ABA Panels Focus on Rapid Change in Back Offices
Tucker, Tracey, American Banker
To address the accelerating rate of change in back offices and the banking industry at large, the 1994 American Bankers Association operations conference is focusing on "The Challenges of Technology," and "Dealing With Diversity in the 1990s."
This year's National Operations and Automation Conference, which started Sunday and runs through Wednesday in San Francisco, aims to shed some light on the challenges bankers are facing, as well as the various solutions being brought to the table.
Fred L. Cisewski, director of information services at Atlanta-based Bank South Corp., and chairman of the NOAC planning committee, said bankers are being faced with changes that are "pronounced and profound."
"In 1900, 85% of the financial market was controlled by banks," he said. "By 2000, 25% will be controlled by banks. There's been a significant drop in market share, and it's changing the nature of the industry."
Bankers are finding that they must redefine the business they are in, and who their competitors are, said Mr. Cisewski. They must also be attuned to regulations and how mergers and acquisitions affecting their service providers will alter banks' cost structures and delivery channels, he said.
In addition, bankers must figure out how to integrate technology in a way that best serves customers.
The ABA is expecting over 2,000 attendees, including community bankers, information technology specialists, and general operations managers from banks of all sizes, as well as equipment and system vendors.
To target various segments of the audience, the conference has been divided into four concurrent tracks: corporate operations, community banks, retail services, and information technology management.
One of the hot topics this year is the new client-server technology the industry is adopting, said Mr. Cisewski. Bankers are confused, he said, because of the many suppliers vying for position, and because there is no underlying management structure in place.
To address these issues, a client-server tutorial is scheduled, in which speakers will lay out the requirements for migrating to the new architecture.
"There's a train coming, and bankers have to know how to get on it," said Mr. Cisewski.
Other popular subjects this year are imaging and reengineering, said Mr. Cisewski.
The two main applications for imaging in banking -- check imaging and file folder, or document, imaging -- will be discussed in separate sessions. Check imaging will be featured throughout the corporate operations track. A large session devoted to file imaging will present three case studies, showing how the technology is applied in different banking areas.
In various tracks, speakers will address how banks can reengineer to increase efficiency, improve customer service, and reduce cost through technology.
"A lot of technologies require reengineering for banks to get a reasonable rate of return on their investments," said Mr. Cisewski.
Reinforcing the sessions will be displays from more than 400 vendors, so attendees will be able to see multiple solutions, said Mr. …