Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Office of Thrift Supervision
INTERAGENCY ADVISORY ON INFLUENZA PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit
Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office
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
Strategy addresses the full spectrum of events. The main components of
the National Strategy address:
Preparedness and Communication
Surveillance and Detection
Response and Containment
The following excerpt describes key roles and responsibilities as presented
in the National Strategy:
The Private Sector and Critical Infrastructure Entities The private sector represents an essential pillar of our society because
of the essential goods and services that it provides. Moreover, it touches
the majority of our population on a daily basis, through an employer-employee
or vendor-customer relationship. For these reasons, it is essential that
the U.S. private sector be engaged in all preparedness and response activities
for a pandemic.
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
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
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.
Financial institutions and their service providers should review the National
Strategy 1 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.
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.
Helpful Web Sites
Additional information can be found at the following sites: