Magazine article American Banker

1st Union Educates Customers, Employees on Y2K

Magazine article American Banker

1st Union Educates Customers, Employees on Y2K

Article excerpt

First Union Corp. is shifting its attention to human aspects of its year-2000 preparation.

"We have never had every application in First Union potentially affected on the same day," said Austin A. Adams, executive vice president of the technology and operations group.

But with 70 million lines of code and 69 mission-critical applications tested, modified, and certified by June 30, Mr. Adams said, he is now less worried "about the technical aspect than about human behavior." So the banking company is turning its efforts toward customer education and employee awareness.

"If our communication is not crisp," Mr. Adams said, "customers will visit branches, and if there are teller lines, there will be a perception of a Y2K problem."

The Charlotte, N.C., company began a customer awareness campaign in September that includes messages on statements, on automated teller machine screens, and on receipts, plus a hotline that has received 15,000 calls this year. Employees have given more than 300 presentations to community groups since 1996. An internal television network has been broadcasting training sessions to update employees on year-2000 developments.

Starting in December, the company will monitor cash availability at ATMs daily. The machines will be dispensing only $20 bills instead of $10 denominations, so that they can hold more money. The company also will increase by 30% the amount of cash in its branches.

"We expect there to be heavier demands for cash and greater volumes in check cashing and debit activity," Mr. …

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