There is no shortage of advice out there for bankers seeking tips on talking to customers about year 2000.
All three bank trade groups-the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America and America's Community Bankers- have put together "how-to" packets on the subject. Countless consulting and software firms are offering advice in letters, pamphlets, and on CD-ROM.
The latest comes from financial planner Harold Evensky. Mr. Evensky has written a book, "Y2K and Your Money: Don't be a Sitting Duck."
The 89-page book and accompanying software package is being offered to financial institutions to distribute to customers. According to the book's publisher, it is "the first product to address specific Y2K needs of both financial firms and their clients."
The list price is $9.95, but discounts are available on bulk purchases. On large orders, Mr. Evensky's publishing arm - Sitting Duck Advisers Inc. of Midlothian, Va. - will even put an institution's name on the cover.
For the record, Mr. Evensky calls himself an optimist when it comes to bank preparedness ... sort of.
"There may be additional glitches in bank statements and there may be disruptions in certain other services," he writes. "But major banks, along with other large financial services companies ... have taken Y2K very seriously." He does not define 'major bank.'
Mr. Evensky recommends that customers keep bank statements on hand just to be safe. That, along with bottled water, extra batteries, some nonperishable food and disposable plates, glasses and utensils, should be enough for everyone to get by.
Multnomah County, Ore., home of Portland, the state's largest city, wants to spread its money around.
Most county governments keep deposits in a handful of local institutions. But Multnomah is inviting community banks from all over the state to seek $1.5 million in all of its deposits-up to $95,000 each.
"This program is an important part of the effort to bridge the rural/urban divide in Oregon," said Beverly Stein, county chairwoman.
The county hopes the banks will use the money to lend to consumers, for such things as automobiles and tuition, and to small businesses. Ms. Stein said she also hopes to persuade 10 local governments to undertake similar programs.
- Matt Andrejczak