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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Banking

Date: 

1998-05-28 19:48:12

Subject: 

Government Tells Banks to Level With Their Customers. Real Soon.

  Link:

http://www.ffiec.gov/y2k/custpro.htm

Comment: 

The FFIEC (Federal Financial Institution Examination Council) has issuerd a letter telling banks to be ever so helpful in informing their customers about y2k.

So, I feel sure, my bank (and yours) will soon be doing all of the following. I mean, if the banks don't do any of this, it would mean that banks are not paying any attention to the FFIEC.

The FFIEC is going to release a model brochure in June. See if your bank sends out anything like this. Or, on the other hand, see if your bank is content to let sleeping dogs lie.

* * * * * * * *

In developing a customer awareness strategy, financial institutions should identify those customers who should be proactively informed of efforts to address business risks arising from the Year 2000 problem. Customers may include depositors, borrowers, fiduciary clients, or others who engage in transactions with the institution. Next, financial institutions should consider the most effective ways of communicating with various types of customers about the status of the financial institution's Year 2000 readiness. Depending upon the institution's size and business environment, possible methods include:

Providing informational brochures or other written disclosures in monthly or quarterly statements;

Establishing toll-free hotlines for customer inquiries;

Holding seminars to discuss the Year 2000 problem and efforts the financial institution is taking to prepare for the century date change; and

Developing Internet sites-or perhaps an exclusive portion of their existing site-to inform customers of their Year 2000 preparedness efforts.

It is recommended that financial institutions consult with legal counsel before issuing information describing the status of Year 2000 readiness efforts.

The customer awareness program should ensure that personnel who regularly interact with customers are trained to respond appropriately to inquiries by referring customers to appropriate explanatory materials or expert financial institution staff. Institutions also may consider including interested external parties (such as the news media and community organizations in the financial institution's service area) in the communication program, as appropriate.

In developing customer awareness programs, financial institutions should consider some of the issues customers may be interested in discussing and effectively communicate with them about what could happen and what they should do if problems do arise. Some potential customer inquiries include concerns about:

The safety of the money in their accounts.

Access to their funds, such as access through ATMs, debit cards, telephone lines or the Internet, and the arrangements the financial institution will make to ensure alternative means of access to funds if disruptions occur.

Whether they should withdraw some cash from their accounts prior to December 31, 1999.

Availability of information on or summaries of the financial institution's Year 2000 project management and contingency plans.

Whether direct deposit, direct debit and other automatic electronic payments will be made on a timely basis and credited or debited accurately to the proper accounts, and what arrangements the institution will make to deal with such transactions should disruptions occur.

How the financial institution will assist any customers who may be affected by incorrect automatic transactions such as direct deposit and direct debit initiated by the institution or by third parties.

Whether customers might not receive proper credit for loan payments.

The financial institution's record keeping practices.

The types of records customers should maintain prior to and after January 1, 2000.

The FFIEC is developing a consumer brochure that provides information to consumers about the Year 2000 challenge. The brochure will explain the steps financial institutions and the federal financial institution regulators are taking to address the century date change and emphasizes that the Year 2000 date change will not affect deposit insurance coverage. Financial institutions may wish to use the brochure as part of their communications with customers. The brochure will be available by June 1998.

Link: 

http://www.ffiec.gov/y2k/custpro.htm

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