Banking and Financial Infrastructure Continuity: Pandemic Flu, Terrorism, and Other Challenges [May 4, 2009]   [open pdf - 220KB]

"This report outlines the financial sector's recovery plans for two kinds of disasters: the inability to conduct transactions and large losses of asset value. The basic function of the payment system is carried out by banks, and monetary policy affects banks immediately. Because brokers, exchanges, secondary market facilities, and insurance companies carry out crucial financial functions, their regulators and trade associations are involved in continuity of operations planning for contingencies ranging from pandemic flu to terrorist attacks. Regulators of financial entities have developed guidelines for regulatees to follow to cushion physical and economic shocks. There are procedures to protect business information technology, physical security, and for the continuity of markets critical for the nation's transactions. Government and private sector initiatives seek cost-effective ways to strengthen the resiliency of the financial system's computers against cyber attacks. Many of these arrangements protecting financial institutions against attacks are also part of the national effort to prevent terrorist financing from within the financial system. […]. Defense of financial businesses' information systems also helps to deter national threats. Following September 11, 2001, the nation became concerned with physical security. The anthrax attack in October 2001 heightened worries about biological terrorism. In 2004, the possibility of an avian flu pandemic concentrated continuity concerns on natural occurring challenges to the smooth functioning of the nation's financial system. More recently in 2009, concerns have arisen related to A/H1N1 ('swine') flu. Congress, regulators, and executive branch agencies have responded to each of these threats."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31873
Public Domain
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