The territory's banks are ready for the new millennium, V.I. Bankers Association president Robert Haines said Tuesday.
"All of the territory's banks, both large and small, are testing and re-testing their systems to be sure that it will be 'business as usual' during the change to 2000," Haines said. "Next month, next year, and every day, the safest place for your money is in the bank," he added in a release.
V.I. banks "are preparing in a similar fashion as they would for a hurricane, flood or other potential crisis," Haines, vice president for Scotiabank in the territory, said. "We have back-up plans which include generators to keep electricity flowing and alternative locations, so that it will be business as usual for all our customers."
Pilar de Jesus, who chairs the association's Community Relations Committee, said, "If you are concerned about your bank, stop by for a visit, or call them to hear about the many things they are doing to keep your money safe and accessible."
Tom Bolt, legal counsel for the association, said it is important to get word out that the banks are completely Y2K compliant because of attempts to defraud consumers in the community. People are being told by scam artists to pull their money out of the banks and turn it over to them to hold until after the new year, he said.
The Community Relations Committee offered the following Y2K consumer tips:
1. Stay informed. Read the Y2K information your bank sends you.
2. If you don't already do so, retain your bank statements and transaction records, particularly for the months just before the start of the new year.
3. If you bank on-line, make sure your computer is Y2K compliant. Most computer and software manufacturers have website information on their product readiness. Keep a back-up disk of your records.
4. Don't be taken in by fraudulent offers to "hold" your money through the date change. The safest place for your money is in the bank.
5. In the days leading up to and immediately after the date change, withdraw only as much cash as you would need for any long holiday weekend. If you feel you need more, see your banker.
In the last year, de Jesus said, V.I. banks "have become community leaders on Y2K by helping their customers, including businesses, to learn about the issue and make preparations." He said the banks have hosted small business seminars and are working with community groups and the V.I. government to encourage readiness.


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