In Light of New Sci-Fi Film World War Z, GoBankingRates.com Investigates How a Fictional Zombie Pandemic Would Disrupt the U.S. Banking Industry in Real Life

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Paramount Pictures’ World War Z forces viewers to imagine a world where a horrific zombie virus overtakes the human population. To realize this notion further, personal finance site http://www.GoBankingRates.com looks at how such an illness, if it were real, would impact banks and the American population today.

World War Z

World War Z

Preparations by large complex financial institutions, key retail banks, and the authorities themselves will need to be robust.

Audiences will cringe in horror as they imagine the effects of a zombie pandemic in Paramount Pictures’ World War Z, which hits theaters this weekend. As the film touches on important geo-political effects of a pandemic on society, GoBankingRates.com takes the investigation one step further to examine the deeper economic and financial ramifications of such a contagion on the population.

“With its close ties to the economy, the banking industry would be one of the areas most heavily affected by a pandemic,” says Elyssa Kirkham, contributor to GoBankingRates.com. “Problems within the banking industry would also have the potential to cause the most disruption to American’s everyday routines and quality of life.”

According to a report from the International Money Fund (IMF) regarding the Avian flu pandemic, a lack of foresight could affect the banking industry’s ability to react to the consequences of such a virus. “Preparations by large complex financial institutions, key retail banks, and the authorities themselves will need to be robust,” the IMF report warns. “Failure in any of these institutions will have an impact on the global financial system in addition to the direct impact on their own operations.”

GoBankingRates.com compiled this list of how banks would be affected by a pandemic:

  •     Banks would likely be understaffed as many employees would be quarantined – either due to self-imposed or mandated reasons – making it difficult to access one’s money or obtain financial services.
  •     Debit and credit cards would lose their value as understaffing at banks could prevent the secure processing of payment.
  •     There would be a high demand for cash as it would likely be the only form of secure, easily transferable payment for necessary goods and services such as water, food, and shelter.
  •     Spending would likely be limited to necessities as the demand for hard currency and a lack of bank access would affect personal finances.

In terms of overall economic impact, a report from Trust for America’s Health found that a pandemic flu has the potential to cause a recession comparable to the recent Great Recession, with a U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of over 5.5 percent ($765 billion, adjusted for inflation).

As part of their investigation, GoBankingRates.com supplies a survival guide to be prepared in the event of a World War Z-like event, including tips to keep emergency cash on-hand and to store food ahead of time.

See the full economic diagnosis and survival guide for how to be prepared for a World War Z event:
http://www.gobankingrates.com/banking/how-world-war-z-pandemic-would-impact-banking-industry/

For questions about this report or to speak with a GoBankingRates.com editor, please use the contact information below.

About GoBankingRates.com

GoBankingRates.com is a national website dedicated to connecting readers with the best interest rates on financial services nationwide, as well as informative personal finance content, news and tools. GoBankingRates.com collects interest rate information from more than 4,000 U.S. banks and credit unions, making it the only online rates aggregator with the ability to provide the most comprehensive and authentic local interest rate information.

Contact:

Jaime Catmull, Director of Public Relations
GoBankingRates.com
JaimeC(@)GoBankingRates(dot)com
310.297.9233 x261

Sources:
International Monetary Fund, The Global Economic and Financial Impact of an Avian Flu Pandemic and the Role of the IMF, February 28, 2006.
Trust for America’s Health, Pandemic Flu and the Potential for U.S. Economic Recession, March 2007.

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