Equipping for disaster

GoBankingRates.com investigates how a zombie pandemic would disrupt the U.S. banking industry

More than one fan of the zombie genre has daydreamed about the main upside to the apocalypse: total debt relief. Good credit, bad credit, no credit, it doesn’t matter if the world all comes to an end.

But what if it isn’t a total apocalypse? What if the zombie apocalypse somehow manages to be contained and some semblance of the life we knew carries on? The minds behind GoBankingRates.com recently took the time to try to answer these questions.

“With its close ties to the economy, the banking industry would be one of the areas most heavily affected by a pandemic,” said 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:

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