BankBoston Corp. said an independent technology organization has rated its program for solving the year-2000 problem as one of the best in the industry.

The Information Technology Association of America, or ITAA, is certifying corporate efforts to upgrade computer systems for the millennium change. BankBoston was the first financial institution to receive the association's certification.

The year-2000 problem stems from programming done decades ago, when two digits rather than four were used to designate years - 97 for 1997, for example, and 00 for 2000. When 2000 arrives, many computer systems could interpret the 00 as meaning 1900; the error could result in lost or misplaced data.

Steven McManus, communications manager of BankBoston's Millennium Project Team, said the ITAA-2000 certification constituted a third-party audit. "The ITAA has said we employ the best practices in the industry," he said.

Before certification, BankBoston went through a rigorous evaluation in 11 areas.

BankBoston began to address the millennium issue early in 1995. "One of the reasons we're a leader in solving this is that we started early," said Mr. McManus.

Its project involves reviewing more than 60 million lines of computer code in 190 software applications throughout its offices in 24 countries. The bank's vendor manager is visiting offices in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Germany; separate projects are also under way in Brazil, Argentina, and Singapore.

BankBoston expects to spend $50 million to solve the problem and has 40 full-time and 80 part-time employees working on it.

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