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Chicago Financial Institutions Unveil "ChicagoFIRST" Coalition for Homeland Security

Department of Treasury and Chicago OEMC Pledge Coalition Support

CHICAGO, July 10, 2003 - At a press conference this morning, representatives of Chicago's major financial institutions announced the formation of Chicago FIRST, an industry coalition that will address homeland security issues requiring a common response by Chicago's financial community. Representatives from the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) attended the conference and expressed their support of Chicago FIRST's initiative.

The co-chairs of Chicago FIRST, Louis Rosenthal, Executive Vice President, LaSalle Bank Corporation, and Rohit Kumar, Chief Technology Officer and First Vice President of The Options Clearing Corporation, explained that the coalition's mission is to enhance the resilience of the Chicago financial services industry in the event of a regional disaster.

Chicago FIRST will partner with city, state and federal agencies to immediately work towards achieving the following business objectives:

  • Obtain a seat at Chicago's Joint Operations Center in the event of a crisis that affects Chicago's financial community
  • Create permits/passes for essential personnel to safely access business facilities in the event of a general evacuation of the city
  • Develop and communicate standard evacuation procedures for industry personnel to exit city limits in the event of a disaster

"Along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and many other financial regulators, Treasury has begun implementing a plan for working with the major financial communities across the country," said Michael Dawson, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection. "We encourage institutions to coordinate their efforts and to communicate clearly and openly with government at all levels. Chicago FIRST is a useful model that may serve many communities well."

"The U.S. Treasury Department has been very supportive in the development of Chicago FIRST," said Kumar. "We look forward to working with them to advance this initiative not only for Chicago, but as a template for other regional financial centers."

"The City of Chicago and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications will work closely with Chicago FIRST to develop and maintain an aggressive response plan that will provide information access and recovery assistance for the financial sector. We are hopeful that this partnership will increase the interaction between local governments and financial institutions across the country," said Cortez Trotter, Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

"By working with the City of Chicago and coalition members, Chicago FIRST will exemplify a partnership between public and private sectors that is necessary to protect the vigorous financial industry in Chicago," said Rosenthal.

Chicago FIRST will initially be supported by BITS, a technology and business strategy group composed of the top 100 financial services companies in the U.S. BITS will support implementation of Chicago FIRST's primary objectives and will recommend an ongoing structure for the coalition.