INQUIRER (March 4).

* * * * * * * *

The moment came when CoreStates' soon-to-be-former (and soon to be very wealthy) chairman Terry Larsen was asked whether the "year 2000 bug" -- the inability of many older computer systems to recognize years after 1999 -- was a factor in the decision to sell to First Union.

Yes, was Larsen's reply. The year-2000 issue was a "key thing" in convincing CoreStates' board to run up the white flag on independence. . . .

CoreStates faced "substantial exposure and risk" trying to make its systems year-2000-bug-proof, Larsen said. First Union was "substantially farther along" in the process. . . .

Can you dig it? Philadelphia's last big locally based bank gave up the ghost, according to its chairman, in part because it couldn't fix a two-digit bit of computer code in time. . . .

. . . If you take Larsen at his word, it means that the looming Y2K problem -- which has been passionately described as everything from an overhyped bit of geek hysteria to the coming End of Life As We Know It -- may already have claimed its first victim.


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