Local KY Bank Once Again Steps Up To The Plate...

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Dear all,

Last December I posted the results of a Y2K seminar held by the Bank of Benton. The thread generated alot of responses, including a post by the Compliance Officer of the bank itself; see: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000IJy

In a nutshell, they were the only bank to admit they expected problems from Y2K, and were making contingency plans to keep themselves in operation and assist the community as needed.

Last week, the Bank of Benton has taken another milestone step. They have printed flyers available to bank customers and the community at large which do not glaze over the problem, and encourage modest preparations for Y2K and Everyday.

Granted, they are not listing some of the serious repurcussions of a bank failure, and the advice of "Winter Storm" and "Don't hoard" makes its appearance, but they are a business after all, and obviously don't want to kill business before it's inevitable. It's not the best and forthright advice on how to prepare, but it's a first step nonetheless. At least they aren't claiming that there won't be ANY problems like other banks have publicly stated.

I applaud them for at least making this advice available in the face of growing ridicule and scorn that there is even a problem to begin with. I'm sure it was a risk to do this.

I reprint what's on the flyer in its entirety:

Y2K (and everyday)


 Plan as if preparing for a winter storm. Have available:

-alternative heat source (watch out for carbon monoxide poisoning)

-alternative light source

-alternative water supply

-packaged food

(let me just say here that when they say prepare for a Winter Storm, in KY when a Winter Storm is coming...only the Florida Coast at the onset of a hurricane comes close to matching the run on food, fuel and other material. It's not laid back indifference like back in ChiTown where folks don't even raise an eyebrow unless they're predicting two feet or more.)

 Withdraw enough cash to celebrate the weekend

 Let others know where you will be

 Make arrangements to provide help for others, if possible

 Save receipts or other transaction records for the months preceeding the new year

 Document loan payoff or deposit account balances

 Check insurance policies for Y2K exclusions (especially homeowners policy), and save a copy of your most recent bills and payment receipts

 Save your tax payment receipt

 Consult your doctor for medical information on implanted medical devices

 Refill prescriptions prior to December 1999

 Fill automobile gas tanks, propane tanks, and other energy sources in the last week before 2000

 Mail all items by 12-31-99


 Don't panic

 Don't make unwise investments

 Don't give money to someone to "hold"

 Don't make yourself a target by hoarding large amounts of cash

 If you have a computer, don't reset the clock to "see what will happen"

Bank of Benton

Calvert Bank

Member FDIC

Well, I would laugh at "Don't make yourself a target by hoarding cash" - as you wouldn't BE a target unless you blabbered to everyone and their dogs that you've stockpiled cash in your mattresses. Most folks wouldn't be so stupid (but the IQ levels of Americans these days are dropping to shoe sizes) - and I imagine that most foloks that keep cash at home, keep it in a safe place. I've never heard a story where a person was robbed BECAUSE they cashed-out of the bank and hid it in their mattress at home. I hear more about ATM robberies.

Like I said, it's a first step from any banking institution I've heard of the at least treats the problem with a little seriousness instead of laughter.

I think the folks that bank there, will remember their efforts, especially if the whole house of Fractional reserve cards comes crashing down. I think bank customers will be thankful they at least made an effort to get them ready and didn't ignore the problem.

Once again, Chase manhattan and Citibank should take lessons from a small bank that has set some humane and prudent standards. We would all be better off if they did.

Just don't hold your breath.

-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), July 18, 1999


This happened to my cousin. She has an account at a bank in our commuinty. She has access to a 1-800 number that allows her to keep track of her current balance. She called last week and the balance in her chekcbook and the bank balance were way off.

My cousin immediately called the bank. The employee must have been new becaue I am sure that the information she told my cousin was not for the public.

She made a great groan and said the bank was having trouble with the computer system (this bank said long ago they were compliant). All day it had been triple paying each check that came into the bank. She went on to say it was a real mess but would be fixed by that evening. At that time, they were manually doing all the work. Several hours later, my cousin's account was righted.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), July 18, 1999.

"I've never heard a story where a person was robbed BECAUSE they cashed-out of the bank and hid it in their mattress at home. I hear more about ATM robberies."

Several months ago there was an INTERESTING set of TV reports seen on local NBC stations in several places across the country. In each case the story was that a family had taken out $10,000 in cash because of fears of Y2K. In my area film was shown of the backyard where the money had been hidden under the doghouse. The doghouse had been moved and the money dug up and stolen. The story was very similar if not identical in several other cities and the exact same amount was stolen. In each case it ran on the local news segment.. (not in the Today Show or Nightly news segment), and never showed up in any printed news source. When the stations were called, no confirming info could be learned. The story disappeared immediately after stations were called for details even though local stories often get repeated several times over a day or two. It was... INTERESTING.

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), July 18, 1999.

Hey INVAR - good to hear from you again. By the way, have you noticed the 100kw generator down by our drive-ins?

-- Diana (dstubblefield@ldd.net), July 19, 1999.

No Diana, haven't seen that one yet. Word around town is that it's the County Water District installing additional generators to keep the water flowing. Don't know if that particular one is county water or not.

When I asked them about their contingencies last March, the water district rep told me that they have had contingency plans to keep the flow of water running at normal levels for over a MONTH with the use of generators. She said the plans were in place in case of electrical disruption due to an earthquake or other natural disaster.

Have you heard the same thing? Curious.

BTW, if you couldn't tell...I was impressed with the little flyer you put out, mainly because you aren't ignoring the problem altogether as so many other institutions are.

In contrast, the direct-mail note my sister got from a major bank in Chicago was an irresponsible slam on anyone who thought Y2K might cause even mild disruptions. As I said, I think the community here will favorably remember your efforts to get us prepared whether or not there are disruptions. More so if there are life-altering problems. On the other hand, I think banks and other agencies that whitewashed the entire problem and exclaimed "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" are going to be remembered in a not-so-fond manner.

Although your flyer doesn't go to the level of alarm and awareness I would suggest, at least you appear to have a vested interest in helping the community prepare for whatever may unfold in the not-to- distant future.

I am wondering if the Bank of Benton will modify announcements to the community to reflect the changing events of both Y2K and a possible global financial meltdown (perhaps triggered by Y2K?) if the signs become inevitable as to it's effects on us here at home?

We live in frightening and historic times. Thusfar, you have been the only local institution taking a leadership position. As the future unfolds, you may have many turning to you folks for guidance. Are you ready for that?

I hope you are. This may be a Deja vu Summer of '29 in '99.

-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), July 19, 1999.

Wife just showed me I'm an idiot! Sorry Diana.

Okay, well that's what I get for doing a quick-read and NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

I read "Drive ins" and assumed Drive in movie theatre over there in Calvert. DUH! (Pumping station near there has a big generator).

Well, folks. If putting generators in to run your bank (the wife saw them today) isn't evidence that these guys take Y2K seriously...

Another FIRST for a bank! Do you suppose they are the first in the nation or first in the world to install generators to keep themselves running post Y2K?


-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), July 19, 1999.

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