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Jun 17, 1999

Do not hide your money under the mattress . . .

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© Reuse this South Africans need not hide their money under the mattress as the new millennium approaches, with most large banking corporations having taken precautions against the year 2000 (Y2K) bug well in advance.

This is largely due to the fact that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has taken an active role to ensure that the South African banking sector is compliant, reports Absa commercial banks risk-management operating executive Friedel Meisenholl.

“Based on our analysis, the local banking sector is in line with international benchmarks to become Y2K compliant,” he tells Engineering News.

The banking group has implemented a comprehensive project to deal with all Y2K issues, and has followed a formal project plan.

“The directors are satisfied with the progress made to date,” says Meisenholl.

The group’s action plan is about 90% complete, with a future date-verification exercise, the testing of the odd outstanding mission-critical system, and the updating refining of business continuity and contingency plans yet to be completed.

Managing public perceptions through an extensive communications programme, and updating business continuity and contingency planning to cater for any issues that may occur, are the greatest challenges remaining for the group, reveals Meisenholl.

In terms of the Y2K readiness of clients, the bank reviews its clients’ readiness as part of the credit-assessment process, and at present it does not expect any material impact as a result of clients not being compliant.

Standard Bank started its efforts at finding solutions to this problem in 1996, when it formed a project team to assess the requirements of Y2K compliance, and identified measures necessary to fulfil these requirements, reports CE Mike Vosloo.

“An effort is also being made to reduce the risk posed by potentially non-compliant outside parties; for example, we have taken steps to determine the progress of our suppliers, corporate customers and business partners towards compliance,” he reveals.

The group has already completed comprehensive inventories of items that could be affected by the Y2K problem, including computer software and hardware, computer systems, office equipment, documentation and building-management systems such as heating and air-conditioning.

Changes to all systems are complete, and will be tested to ensure that the group’s computer systems will operate without disruption during the change to the year 2000.

To increase awareness of the Y2K problem, the group has sent newsletters to all large customers and business partners which outlined the problem and included details of the group’s progress at the time.

The Nedcor group has established a comprehensive programme aimed at identifying, analysing and resolving all problems and eventualities within the group that will, or may, arise either directly, or indirectly, as a result of the Y2K computer problem, reports Y2K programme GM Peter Weeks.
Edited by: System Author
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