Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Lessons Learned from the Oklahoma City Terror Bombing

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Lessons Learned from the Oklahoma City Terror Bombing

Article excerpt

April 19, 1995, started out routinely for Mark W. Funke, executive vice-president and chief operating officer for the Oklahoma City region of Bank of Oklahoma, N.A. He bad returned to the bank from an outside meeting and decided to check out the traffic in the bank's main lobby.

At 9:01 A.M., everything was quiet. At 9:02 A.M., the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, only one block away, blew up, the force shaking the bank's building so hard that ceiling tiles fell and some of the lobby's large plate-glass windows were blown in, broken into thousands of pieces. After the initial moments, Funke realized that the bank's drive-up facility was across the street from the burning federal building. When he arrived there, he found that the force of the explosion had blown completely through the facility, taking out Windows on both sides. Not long afterward, authorities notified the bank that a bomb threat had been made on the bank's own building.

What followed was a hellish period for Oklahoma City and a time when Bank of Oklahoma's disaster recovery plan would be put to the test. Funke and Lowell E. Faulkenberry, senior vice-president and director of corporate audit for BOK Financial Corp., the bank's holding company, recounted what their organizations learned earlier this year at ABA's National Security, Audit, and Risk Management Conference:

1. A bank's disaster plan should designate two sites for employees to report to upon evacuation--a main site and a backup that's in the opposite direction and further away.

As it turned out, the bank's disaster plan called for employees to evacuate to a place right by the shattered federal building. People made do, and only one employee couldn't be accounted for. He had made his way to the federal building to look for his wife, who worked there. (He found her, alive.)

2. The security function's relationship with local police and state and federal protective agencies is critical to recovery.

While the Oklahoma City situation was extreme, it was illustrative. Funke pointed out that initially 16 blocks surrounding the federal building were cordoned off as a crime scene. No one could reenter the scene, which eventually shrunk to the two blocks that still remain under police control today, without special permits. …

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