Bank confident it has beaten the Millennium Bug : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Mellon staying open first day of Y2K

Bank confident it has beaten the Millennium Bug

Thursday, March 25, 1999

By Patricia Sabatini, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Mellon Bank Corp. yesterday lobbed its first volley in a campaign designed to soothe customers' worries about Y2K computer glitches messing with their bank accounts.

To underscore the bank's confidence that its computers won't go haywire when the century rolls over, Mellon announced it will keep many of its branch offices open on the New Year's Day holiday. In addition, all offices will operate extended hours on New Year's Eve.

Many other organizations, such as certain school districts, have said they'll stay closed for extra days around the holiday as a cushion for dealing with any computer-related foul-ups.

Mellon said all its computer systems that serve customers are already Y2K compliant, and that all its customers will be able to access their accounts come Jan. 1.

"We just want our customers to know that we're ready and we'll be there to support them," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marty McGuinn said in an interview. McGuinn said he wasn't aware of any other banks announcing plans to open immediately after the date change, but said he expected many to do so.

The financial sector is generally considered to be in the best shape when it comes to Y2K compliance. The banking industry alone is spending more than $8 billion to retool old software that, unless fixed, would read the 2000 date as 1900, with possibly dire consequences such as scrambling data or shutting down entire computer systems.

Last month, a group of federal bank regulatory agencies issued recommendations urging banks to help counteract doomsday fears by better communicating their Y2K readiness.

McGuinn said yesterday that customers concerned about not being able to get cash or having account information wiped out are worrying needlessly.

"We're confident that all of our customer records not only will be intact and accurate, but will be accessible, and that customers can complete transactions," he said. Mellon has spent nearly $100 million on Y2K upgrades.

Still, some experts are advising people to be especially diligent about record-keeping this year, just in case.

Many also say it makes sense to withdraw at least some extra spending money before year's end, not necessarily because automated teller machines won't be working, but because they might be empty.

McGuinn said Mellon has thoroughly tested its ATMs, and knows they'll be functioning properly come Jan. 1. In addition, Mellon will make extra stops to fill them so they don't run out of cash.

In coming months, the bank plans to mail fliers to customers explaining its Y2K readiness. It also has information on its Web site.

McGuinn said he plans to be at Mellon headquarters New Year's Eve "just because it's going to be interesting to see what happens when the clock strikes 12."

"It's not because I'm worried," he said. "And I promised everybody I won't touch anything."

The CEO personally isn't making any special preparations for Y2K, such as stocking up on bottled water or other provisions.

Still, he'll be making one concession to the Millennium bug.

"I won't be on a plane at midnight," he said. "But I don't think anybody will."

"I wouldn't want to take the chance ... As you know, when computers default, they default to shut down."

-- Norm (, March 26, 1999


Norm, call and ask if they have fired or laid off their programers. That will tell you whether they are ok or not.

-- Linda A. (, March 26, 1999.

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