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To support expansion and ongoing client support, Hibernia Bank has adopted CRM software from JD Edwards.

Hibernia, a $17 billion bank based in New Orleans, has plans to add about 50 branches into Texas. And while doing so, the bank's customer relationship management software will make it possible to achieve a competitive advantage, according to David Frady, executive vice president, commercial products and services, Hibernia Bank.

Out of Hibernia's 800,000 customers, the most lucrative ones are the 2,000 commercial customers representing almost 40 percent of the bank's revenue. "We've got to know everything there is to know about those commercial clients," said Frady.

To make that feasible, Hibernia adopted customer relationship management software from JD Edwards (Denver).

Prior efforts by Frady's predecessors to implement CRM had been less than spectacular, and so Frady had ample professional incentives -- and "skin in the game" -- to make it work. This time, Frady sought the participation of the sales force and made ease-of-use a top priority. "Service people and salespeople are very, very client-focused," said Frady. "Technology is wonderful, but if it's not centered around what the client does with us day in and day out ... we're in deep trouble."

Effective customer service was also high on the priority list. "These are people that pay us hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year," said Frady. "If a client-service issue is not fixed within a certain amount of time, depending on if it's an urgent issue or depending on how we categorize it, it will escalate the automated e-mail to the supervisor of that area."

Similarly, all interactions with a particular client are automatically logged. Relationship managers can draw upon a complete view of customer activity, and view "pipeline" reports describing activity regarding prospective customers. "There's never an excuse now that the relationship manager doesn't know every sales opportunity that's happening with their clients," said Frady.

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