As of today, New Zealand banks are in line for “substantial” financial penalties from Visa International, which gave its member banks a deadline of April 1 to address Year 2000 issues.
Computerworld contacted local banks for comment on their progress two weeks ago and has received responses from only one — Westpac — which says only that the bank is aware of the situation.
Industry sources say that no banks will have met the deadline and two banks (thought to be National Australia Bank and Westpac Trust) are unwilling to address the issue until a possible merger is completed later in the year.
Visa needs all its 20,000 member banks to become year 2000-compliant so that cards with expiry dates beyond 1999 can be issued in the confidence that they will work anywhere in the world.
Sydney-based Visa International spokesman Daniel Jeffares says only [the banks] would know where they are at this point in terms of meeting those requirements, but “there doesn’t appear to be any particular problem in this market”.
“I’m not anticipating that any bank in this market will actually be subject to the penalty, because I think they’ll all get their act together. There’s not a problem.
“In this region we’ve held off printing cards with year 2000 dates on them for the reason that it eliminates the problem from the issuer’s perspective. All acquirers must now comply, otherwise they’ll be subject to penalties imposed by the international board.
“The penalties are substantial — but again that’s proprietary to the banks themselves. They’re the ones who need to worry about it. But they’re all in agreement with that, because the vote was taken by the Asia Pacific and international boards to impose them.
“The New Zealand banks are represented on those boards and they’ve all agreed to that provision.”