Magazine article American Banker

Bankers Trust Speeds Corporate Queries with Archival System

Magazine article American Banker

Bankers Trust Speeds Corporate Queries with Archival System

Article excerpt

IN THE COMBATANT world of corporate banking, where speedy customer service is paramount, banks are increasingly looking to new hightech weapons to gain an edge on competitors.

One year ago, Bankers Trust Co. had a problem in its corporate customer service areas: Response time to inquiries just wasn't keeping pace with the competition. What the $74 billion-asset institution needed was a way to access historical information within a moment's notice without spending a bundle of cash.

As Jeremy E. Keisman recalled, the choices were to hire additional staff and install extra phone lines in the corporate banking areas or to adopt new systems to do the job with existing employees.

"We needed to respond to customer inquiries faster, better, and cheaper," said Mr. Keisman, vice president of global assets technology. "We decided to go the technology route."

After an intensive search, the New York-based bank settled on StorFiche/2, the Windows-based optical storage and retrieval system that reduces response time for client and internal information requests while reducing operating costs significantly.

"It was one-stop shopping for us and was the answer to our problems," said Mr. Keisman.

Developed by New York-based MicroBank Software Inc., the multi-user software package is designed to minimize or replace paper, microfiche, and magnetic disk storage.

An enhanced version of software introduced in April 1991, StorFiche/2 includes advanced search capabilities that make it easier to access information and transfer it into spreadsheet and word processing applications.

Bankers Trust is using the software with an optical storage drive, technology similar to that used in compact-disk recording. Each day, reports are downloaded from the mainframe to the optical server. Access to the reports is then gained through a local area network connected to the server.

What sold Bankers Trust on StorFiche/2 was the improved response time. Retrieving payment information via paper or microfiche could take up to half an hour and slow down the process of answering queries. The new software has enabled the bank to improve productivity, eliminate paper and microfiche costs, and avoid hiring more operational staff.

Employees can now use StorFiche/2 to search a 200-page report for a specific dollar amount and find the desired information in five seconds or less, Mr. Keisman said. "We're now closing cases faster than we ever thought possible." StorFiche/2 has proved to be a real plus in Bankers Trust's corporate banking area.

Right off the bat, the software gave service representatives on-line access to years of data such as account histories. Questions like "When did the check clear?" and "Were the funds received yet?" can be answered on the spot.

Because of its multi-user design, authorized employees can pull up data and provide the customer with an answer instantly, and even supply a printed copy if needed.

Increased productivity is another plus. The bank is saving considerable staff time that was spent searching for data.

"We designed the software to substantially increase productivity levels and at the same time save the institution money," said Brian Twibell, president of MicroBank.

"We designed StorFiche/2 for the financial services industry where formatted reports such as customer statements and transaction journals must remain accessible indefinitely."

The system also safeguards against errors because information is extracted from the on-line data base and archived directly to the optical storage server. The software features an "Expert Analyzer" that allows report data to be shared with other Windows software products without the need to plug in any data.

"Costly and time-consuming errors in the transmission process or in the re-keying of data are no longer a problem," Mr. Twibell said. …

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