FL's Lt. Gov Frank Brogan: You have a Responsibility to Prepare.

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State: Y2K to be OK, but prepare anyway 

By CHRISTINE WINTER Consumer Writer       
Web-posted: 8:07 p.m. Oct. 15, 1999

BOCA RATON -- Florida is ready for that momentous tick of the clock, just a few months away now, that will flip all our computers to the year 2000, according to state officials and business leaders.

But the advice from Y2K experts at a Florida Team 2000 symposium on Friday is that consumers should prepare anyway.

"You can never guarantee that there won't be a glitch in somebody's system somewhere," Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan said.

Florida Team 2000 is a statewide program to coordinate the assessment and repair of public and private technology systems in preparation for the millennium.

Brogan said he thinks Florida has done more than many states to ensure that both state and local governments are ready for the date change many fear could paralyze the computers that run today's society.

"We are going to be ready, but everybody has a responsibility to be prepared with fuel in their tanks, stores of food in their homes, and a little cash in their pockets," he said.

However, bank industry leaders are warning people not to have too much cash on hand.

"I feel really good about the status of the banks in this state," said Art Simon, director of the division of banking in the Florida Comptroller's Office. "What we see as one of the biggest Y2K dangers is the unfounded fear that may prompt people to take their money out of banks when they shouldn't."

"Take only the amount of cash out of the bank that you would take out for a typical holiday weekend," suggested J.C. Perrin, a senior vice president at Wachovia Bank.

"Money in a bank is federally insured, money at home is vulnerable to theft, fraud and fire," Simon said.

He said all credit unions, thrifts and international banks and trusts operating in Florida are ready.

"More than 99.99 percent of all deposits are in commercial banks that have been rigorously tested," he said. "By the end of the year, there will be 100 percent compliance."

Brogan said many of the likely problems will be man-made, not the result of flaws in computer systems.

"If 260 million Americans pick up their phones right after midnight Jan. 1, to check and see if they are working, most of them will get a busy signal, because the system is not designed for that kind of capacity," he said.

All the representatives of utilities at the conference assured listeners that they are ready for the year 2000.

"We have a 100-year history of disaster preparation and recovery, and this is just another disaster to prepare for," said Rob Seitz, a spokesman for BellSouth Telephone.

The biggest concerns have been about the readiness of small businesses, medical practices and local governments, which may not be able to spend years and millions of dollars testing and replacing systems, as many major companies have done.

Brogan said that Florida Team 2000 auditors have visited every governmental entity in the state and worked with them to fix their problems. Public awareness programs and partnerships with various trade and professional organizations are aiming at small businesses, and free software is available to help them identify and solve problems.

"We could actually come out of this better than we went into it," Brogan said. "Because of the urgency of the Y2K bug, everybody has had to review, change and revamp their technology at the same time. Many have recaptured that state-of-the-art look."

For more information, go to www.tf2k.org.

-- lisa (lisa@work.now), October 19, 1999



-- lisa (lisa@work.now), October 19, 1999.

You said it well Frank that many of the problems will be man made. Some of the problems that come to mind are companies that go bankrupt due to computer breakdowns, excessive loan ratios such as loans based on 125% of the value of the property, people lose their jobs and can not repay the loans, gas gets expensive, people lose jobs and the $25,000 sport utility vehicle repossessed by the bank can only be sold for $11,000, people lose jobs, can not make the house payments and the value of real estate is depressed. Guess who provides the money to make up these losses? You got it. The DEPOSITORS WHO LEAVE THEIR MONEY IN THE BANK. If the banks would act more responsibly, the losses would be lower. Why should the depositors subsidize the losses? Thanks Frank for bringing this to our attention. Curly does not understand why anyone would loan more than the value of the item. GREED OR STUPIDITY OR BOTH?

-- Larry (Larry@3stooges.gom), October 19, 1999.

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