Banking Straw Man: ATM's : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Everytime I see one of the "happy face everything's OK" banking stories where they tell you everything's fixed, leave your money in the bank, we have nothing to fear but fear itself, blah blah, they always use ATM's as the example. For example, today in the Chicago Tribune:
In the United States, by contrast, the major risk is fear itself. Based on no evidence at all, large numbers of people expect ATMs to freeze, checks to bounce and banks to fail.

That ain't gonna happen. Your money is safer in the bank than in a jar in your garden. ATMs have been tested for Y2K dates (if one fails, there are other ATMs, or tellers).
I say it's a classic straw man. Who cares if ATM's don't work. They've only been around 20-30 years and they serve a convenience-only function. This is an example of where we truly can go back to manual, granted there will be longer lines and hassles at the bank during opening hours. rarely is anything said about posting payments and inter-bank transfers - the big stuff that actually does something. Rant mode off - I'm just tired of it.

-- Jim (x@x.x), August 24, 1999


Who are you, lowly peasant that you are, to inquire into interbank transfers? What impudence!


-- moneypriest (, August 24, 1999.


Yeah - textbook straw man. ATMs will work and planes won't fall out of the sky. Well thats a good thing if my local ATM works but if the World bank is non-compliant then it won't matter how functional my ready teller is. In fact, ATMs go down at the drop of a hat. Here in California, San Francisco is banking headquarters. When they had that pesky little power outage last Feb ALL the ATMs in California went down. So sure, my ATM machine will work as long as PG&E suddenly become competent and prevents the fragile SF grid from crashing.

Then of course there's the power to my little county which comes via ONE cable along a windy mountain road that routinely washes out every year.

But I digress. Yes the ATM argument is a straw man and I devoutly wish that kids got logic classes in grammer school.

-- R (, August 24, 1999.

Yep. They gloat over the fact that your coffeemaker will work, but fail to address the fact that Columbia will be in such bad shape you will have a hard time finding coffee.

-- a (a@a.a), August 24, 1999.

The ATM argument IS a straw man without doubt. Compaq have recently run a large PR campaign in the UK (TV, Trains etc).

Question - What about the mainframes BEHIND the ATMS's ? A hole in the wall has very little processing involved. Shheesh, they are only getting round to installing colour screen devices in the past couple of years.

Complex networks are not easy to diagnose.

Question - What about the internation FX transfers ? I can use my UK visa card anywhere in the world to withdraw local currency in the country of my choice.

FX (Foreign eXchange) transactions are limited by countries on a DAILY basis.

Question - What about the derivatives market ? The banks exposure has gone to he moon since the eighties. A major shift in the basket of currencies or stock price will severly damage these banks.

Greedy investment is not always wise long term investment.

Question - What about the herd ? Greenspan is famous for his 1% leverage quotation (If more than 1% of the US population withdraws cash, .... Well you can guess the rest).

The herd is unpredictable and fickle.

Summary -

The banks are up there with the Automotive, Health and Local government sectors as far as vulnerability is concerned. They not only have their own problems to contend with, but are weighted with numerious additional burdens. Risk ? All I can suggest is a paraphrase of the insurance industries actuaries - We will cover you for fire, flood, theft, storm, act of God but NOT Y2K.

-- Rob Somerville (, August 24, 1999.

Other issues for banks besides ATM's:,1249,75000989,00.html?

This is a letter to the editor of a Utah newspaper. It brings up several good points.

-- Linkmeister (, August 24, 1999.

Visa and the banking system will be toast...


-- Andy (, August 24, 1999.

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