Damned if you do, damned if you don't

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The other day someone posted a thread to the extent of 'my bank says they're ready' and several folks started immediately bashing this post. I'm a little confused. The bashers say 'not one company to date has stated they're Y2K ready', then when a company has the balls to do it, the bashers say 'oh yeah? what about power? what about their suppliers? what about the other banks they interface with?' Seems you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. I think what we're saying here is until the power companies declare themselves ready, no one else can. Does that sound right? I know our corporation is 95% complete with our project and in a couple more weeks we will declare ourselves Y2K ready (we have over 20,000 employees worldwide so it's a fairly large corporation). Whether the electric authority is ready or not has no bearing on our project being completed. That's what contigency planning is for. And yes, we've planned for no power. Something to the tune of 12 diesel tankers to run our UPS for a few weeks. When a company says 'we're ready', applaud them, don't bash'em. Isn't that what we're all hoping for? Most of us anyway - I've seen some posts that bodly state they hope it's a 10 (for whatever reason) and I'll have to admit these assholes scare me a little.


-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), December 02, 1998



The difficulty is, that ANYONE can SAY they are compliant, as a part of the Defense Dept just did, and NOT be. My Power Co says it will be by 12.31.1999 but if you read the 10-Q they say something a bit different since it's a legal filing. The only way you should believe a company, or agency is compliant is if there has been an INDEPENDENT audit by someone from outside the agency with no axe to grind, who says,"Yep!! By golly, they're ready!They've remediated. They've re- coded and tested and are ready!"


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 02, 1998.

There have been 3 recent threads having to do with banks alledgedly being Y2K compliant; in all 3 cases, the poster was skeptical, and basically was asking people for advice. In 2 of the threads, the Y2K compliant status was apparently given orally to the poster -- not in writing. In the other case, apparently something in writing had been received, so at least one subsequent post (mine) requested the name of the bank so that follow-up checking could be done. So far, no name has been provided.

And this is absolutely typical. One would think that something as important as this would leave no question in anyone's mind as to the Y2K compliant status of anything -- and certainly, good news in particular would be announced boldly and proudly. But no, its always in sort of a hazy, smokey, kind of state. Yes, there is a Y2K compliant bank, but that is as much as anyone can ever say. Details, like the name of the bank, always tend to get omitted.

It is today, this day, December 2, 1998. There is, as far as anyone can reliably perceive, not one single Y2K compliant bank, not one single Y2K complaint electric utility, not one single Y2K compliant telecom, etc., etc., etc. It spite of many years of effort in some cases, not one of these important (in many cases, life sustaining) institutions is ready for the Year 2000. That worries me. Does that worry you?

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 02, 1998.


Good point. I've got a feeling that most firms in the financial industry have definitely been audited by the FFIEC (they're in here this week for the next 3). Ours has been also audited by Keane, Inc., an independent systems integration firm with some serious project management experience and industry famous for Y2K consulting. Our clients hired them to audit our project. We were apprehensive at first, but realized these guys knew their shit and could really help us out, which they have. I have to believe that when any financial institution says they're ready, you can bet your last dollar they been through several audits over the last couple years, independent and government. BTW - our project has received the highest grade possible each and every audit - thankyouverymuch!


-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), December 02, 1998.

Deano, there is a huge difference between being y2k "ready" and y2k "compliant" and no one can say they are absolutely 100% compliant but anyone can say they are "ready" for y2k.

Mike =================

-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), December 02, 1998.

deano, since your firm has passed with flying colors, you certainly won't mind telling us WHAT IT IS...?

-- Ben Dair (not@aol.com), December 02, 1998.


Of course it worries me but someone has to be first. I've received docs from a few of our vendors (Attachmate comes to mind) where they're stating Y2K readiness. In the next several weeks you'll see more and more companies 'coming out'.

-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), December 02, 1998.

Mike - I disagree. Y2K ready and Y2K compliant mean the same thing. 'Compliant' has a bit more of a legal spice to it so you see more companies opting for 'ready' instead. But they mean the same in the business world.

Ben - I wish I could tell you. Maybe in a few weeks I will. I will tell you that our software processes over 20,000,000 (yes, that's twenty million) mortgage loans every night. If we ain't ready, we're all in deep shit.

