Millennium Glitch Hits Dutch Home Banking Software

Thousands of Dutch bank customers

discovered this week that they can't use all the features of their online

banking software because of a Year 2000-related problem.

Some 6,000 users of the Apple Macintosh version of Postbank NV's Gironet software found they could not postdate electronic payments. The software, developed by U.S. computer maker Apple Computer Inc., was not Year 2000-compliant.

Ton van Garderen, General Manager of Apple Computer Benelux, admits there is a glitch. He describes it as a "small problem."

"The program will be repaired and new software sent to customers from January 15," he said in an interview with Associated Press.

Another millennium bug in the banking sector hit VSB Bank. Hundreds of customers using an old version of the bank's PC Banking software were unable to bank online.

In a statement VSB Bank denies any responsibility, but acknowledges the problem has to do with the millennium changeover.

"We started replacing the outdated, not millennium-proof software in March 1999. Some people never asked for new software, not even after we approached them a second time. We then assumed they were not using the service anymore," VSB Bank said in a statement.

The bank promises to honor any request for updated software within a week.

Glitches in the online banking software are the first known disruptions linked to the millennium bug in the Netherlands. The Dutch government spent 2 billion Dutch guilders (US$933 million) in preparation of the rollover, private companies spent 18 billion guilders.

Apple Computer Netherlands, in Bunnik, The Netherlands, is at +31-30-659-3962 or http://www.apple.com/nl/. Postbank, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is at +31-20-5611611 or http://www.postbank.nl/. VSB Bank, in Utrecht, is at +31-900-8172 or http://www.vsb.nl/.

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