Mounting Usage of Desktop Computers Emphasizes Banks' Focus on Information

Article excerpt

DALLAS -- Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. has more than 500 personal computers in use and Chemical Bank more than 1,000, a conference on microcomputers was told this week.

David W. Larson, the executive vice president who heads operations at Manufacturers Hanover, is chairman of the third annual microcomputer conference of the Bank Administration Institute. In an address at its opening session here, he said PCs are critical to banking because bankers are in the information business.

"The key to being in the financial services business is our ability to provide timely, accurate, and complete financial information," Mr. Larson said.

"It is no longer sufficient to be good only at effective transaction processing and after-the-fact accounting," he said. "We've always been good at that. Today, our challenge is to become proficient as an information provider, dynamically filling the needs of both internal and external decision-makers."

He quoted a statement by Walter Wriston, retired Citibank chairman: "Information about money is becoming almost as important as money itself."

The conference, known as MicroScape-84, has a paid attendance of about 300, plus 50 exhibitors.

On Thursday, the head of the office technology center at Chemical Bank described how his bank has sought to standardize and support the use of microcomputers by its officers and staff.

Cecil A. Toulon Jr., vice president, said top executives down to clerical workers now use 1,015 micros at Chemical. They include 761 IBMs, 84 Digital Equipment machines, 78 Wangs, and 92 other models.

Since the micros will be accessing corporate information, Mr. Toulon said, Chemical wants to make sure they are used properly and securely.

A senior vice president must approve the purchase of every computer used in the bank, whether through Mr. Toulon's center or not, Mr. Toulon said. But in most cases, staffers let the center make the purchase for several reasons: It can deliver quickly from an inventory, it trains the user, and it furnishes support, such as a hot line.

Mr. Larson told the group that he has been responsible for automation at Manufacturers Hanover for 12 years. He added:

"Let me be the first to admit that with a constantly growing portfolio of projects associated with mainframe environments, we have not been able to be fully responsive to the dramatic increase in informational requirements over the past few years. …