-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), December 02, 1998.


Is it possible we'd be hearing about this on the news on January 4, 1999?

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), December 02, 1998.

What exactly IS the difference between Y2K ready and Y2K compliant?

-- margie mason (mar3mike@aol.com), December 02, 1998.

margie, personally I've given up on trying to get a straight answer to that one. I guess the best way to handle the whole thing is to ask your bank or whatever if:

1) They have finished their Y2K project (assuming that they ever had one!).
2) They plan to spend any more money on their Y2K project.

Hopefully, this will cut past a lot of the weasel wording....

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 02, 1998.


What do you mean 'processes' 20 million mortgage loans every day???

There are only about 100 million residences in the whole of the USA. Assuming each residence had a mortgage, your company handled every single one of them and each one needed processing once a week, your figures may make sense.

Otherwise your numbers seem very strange!

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), December 02, 1998.

Jack --- Per your post,

I am one who posted a question regarding bank compliance, as I received a letter stating that fact. The reason I have not posted the Bank's name yet, is because I'm awaiting a seminar tomorrow evening to have some of your points and questions answered by the officials seeking to asuage our fears.

Once I've returned from the seminar, depending on how honest or full of crap they are in my perception, I will name them so we can all do some digging together.

-- INVAR (gundark@aol.com), December 02, 1998.

Kevin - It may very well be. It will, at the very least, make the Mortgage Bankers magazine. : )

Craig - Our software process over 65% of the single family mortgages in the US and US owned territories. We are the 'IBM giant gorilla' of mortgage service bureaus. We had a 20,000,000 loan party just last month. I was also at the 10,000,000 loan party we had in May of 1990. Trust me, we are by far the biggest at what we do. There's a very good chance that your mortgage is processed by our software. And the loans are processed EVERY night. You may only make one payment per month, but you mortgage company probably has several thousand loans in their portfolio. They receive payments, pay taxes, pay hazard ins, report to credit bureaus, report to investors, report to the GSE's every day. Hope that clears it up for you.


-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), December 02, 1998.

I got the impression from Deano's original post that he's disapointed that when someone here posts that a company has declared itself compliant, no one praises that company's efforts. Whether they are actually compliant doesn't negate the real efforts they've made. I agree with that.

I see it as a given that everyone here wishes badly that EVERY company would come out and say, and prove us via independant verification, that they have been successful in all phases of their projects. No one, short of those that have a death wish, want y2k to happen at all. And THAT is why people are so critical; pushing, proding, pointing out the inconcistencies on every upbeat post. If we let our guards down and go on a feel good trip, we're back at square one. The more enlightened people on here expect a collapse of civilization to some degree, what will determine the severity is how much and how fast progress is made. But there will be a collapse. It won't be business as usual, it isn't already. Banks are forced to merge, so are other large corps, people are losing their jobs as we speak, direct consequence of y2k.

Hard to go on feel good trips and lavishing praises when you think that way. And I'm one of those who think that way.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), December 02, 1998.


You have a good point about overbashing.

I took another look at my postings in the Please Advise...My Bank Says It's 100% Compliant... thread started by INVAR. And now I'd say I started off okay at first with "1) Ask them when they completed their system testing ...", but was too extreme later toward the end.

Mea culpa.

OTOH, I think it is useful and legitimate to ask such slightly-unfair questions such as "How do you know for certain that the ____[fill in some external entity]____ will be 100% compliant?", for the purpose of seeing what the reaction is.

Someone who's fudging on the truth about their internal compliance (where you probably can't cross-check it) may be more likely to fudge on the truth about external entities (where you may be more able to check it out) than someone who's being straight with you all the way.

I would agree that we should all keep straight the distinction between a business's internal readiness or compliance, over which it has control, and the external vulnerabilities over which it does not have control.

>Whether the electric authority is ready or not has no bearing on our project being completed. That's what contigency planning is for. And yes, we've planned for no power.

Good -- you've contingency-planned.

But IF the bank in question does not mention contingency planning for power outages when it presents its "100% Compliant" statement, I think it's fair to suspect, until one finds out otherwise, that that bank does not have any such plan. By this time, there has been so much mention of contingency planning in the context of Y2K that I would expect any business's competent Y2K-planner to explicitly discuss that subject without having to be asked first.

