Interagency Advisory On Influenza Pandemic Preparedness
|March 16, 2006|
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office of Thrift Supervision are issuing this 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.
On November 1, 2005, the White House issued the National Strategy, which discusses the threat and potential impact of a pandemic influenza event. It also identifies the roles and responsibilities for the federal government, the private sector, and others.
The current threat originates from an outbreak of avian flu in Asia. It is unknown if an avian virus will result in a human pandemic. The widespread nature of this virus in birds and the possibility that it may mutate over time raise concerns that it will become transmissible among humans, with potentially devastating consequences.
The National Strategy states that the "private sector should play an integral role in preparedness before a pandemic begins, and should be part of the national response." Financial institutions and their service providers supply essential financial services and, as such, should consider their preparedness and response strategy for a potential pandemic. The National Strategy addresses the full spectrum of events. The main components of the National Strategy address:
Financial institutions and their service providers should review the National Strategy to consider what actions may be appropriate for their particular situation, and whether such actions should be included in their event response and contingency strategies. Financial institutions with a global presence and those considered critical to the financial system may have greater preparation and response challenges than those of other financial institutions.
However, a pandemic event is a potential threat to any financial institution regardless of size and location. Preparations for employee safety and business continuity should include consideration of identified risks.
The official federal Web site, http://www.pandemicflu.gov, contains the complete text of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza and other important, related details.