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Core Systems

05:09 PM
John Venzon, Jack Henry & Associates
John Venzon, Jack Henry & Associates

The Core of the Technology Puzzle

In our second article on the ongoing modernization of the core platform, we hear from two banks that have put the pieces together to improve customer service through more strategic operations.

When it comes time for a bank to select a new technology, such as customer relationship management (CRM), teller capture or mobile banking, they are always faced with one question: Should we take a best-of-breed or best-of-suite approach to the decision?

The best-of-breed search opens what can be a lengthy RFP and integration process, while some believe that the best-of-suite method limits your options. In today’s environment where specialty technology vendors seem to pop up overnight, it can be very tempting for a bank to cast a wide net in the search for new or replacement technology. After all, innovation is happening on a daily basis and it is important for your institution to have the latest products consumers are seeking. However, for Gerianne Graham, vice president of operations at $550 million Walla Walla, Wash.-based Baker Boyer Bank and Steve Baggerly, president of $140 million Guymon, Okla.-based Bank of the Panhandle, the efficiency and peace of mind afforded by using one provider for the majority of their technology made the decision a simpler one.

Baker Boyer Bank

As a family-owned institution and the oldest bank in the state of Washington, we have deep roots in the community. We have always prided ourselves on relationship banking with a goal of “guiding our clients to a brighter financial future." For us, building strong relationships is more than just a mission statement. We go beyond retail banking to offer our more than 20,000 clients services such as trust and wealth management, investment advice, as well as private banking. For clients with complex needs, our staff works in teams with specific skills to match the client’s needs by providing comprehensive, customized care driven by bank employees that know their clients well.

Though this level of service can be taxing for a small bank like us, we are able to make it work by only partnering with vendors that share our vision of individual client care. Our partners must give us flexibility and the ability to tailor the technology to our needs.

With a small staff, it is important for all of our bank’s systems to work together and provide a broad view of customer information for the teams while maintaining efficiency. We have been able to streamline operations in this environment by selecting much of our technology from our core platform provider, Jack Henry Banking.

By doing so, we have much tighter integrations between ancillary products and our core system by following a best-of-suite approach to technology decisions whenever possible. This provides us a more transparent view of information across the bank and streamlines our day-to-day work. For us, the best path to integration is to stay with our core.

Bank of the Panhandle

If there’s one thing we want to stress it’s the importance of integration among solutions, especially as it relates to the holistic customer relationship. In our view, fighting an interface war is the easiest way to lose efficiencies and limit customer-facing benefits. Tight integration is fundamental to our bank’s customer satisfaction levels. We are able to offer solutions that are unified and seamless, which has increased adoption and ease of use among our customer base. On the back end, we have one primary vendor relationship with an open channel of communication that handles every aspect of the more than 20 products and solutions we contract for. Without this, we would lose the cohesive look and feel that is generating such success.

We began our search for a better approach to managing the individual customer relationship in 2004-05. At this time, we opted to convert not only our core, but also numerous complementary solutions to Jack Henry’s Core Director platform for the main reason that it was the only solution that met our integration criteria.

To us, e-Signatures, remote deposit capture, internet banking, Core Director Teller Capture, e-Statements and Relationship Profitability (RPM) are going to be major players in effectively managing the customer relationship for years to come. Additionally, the decision to convert our teller capture system has dramatically improved not only teller efficiency and accuracy, but also customer retention. We truly believe we are operating with a next generation teller capture system. We control the parameters so each deposit relationship can be customized per individual customer preferences. In the end, it all links back to the ability for each of our systems to communicate with each other.

Today, we are looking at mobile banking and online wealth management to supplement our current competitive offerings. Many of our competitors do not have a good idea of the cash activity of their customers. With our ability to view the customer relationship as a whole, rather than siloed pieces, we understand where opportunities exist among our customer base to provide competitive loan pricing, for example. We have the right information, quickly, to make the appropriate judgment call for each group of customers – which can ultimately drive revenue. For us, best-of-suite is the best solution.

John Venzon is the General Manager of Internet Solutions at Jack Henry Banking, a division of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

Gerianne Graham is Vice President of Operations for Walla Walla, Wash.-based Baker Boyer Bank.

Steve Baggerly is president of Guymon, Okla.-based Bank of the Panhandle.

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