Contingency planning for external Y2K-disruption is part of a business's *in*ternal Y2K readiness.

>they hope it's a 10 (for whatever reason) and I'll have to admit these assholes scare me a little.

FWIW, I wish it could be a 1 but also teach us all some everlasting lessons about our relationships with our computers. However, (sigh) I predict it will be a 4-to-8, depending on the particular scale of measurement and whether I've skipped my Prozac that morning (today I took it :-).

-- No Spam Please (anon@ymous.com), December 02, 1998.

deano: I'm sure you'll plenty of kudos when your company announces compliance. You just haven't done it yet.

You must remember that all these people are probably thinking something like this, "Mortgage processing... OK, great. But don't they have to transmit and receive data from some other organizations? How is everybody elses data? What if my payment check, drawn on my bank, doesn't get processed by my bank properly? Or in the Reserve System properly? Or doesn't make on the contracted fleet of aircraft that ply the airways every night running checks. Or a million other interaction possibilities?"

It sounds like your organization is doing all the right things... good work-in-progress, and taking care of your end of your business. There are just so many things beyond our control...

That is the premise of this forum, my friend. The massive dependency and connectivity that has been built for the last 30 years MAY NOT get fixed in the next year.

BTW: Please tell us when your company started and the number and type of systems you are running? It would be very helpful.

Also, I used to live on Amelia Island...If you're located where I think you are. Great area.

P.S. Banks have been forbidden by the Fed to make public their y2k compliance status. Why is everyone debating individual bank preparedness, knowing this fact?

-- PNG (png@gol.com), December 02, 1998.

Shucks, PNC just made the point. It's the interdependency, right? We've been told so many times that it's not over till the fat lady sings (there's a thread here by that name, too.) You can't know your system is compliant (or "ready") until it's been tested in the real world, in all its interactions with all its connections.

A bank won't know until it's running smoothly AFTER 01/01/2000 with the Federal Reserve, with all its electronic depositors, SSA comes to mind, payrolls come to mind. The Federal Reserve won't know if it's ready till it's rung all the changes in real time with all its affiliated banks. Same goes for GM and Ford with their suppliers. Charlotte's Web, somebody said. Twitch one strand and it all shakes. But spider silk is a lot stronger than what we're looking at with Y2K.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), December 02, 1998.


Here's a link to a recent story I saw on Japan and Y2K:

http://www.foxnews.com/js_index.sml?content=/news/international/1125/i _rt_1125_14.sml

"Japan Govt. Worries At Slow Progress On Millennium Bug"

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), December 02, 1998.

you can't trust 'independant' auditors. they are people like you and me. they make mistakes. went through the an audit in 1995, auditors made recommendations that went against ibm manuals. big time problems were had by all. areseejay.

-- AREseejay (areseejay@AOL.COM), December 02, 1998.

PNG - Amelia Island.........wow......nice place......beautiful golf courses, great fishing, yummy eats! We used to have our user conference there every year (16 of them I think), then we moved it down to Orlando at the palace a few years ago. 1200 mortgage bankers all in the same place at the same time.....yikes! I live about 30 minutes from Amelia down at Jax Beach. Our company was founded back in 1964. We were the first to do what we do. Our main business is mortgage banking servicing but we've added several products over the last few years (PC based management tools mainly). About 260 mtg companies are hooked up to our mainframe here in Jax. We also have about 35 clients who run our software in their own shops. Close to 80,000 users in all, so it's a pretty good size data center. A lot of our clients are hooked up by satellite (Galaxy 4 really sucked!) We were a major customer on that one. But, alas, the satellite is going away (YAY!). They can't prove compliancy so we're moving everyone to frame relay (that should tell you something about the phones like they're PROBABLY going to be ready - we wouldn't make that decision if they weren't). All in all, our division has about 1100 employees and markets around 25 different products and services. Nice place but I'm ready to buy that little 10 room cottage motel on the beach. It's my destiny........:-)

-- deano (deano@luvthebeach.com), December 03, 1998.

