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In The Spotlight - Again

Barbara E. Hurst, Editor

Well, Security Officer - do you feel like you're in the spotlight? Or behind the eight ball? When we faced, with trepidation, the many possible evils of Y2K, you were called on to exercise all of your expertise to protect the bank and all its assets, including its personnel, buildings, systems, and reputation.

You are now being called on again. This time to deal with an even greater threat - that of not only destroying our systems, but our very existence.

You are responding as expected. Having taken a look at the large picture and been as horrified as the rest of us, you've now set out to do, piece by piece, what has to be done to protect against every eventuality you can think of - and those your fellow Security Officers can think of. We've seen the questions and ideas on the Bankers Threads on the BankersOnline web page. Problems are put forth, suggestions are freely given, and ideas shared and expounded on by officers all over the country.

This is not an exercise that can directed and carried out by some law that is passed by Congress, or put into an advisory letter by your regulator. Every branch office, every operations function in every individual institution has its own unique problem that has to be addressed. Every horrible possibility must be considered. And solutions cannot come from a central source. One size definitely does not fit all. It is up to you to make the decisions, the recommendations, do the training, prepare, research, consider, and then carry through - hoping and praying you've covered all bases.

I can tell you from the communications I've been getting from your administrators, your presidents and chief executive officers, and from the members of boards of directors I've talked to that they are solidly behind you. For the most part they are painfully aware of the vulnerability of the banking industry and its people, and recognize the scope of your job.

And that job is huge, even if you're a full time Security Officer with a staff. However, if you're one of our thousands of "I'm-a-Security-Officer-on-Tuesday- afternoon" people, the job may seem insurmountable. Which is why it's so important for you to use every help you can.

I've encouraged you before to start up a Security Officers group in your area. I implore you to do so now. You need each other now more than ever before. Get on the phone. You don't need bylaws. You just need a place to get together to have breakfast once a month, sit around the table, and pick each others brains! Call your local hotel or restaurant - make arrangements - and then call every security officer within a twenty mile radius and invite them.

You'll manage. And you'll do a great job. You did a super job on Y2K. It was one of the biggest non-happenings in our history, due to your preparation and foresight. You are well equipped to be in the spotlight - again.

Copyright © 2001 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 11, No. 12, 12/01

First published on 12/01/2001

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