As banks hurtle toward the immovable deadline for fixing the so-called year 2000 problem, at least one bank technologist sees a silver lining in the potentially disastrous thunderhead of a technology issue.

Denis O'Leary, top technology executive at Chase Manhattan Corp., conceded that averting computer meltdowns would require arduous and expensive programming and testing for all banks but said such work is "an opportunity" that "opens a back office for a simpler design."

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