Come on posters lets give credit where credit is due, especially to a mortgage company. I would expect at least 80% of companies or organisations to be y2k compliant, its a question of what happens to the other 20%. Some may be able to fix on failure. I would expect y2k compliant companies to be prepared for production faults, failure of suppliers, protecting incoming data etc etc in 2000. If they don't need it well its better to be safe than sorry, especially when dealing with other people's money.

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), December 03, 1998.

Well, Richard, we will see. I am expecting near 0% compliance, personally. As I continually emphasize, I might be more swayed towards something larger if we had anything in the way of a single, living example of Y2K compliance today. And gee, I dunno, I guess to think that 80% compliance is likely, maybe I would look for perhaps ... 20% today? I mean, it is December 1998 for crying out loud!!!

But I think that, deep down, we all know how this game is going to be played. It will be played to the end, with Y2K compliance "just around the corner". But the day cometh, and the game will end.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 03, 1998.

Richard, Richard!! I did tell deano they were doing the right things! They deserve applause. deano: What I mean't to ask was when you started remediation, the type of mainframes and the number of apps. I'm sure everyone will be interested in the total time-to-date you have been working the problem. (I sure miss those great mornings, waking up to the sunrise at the Plantation and the 17th at TPC Sawgrass).

Kevin: Thanks for the link, but (please don't take this the wrong way) I'm about six months ahead of the Japanese newspapers on the status of most things here. I truely am not being egotistical or arrogant, it's just that the English language reporting from here is pitiful and written by people who are clueless about the details of most topics. Case in point, please check out the best known English /Japanese web site on y2k: http://www.y2kjapan.com

The Japanese section, which will look like gibberish to you unless your running Netscape 4.5 or have a Japanese Language Kit, (and can read Japanese!) is starting to get interesting. Some people are beginning to get the big picture, but the information isn't substantiated by the general press or television. There are no in-depth articles. Investigative reporting is not big here. The Western journalists here are excluded from government press briefings and must learn second-hand any information. Or they must read the Japanese newspapers and try to glean enough to write an article. They have no access to companies and employees are mute about their companies.

-- PNG (png@gol.com), December 04, 1998.

PNG, you said: "P.S. Banks have been forbidden by the Fed to make public their y2k compliance status. Why is everyone debating individual bank preparedness, knowing this fact?" Well, we keep debating this because people on this forum keep claiming that they have received, from their bank, a claim that their bank is compliant! In one case, even in writing!!

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 04, 1998.

Two months ago I attended a public presentation by a small local bank in podungville.

The man said, yes, our bank is ready. We are just waitng for compliance letters from our vendors. I don't want you to panic. Since I'm dumb, trusting and love humanity, I won't panic.

-- fly . (.@...), December 04, 1998.

Jack: I'd really like to read one of those letters!! Have you received one or seen one?

-- PNG (png@gol.com), December 04, 1998.

Oops PNG, wasn't getting at you, in fact thinking about dunno who I was getting at. Ok I'll go directly to my room will not pass go will not collect $200 (Donna's punishment).

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), December 07, 1998.


Bank One Texas Stung By The Y2K Bug During Systems Test

By Dan Piller, Star-Telegram Staff Writer

The Year 2000 computer bug bit Bank One Texas a little early. And it all happened because the bank was trying to make sure that it would not have computer problems with the new millennium.

The bank confirmed yesterday that it had accidentally mailed out notices to 2,013 Texas customers saying they had bounced checks.

The notices were generated because Bank One wanted to make sure that its computers were Year 2000 compliant, meaning that they could recognize the difference between 1900 and 2000. The notices carried a post-2000 date.

The test worked nicely. The little blue overdraft notices were printed the way they were supposed to, and everything seemed in order, the bank said.

But along the way, somebody inside Bank One didn't get the word. The notices, which were supposed to be dumped into the trash, instead were mailed to depositors.

"This was awful, receiving a notice like that just before Christmas," said an Arlington woman, whose 83-year-old mother received a letter.

The daughter, who asked that the family name not be used, said the bank told the distraught woman of the mistake when she called. The bank is also sending out apologies to account holders who received the notices.

"The customers are being told that their accounts are still in order, that they won't be charged for being overdrawn," said Joe Bowles, a Bank One spokesman.

"We send out 100,000 pieces of mail to customers each day in Texas alone," Bowles added. "This was purely a mistake that shouldn't have happened."

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 16, 1998.

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