Bank of Boston Signs $30M Deal with IBM for Branch Automation

Article excerpt

Bank of Boston Corp. has inked a muitimillion-dollar contract to install a personal computer-based branch automation system from International Business Machines Corp.

The deal to integrate IBM hardware, software, and networking gear in Bank of Boston's 300 branches is estimated to be worth about $30 million, company officials said.

The new "client-server" system will replace an older IBM branch technology, called the 4700, which the 44 billion-asset bank has used since the early 1980s. it will include PCs running IBM'S OS/2 operating system and application software from Dallas-based Argo Data Resource Corp.

The deal is a big win for Big Blue, as IBM fights vigorously to defend its position as one of biggest suppliers to banks of branch hardware and software.

Other major branch systems vendors - such as Olivetti NOrth America Inc. and Unisys Corp. - have allied themselves with IBM'S archrival Microsoft Corp. and its Windows PC operating system.

Olivetti and Unisys have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 18 months revamping their branch automation technology to work with Windows, which has rapidly gained in popularity in banks.

In addition, a handful of big banks, including Wells Fargo Corp., are installing new branch systems based on the Unix operating system.

Michael Lezenski, Bank of Boston's chief information officer, said last year the bank's first decision was to select Argo Data's client\server software for its platform and teller functions.

While the Argo Data software was also available running under Windows, Bank of Boston chose OS/2 for its branch system because of its "multitasking" capabilities. …