Press Releases
Press Release
For Immediate Release June 15, 2006

Preparing Your Institution for a Catastrophic Event

The member agencies of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors today announced the release of LESSONS LEARNED FROM HURRICANE KATRINA: Preparing Your Institution for a Catastrophic Event. The booklet relays financial institutions’ experiences and lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that other institutions may find helpful in considering their readiness for a catastrophic event.

Financial institutions face a wide variety of disasters across the United States that could have potentially devastating consequences. Following Hurricane Katrina, institutions’ existing disaster recovery and business continuity plans generally worked well in enabling institutions to restore operations swiftly. However, the unprecedented destruction and aftermath of the hurricane caused major disruptions that exceeded the scope of some institutions’ disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Major hardships faced by these institutions included the following:

  • Communications outages made it difficult to locate missing personnel.
  • Access to and reliable transportation into restricted areas were not always available.
  • Lack of electrical power or fuel for generators rendered computer systems inoperable.
  • Multiple facilities were destroyed or sustained significant damage.
  • Some branches and ATMs were under water for weeks.
  • Mail service was interrupted for months in some areas.

Financial institutions demonstrated great resiliency, working together to create solutions that allowed them to successfully operate under very difficult circumstances and to assist customers and communities in recovering from the hurricane.

The lessons learned booklet is available on the FFIEC’s web site at as well as on each agency’s web site. Insured depository institutions will soon receive a hard copy or an electronic copy of the booklet.

Media Contacts:

Federal Reserve Deborah Lagomarsino 202-452-2955
FDIC David Barr 202-898-6992
OCC Bryan Hubbard 202-874-5770
OTS Katie Fitzgerald 202-906-6677
NCUA Cherie Umbel 703-518-6330
CSBS Mary White 202-728-5715

The FFIEC was established in March 1979 to prescribe uniform principles, standards, and report forms and to promote uniformity in the supervision of financial institutions. The Council has five member agencies: the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The Council's activities are supported by interagency task forces and by an advisory State Liaison Committee, comprised of five representatives of state agencies that supervise financial institutions.