Magazine article American Banker

CIBC Enrolls Students to Do Year-2000 Reviews

Magazine article American Banker

CIBC Enrolls Students to Do Year-2000 Reviews

Article excerpt

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is enlisting college students in an unusual program designed to ensure its small-business lending customers are year-2000 compliant.

In mid-July, nearly 700 community college and university students will begin analyzing small businesses' computer and technology systems-including fax machines, alarms, and pagers-for year-2000 compliance.

The detailed reports that the students produce will serve as year-2000 checklists for CIBC's small-business customers.

The program addresses the risk that a bank's loan customers might experience year-2000 difficulties that would jeopardize their ability to make payments.

A Canadian government task force recommended that banks withdraw credit from businesses that are not actively addressing the year-2000 issue.

To protect its investments in small companies, CIBC chose to support the student initiative instead.

CIBC and the government's Industry Canada division are funding the program, called year-2000 First Step. CIBC would not reveal its cost.

"This is the best way to make sure businesses understand the problem and know how to deal with it," said John Burns, vice president for projects and year-2000. The bank also writes articles, produces a Web site, and speaks on the issue.

The program is being offered first to CIBC's 300,000 small-business customers and then will be expanded to other small businesses.

To prepare for the reviews, students undergo a two-week training program with Productivity Point International Inc., a computer training and consulting firm in Winnipeg, Manitoba. …

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