Md. thrifts get clean bill of health on Y2K; Top U.S. regulator foresees 'business as usual' next year; Banking


The nation's top savings and loan regulator said yesterday that the computer systems of Maryland's 64 federal and state thrifts should work without problems at the start of the new year.

"What it means is business as usual when they reopen in the year 2000," said Ellen Seidman, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision in Washington, which oversees 1,115 federal and state savings and loans.

Seidman, who met with a group of savings and loan executives in Baltimore yesterday, said thrift, bank and credit union regulators have been working with institutions across the country since 1995 to make sure their computer systems do not malfunction when the new year begins.

Some experts argue that the computer networks, which run telephone systems, airports and banks, could malfunction by mistakenly reading the "00" as 1900 and not 2000.

"Credit cards are going to work, debit cards are going to work, checks are going to work," said Seidman, saying cash taken out in anticipation of a Y2K problem could be lost or stolen. "[Consumers] don't need to load up with extra cash. It is dangerous."

Seidman told the savings and loan executives that they should assure their customers that the computer systems will run.

She said the agency will monitor savings and loans around the clock from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4. "I expect this to be a nonevent," she said. "But I still think we have work to do."

Pub Date: 9/15/99

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