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WASHINGTON-The Treasury Department recently released a study to serve as a model for the country’s regional financial centers to protect and strengthen the critical financial services infrastructure at the local level. The report, Improving Business Continuity in the Financial Services Sector: A Model for Starting Regional Coalitions, is based on the experiences of ChicagoFIRST-a regional coalition of financial institutions and local governmental organizations that banded together to strengthen the Chicago financial services industry and coordinate with local, state, and federal government agencies in the event of a potential natural or manmade disorder. ChicagoFIRST was established in the wake of September 11 to protect the lives of the people who work for its members, protect the financial assets that have been entrusted to its members and to coordinate employee evacuations and access to restricted areas with local authorities in the event of an emergency. “This past year, we visited over two dozen leading financial communities across the nation to encourage local organization. This `cookbook’ will help people in those communities succeed in coming together,” Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Wayne A. Abernathy said.

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