The financial industry's leading technology officers have
gathered in Tulsa to discuss tomorrow's data processing and security
The Financial Services Technology Consortium provides the
mechanism for financial institutions, and the technology companies
serving them, to come together and work out solutions to challenges
facing the sector.
Created in 1993, the think tank's development parallels the
growth of the Internet, electronic banking and check imaging - three
issues that continue to demand its attention. Since Sept. 11, 2001,
its focus also has fallen upon lines of economic and national
security, including requirements under the Patriot Act to help track
Donald T. Parker, chairman of the consortium and executive vice
president and chief information officer for BOK Financial, noted its
members include competitors that by design should be at odds with
each other. But they also enjoy strong mutual interests fed by
We play a unique role in the country and the economy that causes
us to work together, he said.
Last season's hurricanes brought several such issues into focus.
After the devastation of Katrina, Whitney Bank in New Orleans
witnessed a large number of its customers relocate to Houston.
Rodney D. Chard, Whitney's executive vice president for operations
and technology, found he lacked the computers, personnel and other
tools needed to keep up with his customers.
Everything Rodney needed I had in Houston, Parker said, referring
to the BOK subsidiary Bank of Texas. But Parker didn't know about
Chard's problems until it was too late to help.
Such stories have spurred the FSTC to consider a more proactive
role in responding to events. At present, it provides more analysis
for future planning and resiliency than immediate response needs.
But even in emergency situations, competition enters the mix.
After seeing the devastation of Katrina, the threat of Hurricane
Rita spurred evacuating Houstonians to withdraw most of the cash
from BOK's Transfund automatic teller machines. As BOK loaded a
bunch of money on a plane bound for the Bank of Texas - just in
front of the slowing, curving storm - the Houston staff noted their
streets had emptied.
So rather than place the cash into a safe, that Friday BOK
replenished its ATMs, even as Rita headed toward the Louisiana
border for a Saturday landing. That allowed Bank of Texas to reopen
most of its branches on Sunday, even as most competitors were still
tracking down evacuated employees.
Efficiency and fraud
About 30 financial institutions - which run the FSTC - and 70-
plus technology companies participate in the organization, seeking
collaboration as threats to electronic commerce grow both more
sophisticated and international. …