Jackie Marshall, SVP, IT Regulatory Compliance

In light of several lawsuits and following the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Federal Courts have decided to update their Electronic Discovery Rules (December 2006). The new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure affect litigation on the Federal level and failure to produce electronic documents could prove costly. Compliance will depend on the nature of your business. If you are subject to SEC regulation or if you are in the legal environment, you may need to address certain issues relating to email retention differently than if you are only concerned with banking regulations.

This is why 2007 will be the year to address electronic data/email retention for many community financial institutions.Content management, encryption, and email retention will be an important topic of discussion in Technology Committee meetings, and many vendors are actively marketing email retention solutions to financial institutions.

You may also need to write a new record retention policy, or, if your institution has an existing record retention policy, it will probably need updating. All departments within your institution will need to standardize the handling of imaged documents, emails, and other electronic communications. Also, your policies will need to specify different timeframes for retention based on the type of data, and when the retention period is exceeded, destruction/disposal procedures will need to be specified.

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