9/11 Lessons Help Treasurers Through Blackout

The power outage that caused gridlock in many North American cities in August caused minimal disruption to banks and treasuries, according to Treasury Strategies. Evidence collated by the consultancy in the wake of the blackout revealed that most disaster recovery plans performed as expected. In most cases, financial institutions and their treasury management clients were able to move smoothly into backup procedures and carry out their core functions. Speaking to corporate treasury clients, however, Treasury Strategies found that many disaster recovery plans required staff to relocate to an alternate site. One Detroit-based company said ‘roadways were so gridlocked that what should have been a 60 minute drive took more than six hours. Susan Skerritt, a partner of Treasury Strategies, commented, ‘This is the classic dilemma that organizations face – you want your back-up site to be far enough away that it’s not at risk of being impacted by the disaster. But, you also want a place that is accessible by the people performing the back-up work.’ The firm concluded that Y2K and 9/11 had served as a wake-up call ‘and their aftermath can largely be credited with the admirable performance’ of most corporate treasury disaster recovery plans.


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