Magazine article American Banker

U.S. Banks Making Mistake on Euro Switch, Exec Says

Magazine article American Banker

U.S. Banks Making Mistake on Euro Switch, Exec Says

Article excerpt

The euro is not just a computer problem, like the year-2000 bug, but many U.S. banks are treating it that way, a software executive says.

The people in charge of euro projects should be financial or business people, not technical people, said John Wookey of Oracle Corp. last week at a New York conference on the euro.

Oracle began selling software to manage euro conversions two years ago. Mr. Wookey is its vice president of financial applications.

"A phenomenon in the U.S. is the desire to link year-2000 and euro projects and categorize them the same way," he said. But apart from timing and the need to act quickly, there are few similarities between the two problems, he said.

"The year-2000 is pretty binary-it either works or it doesn't," Mr. Wookey said. "The euro is complex. It has a long time line and is unpredictable."

The euro "is not an information systems issue," he said. Euro systems conversions should reflect business decisions such as changes in pricing policies, the way trading partners are managed, and the packaging of products and services for pan-European consumers.

"You need systems that will support your business strategy, not dictate it," Mr. Wookey said.

He noted that Gartner Group had estimated that U.S. companies would spend $30 billion to become euro compliant.

Mr. Wookey spoke at a one-day conference on the euro organized by the Foreign Policy Association, the U.S. Council for International Business, and London's Royal Institute for International Affairs. …

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