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Financial Institutions Focus on Customers as Y2K Approaches

Friday, January 1, 1999

As 1999 draws to a close, the banking industry is modifying its approach to Century Date Change preparations.

For the past two years, financial institutions have concentrated their efforts on testing information systems and preparing contingency plans, says Jeff Dale, the St. Louis Fed's Century Date Change coordinator. With their preparations complete, they are shifting their full attention to the needs and concerns of their customers.

Dale suggests that financial institutions take advantage of every possible opportunity to emphasize certain key messages:

  • This institution is prepared. All critical systems have been tested, and a contingency plan is in place.
  • There are a variety of payment resources available to consumers—cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, ATMs, tellers.
  • The federal government's protection of insured deposits will not be affected by Y2K.

Frontline staff should be comfortable with these messages and know where to refer customers when they don't have answers, says Dale. "Staff members can also help customers avoid Y2K-related fraud by reminding them to protect personal information, such as bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers."

This issue of Central Banker examines how communications can help maintain public confidence in the financial system throughout the century rollover. For additional information, call Jeff Dale at (314) 444-8400.