Magazine article American Banker

Chicago Flood, IRA Bomb Test Daiwa Bank's Mettle

Magazine article American Banker

Chicago Flood, IRA Bomb Test Daiwa Bank's Mettle

Article excerpt

By any measure, last week was a traumatic time for the London and Chicago employees of Daiwa Bank Ltd.

In a bizzare stroke of bad luck, activity at Daiwa offices in the two financial centers was halted by a freak flood and a terrorist bomb attack, respectively.

The Japanese bank's European headquarters was heavily damaged after a massive car bomb exploded late the evening of April 10 in the heart of London's financial district, killing three people. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The bomb pretty well destroyed the structure of the building we were in," said Peter Clarke, Daiwa's deputy general manager in London.

Then Daiwa's Chicago office was forced to shut down April 13 when subterranean floods closed the Sears Tower, where it is a tenant.

Plans to the Rescue

But Daiwa, like most major banks, emerged relatively unscathed from the disruptions by executing long-standing disaster-recovery plans.

"Although there's been great physical disruption, the actual business operations are continuing O.K.," Mr. Clarke said.

The immediate lesson learned from both events seems to be that banks' contingency plans worked reasonably well.

The London explosion destroyed or damaged the offices of 35 businesses, including five banks, according to a Bank of England spokesman in London.

In addition to Daiwa, the banks affected were the National Bank of Greece, Sanwa Bank Ltd. …

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