(Chicago)Cops ask banks for Y2K help [SunTimes]

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Chicago Suntimes (Front Page)

Cops ask banks for Y2K help

December 6, 1999


Chicago police are asking banks to offer free safe-deposit boxes to people seeking to withdraw large amounts of money, in an effort to prevent a rash of robberies tied to Y2K panic.

All of the assurances in the world about bank security and Year 2000 compliance probably won't be enough to persuade older people who lived through the Depression to leave their money in the bank, said Sgt. Russell Schaefer, business liaison for the department's 1st District, which includes the Loop.

That's why Schaefer has met with eight of the city's largest banks--with branches in neighborhoods across the city--and asked them to offer free safe-deposit boxes to those who can't be talked out of making major withdrawals.

"Any time people withdraw large amounts of money and walk out with a lot of cash in their pockets, you never know who's watching," Schaefer said. "We don't want people, especially our seniors, who may have gone through the Depression and feel quite a bit of anxiety about this, to become victims.

"If the bank has difficulty in convincing them that the banking system is quite safe, they might offer them a free lock box until they feel comfortable that the problem might be over for them."

Bank representatives reacted coolly to the suggestion. They fear that a blanket offer of free safe-deposit boxes would only encourage people to clear out their accounts.

That's precisely the kind of panic behavior that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and others have warned could prove to be the real Y2K problem.

"Setting up safe-deposit boxes is a cumbersome process that would send the wrong message," said Tom Kelly, a spokesman for Bank One, which includes the former First National Bank of Chicago.

Bank One has 900,000 customers in the Chicago area, with 170 branches. "We'd have to have staff to do that. And what do we tell the customers who have already paid for one?"

Bob Lapinski, a spokesman for the Federal Reserve Bank, said, "Given the choice between a senior citizen putting a large amount of money under their pillow or having a safe-deposit box, clearly a safe-deposit box is a better option. But we're saying, `Don't even do that. Leave it in the bank's hands. That is absolutely the safest place.' "

Small safe-deposit boxes can be rented for as little as $20 a year. So far, banks report they've seen no increase in withdrawals or safe-deposit box rentals.

By sticking to the company line, banks may be putting their heads in the sand--and costing themselves money in the long run, according to Barrett Murphy, who's helping to coordinate the city's Y2K efforts.

"Once this money goes out of your bank, it may never come back," Murphy said. "Maybe the people used to work across the street, and now they're retired, or they've moved to the suburbs or another neighborhood. If they bring their money back to a bank at all, they'll go to a local bank, or they may just keep the money at their house and never give it back to any bank.

"We've been encouraging people not to take out money like that, but people who lived through the Depression like to see their money in hand. What we've talked to the banks about is, if you see an elderly person who is withdrawing their entire life savings, have a manager or supervisor talk to them about it and try to talk them out of it. And, if all else fails, offer them a safe place to put their money."

[end] HA, get me some Peptol Bismol.

The Countdown Begins,

-- Deborah (infowars@yahoo.com), December 06, 1999


BTW I wonder what Daley will scream...I mean say about this?

-- Deborah (infowars@yahoo.com), December 06, 1999.

God, won't it be great when all those Depression leftovers are finally stuffed into their velvet trash cans. No more guilt!?

-- (final@reward.com), December 06, 1999.

Oh, yeah, "put your cash into the bank's safety deposit box" ... SAID THE SPIDER TO THE FLY!!

"What governments cannot find, they cannot steal."

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 06, 1999.

NO Joke,today at my Bank I noticed they hired a security Guard.Never ever seen one before. Gee I Wonder why,lol

-- me (y2kme1@hootmail.com), December 06, 1999.

LOL - ROTFWL. Imagine the thought processes...the people want to take their cash out of the bank...so let's get them to put it in the bank. Right!

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), December 06, 1999.

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