January 4, 2005
From: Rosanne Notaro
To: [ ]
To clarify a bit further in response to the phone conversation we just had in which you raised yet a more "refined" question, the advice below was not intended to restrict bank employees only to "accessing" emails in the narrow sense, but to allow employees to respond to emails and communicate back and forth regarding bank business.
The Department recognizes that at some point, the line has the potential to get blurred between routine email communication and email communication that borders on "effecting" transactions. However, we would expect that regulated institutions bear in mind the underlying rationale for the policy in developing guidelines for their employees' activities.
I hope that this is (still) helpful.
To: [ ]
I confirmed that the Department's Vacation Policy as set forth in the August 1996 Industry Letter on the website has been interpreted to permit bank employees to stay in touch by accessing emails through blackberry or similar devices. As you suspected, the gist of the prohibition on employees being "on-line" was to ensure that they are not involved in effecting transactions, book entries, etc.
I trust this is helpful. Please let me know if you need any additional information.
First Assistant Counsel - Banks