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1998-01-14 12:59:02


Canadian Bank Official Warns of World Economic Crisis



This former official with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has taken off a year to become a y2k prophet. His name is Joe Boivin. He tells businesses to adopt a repair strategy called windowing.

Problem: the IRS has now informed everyone in the U.S. (retroactively) that it will not accept the windowing short cut. So, if the IRS sticks to its guns (it won't if it collapses), Canadian firms operating in the U.S. will be in big trouble, along with everyone else.

The right hand knoweth not what the left hand doeth. And the Millennium Bug doesn't really care.

* * * * * * *

The year 2000 problem is no less than "a global economy threat," Boivin said, and it is a threat that has been barely considered by most of the world's corporations. . . .

It matters little to him that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), in whose offices he was sitting and which was paying his salary, is one of the few organizations that has battled its year 2000 problem to tameable size. The success of Canada's fifth-largest bank will mean little if the global economy breaks down because of unsolved year 2000 bugs. . . .

Simply put, Boivin proposed "fooling" individual applications into thinking they are using four-digit rather than two-digit dates through a well- known process called windowing. The technique freezes the interfaces between applications so they continue to swap years in the two-digit format rather than a new, four-digit one. . . .

Recognizing that CIBC's success will be meaningless if the economy fails, bank executives spend untold days on the road giving away the lessons CIBC has learned and regularly host other, less well-prepared firms. . . .

Boivin left the bank last month to create the National Millennium Foundation in Ottawa, which he calls the first national program office for year 2000 work.


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