How's your ATM card? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Found a couple of related items on Yahoo Y2K news today that I'm just passing along. Sorry if one or both posted already, I haven't been on much the last few days... <:)=

Regulators Watch ATM Service Co.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Banking regulators have ordered a big ATM company serving banks in 13 western states to provide assurances by June 30 that it is ready to address the Y2K computer glitch, or face possible contract cancellations by 750 banks.

The directive given to TransAlliance LP by the Federal Reserve and four other agencies reflects the increased attention being paid to banking industry support companies to make certain they are prepared for the year-end computer problem.

A failure by these service companies to become Year-2000 compliant could be just as devastating as a failure by the banks themselves, officials said. Scenarios of a Y2K failure range from consumers being temporarily unable to use ATM machines to having their entire financial information wiped out when computer systems crash.

Government regulators have lauded the nation's banking industry for its work preparing for the technology problem, when some computers originally programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year could interpret 2000 as 1900.

Under the agreement with regulators, TransAlliance will make needed changes in its computer systems so that all its bank customers will be able to successfully complete their Year 2000 testing by June 30 - the deadline set for banks by the federal government.

TransAlliance, based in Bellevue, Wash., agreed to have its own systems ready by that date. ``We are pleased that we could agree with the regulators on the steps we are taking to ensure Y2K readiness,'' James D. Benson, TransAlliance's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The company provides automated teller machine services, including electronic transaction services, to some 750 banks, thrifts and credit unions in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming as well as British Columbia in Canada.

A random sample of interviews of people who use ATMs in Seattle, Wash., suggested that while most are not worried about the Y2K problem, they also plan to put a little money aside - and keep closer recores - in case something goes wrong with the machines.

``I think it'll be fine,'' said Jocelyn Francis, 30 of Seattle, who said she does all her banking through ATMs. Still, she said she's worried about possible minor distruptions and plans to take some money out early.

Rob Hopps of Maple Valley, Wash., said he's being more careful on keeping paper records of all his transactions to keep better track of his bank balance as the end of the year approaches - just in case.

Electronic Data Systems, the technology company founded by billionaire Ross Perot, owns 50 percent of TransAlliance. The other half is owned by a group of 24 banks in the West which operates the Exchange ATM network. Its customers include Washington Mutual Bank, KeyCorp, the credit union for employees of Boeing Co. and First Mutual Bank of Bellevue.

Although TransAlliance provides electronic services to some 50,000 outlets where machines take cards for payment at gas stations, convenience stores and other locations, that system is not covered by the agreement.

In the event the conditions weren't met, the banks that TransAlliance serves would be allowed without penalty to annul their contracts with the company.

The regulators also would have the authority to impose fines on the company, but that isn't mentioned in the agreement.

John Hall, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, said the regulators ``are doing their job and making sure that consumers' money is safe. ... It brings pressure on companies that provide services to financial institutions.''

Bankers have promised consumers that ATM machines, credit cards, checks and banking services will function normally through the millennial date change. However, banks, thrifts and credit unions, all of which are closely regulated, are linked with numerous companies that provide services to banks and operate with less government supervision.

``A lot of these (service) firms may not be ready for the Year 2000,'' said Edmund Mierzwinski of U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization. ``I'm happy that the Federal Reserve is putting its foot down early.''


U.S. Regulators, ATM Network Reach Y2K Agreement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banking regulators Friday announced an agreement with a major regional electronic funds transfer network, TransAlliance L.P., to speed up its lagging Year 2000 preparations.

TransAlliance, which processes ATM and debit card transactions for nearly 800 banks, thrifts and credit unions in the western United States and Canada, committed to complete Y2K testing of the computer systems serving all of its customers by June 30, the deadline set by Federal banking agencies for all financial institutions. The company processes around 42 million electronic transactions every month.

The Y2K problem arises because many older computers record dates using only the last two digits of the year. If left uncorrected, such systems could treat the year 2000 as the year 1900, generating errors or systems crashes.

The company agreed to provide U.S. banking agencies with reports on its strategy for meeting the deadline, its progress in doing so and its contingency plans for dealing with any problems that might occur after the millennium date change.

The agencies involved are the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

TransAlliance, a partnership between a group of banks located mainly in the U.S. Northwest and computer services giant Electronic Data Systems Corp. (NYSE:EDS - news), said it was committed to getting its Y2K preparations on track.

``We are pleased that we could agree with the regulators on the steps we are taking to ensure Y2K readiness by June 30, 1999. We are confident we will meet this date,'' its president and chief executive officer, James Benson, said in a statement.

In terms of the agreement, if TransAlliance fails to meet the deadline, its customers will be free to break their contracts with it and switch to another service provider.

Art Merrick, a spokesman for the company, said it had run into some problems during a migration to a new computer platform, which extended into early 1999.

``That is done and all of the institutions TransAlliance serves are now operating on the new platform. Now the focus is to catch up on the Y2K preparations,'' he said.

The company had undergone a management shake-up and was fully focused on meeting the federal deadline, Merrick said.

``There's a new management team that's been put in place within the last three weeks,'' he said. ``They're taking the full responsibility for getting it fixed, and it's their number one priority.''

U.S regulators say most of the country's financial institutions have already taken the necessary actions to avoid Y2K-related computer problems, and they do not expect major disruptions to the banking system from the date change.

-- Sysman (, May 23, 1999


Yes, there have been two earlier TransAlliance threads:
Lets speed things up here at


Banking in the news... at

-- No Spam Please (, May 23, 1999.

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