Magazine article American Banker

North West Trust Installing Networks of PCs: Community Bank in the Yukon Replacing Midrange-Based System

Magazine article American Banker

North West Trust Installing Networks of PCs: Community Bank in the Yukon Replacing Midrange-Based System

Article excerpt

Scrapping a centralized computer system for a network of personal computers, a Canadian community bank expects to increase its processing power while dramatically reducing costs.

North West Trust Co., a $900 million-asset financial institution in the Yukon, is in the process of replacing a two-year-old system driven by an AS/400 midrange computer with a network of 330 personal computers.

The move is expected to improve the time it takes workers to get information, while slashing maintenance and development costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars over five years, according to bank officials.

Conserving Memory

Moving large portions of data processing from a host computer to a groups of microcomputers -- a function known as distributed processing -- is popular at large institutions looking to save memory on their relatively expensive mainframe systems.

North West Trust, which is a full-service institution, has borrowed the idea in an effort to increase cross-selling opportunities. The bank hopes to phase in the PC-based system over 12 to 18 months.

"We are trying to tet into relationship banking," said William Scharff, vice president of marketing at North West Trust. "The first step in that process is putting more information in the hands of the branch workers."

Mr. Scharff said the old system -- in which an AS/400 computer from International Business Machines Corp. handled all the bank's processing -- was hindering that effort.

The bank's 12 branches currently employ "dumb" terminals that rely entirely on the AS/400 for processing power. …

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