Magazine article American Banker

Cheaper Access on Internet Seen Forcing Innovation by Compliance Vendors

Magazine article American Banker

Cheaper Access on Internet Seen Forcing Innovation by Compliance Vendors

Article excerpt

Fast, cheap Internet access to data will make providers of compliance data and mapping software give customers more for their money, experts say. No longer can these firms be content to provide census data, mapping of software, and regulatory updates. Those services are available for free over the Internet.

Rather, observers said, these companies must create new products that help compliance officers make sense of the reams of data they collect.

"The Internet is clearly a fire behind these service providers, and they have to be feeling the heat," said Richard Insley, compliance officer with Signet Bank in Richmond, Va. "If they're giving things out that are now being offered up for free, the Net's going to take a bite out of their business."

Some bankers are already leaning on the Internet for cheaper services. Andy Zavoina, senior vice president and compliance officer at First National Bank of Killeen in Killeen, Tex., said he uses a mapping product from the census bureau's World Wide Web site to assess his institution's Community Reinvestment Act-lending efforts.

The mapping product, called Tiger Maps, lets bankers customize maps to show states, metropolitan areas, counties, census tracts, and congressional districts. Then the banker can color-code the map's data by category, including: family and household size, population density, income, age, and race.

However, the software doesn't let bankers plug their own loan data into the system to be mapped. Nearly all private companies' products will take that information and, by using dots or other symbols, place it on the already color-coded map to show where an institution's loans are located. Bankers using the Internet software have to create those loan markers manually, Mr. Zavoina said.

"It's not the answer to everything, but it can certainly cut costs," Mr. …

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