22 March 2006

Pandemic Flu: Financial Institutions Contingency Strategies...

The Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office of Thrift Supervision are issuing an interagency advisory to financial institutions and their technology service providers.

This advisory is intended to raise awareness regarding the threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak and its potential impact on the delivery of critical financial services. It further advises financial institutions and their service providers to consider this and similar threats in their event response and contingency strategies. This issuance discusses the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza (National Strategy) and the roles and responsibilities it outlines for financial institutions.

Critical infrastructure entities also must be engaged in planning for a pandemic because of our society’s dependence upon their services. Both the private sector and critical infrastructure entities represent essential underpinnings for the functioning of American society. Responsibilities of the U.S. private sector and critical infrastructure entities include the following:

• Establishing an ethic of infection control in the workplace that is reinforced during the annual influenza season, to include, if possible, options for working offsite while ill, systems to reduce infection transmission, and worker education.

• Establishing contingency systems to maintain delivery of essential goods and services during times of significant and sustained worker absenteeism.

• Where possible, establishing mechanisms to allow workers to provide services from home if public health officials advise against non-essential travel outside the home.

• Establishing partnerships with other members of the sector to provide mutual support and maintenance of essential services during a pandemic.

For more information see the official U.S. Pandemic Flu site.

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