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Financial sector testing the CROW at Y2K Back  
In a report on Y2K preparations, the Central Bank has said that it is ‘conscious of the potential impact of an extended Christmas and New Year holiday on banknote demand.’ The focus of attention for Y2K in the financial sector is now on the century rollover weekend, known
as CROW.

The use of cheques, credit and debit cards would mitigate to some extent the increased demand over period, according to the Bank.

The Bank said it has discussed the issue with its main retail bank customers, whose ‘chief concern is to ensure that they have a sufficient quantity of high-quality notes to keep their ATM machines operational. The Bank has identified various measures to address this issue and is currently in discussion with the main retail banks’, it said.

The Bank also confirmed that it is currently analysing a recent survey of banks which focused on the testing and contingency planning phases of regulated entities and on identifying any upcoming milestones in relation to Year 2000 projects.

The Central Bank said that its own Y2K compliance work had begun in 1996 and that by July this year, hardware and software changes and testing were ‘substantially complete’. It is now focusing on contingency planning and monitoring procedures for the century rollover weekend.

In mid-1998 the Bank surveyed banks to assess their state of readiness for the Year 2000. The Bank’s analysis of that survey ‘indicated that there is a high level of awareness of Year 2000 issues and that adequate planning, resources and priority were being accorded to Year 2000 projects’.

‘Most institutions have already completed the assessment and renovation stages of their projects and the focus for the remainder of 1999 will be on testing and contingency planning.’

The Central Bank said that in the coming months, ‘contingency planning will need to be a key priority’. The Bank already requires all institutions to have adequate business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place.

‘Year 2000 contingency planning is not just about providing backup to computer systems, it is about ensuring the continuous and efficient functioning of an organisation as a whole before, during and after the millennium date change.’

The Bank detailed critical matters for attention as;
l assessment of other dates where information systems may face date-related difficulties in 1999 and 2000, e.g. 29/2/2000;

l deadlines which the firm may face for the completion of internal and external testing and for reacting to any unexpected problems that may arise at such times;

l problems with the compliance of critical external parties of the institution which may occur during the changeover;

assessment of the human and other resources required for the millennium weekend.

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