By Maria Bruno-Britz
Here's a neat little come-back story. Greensburg State Bank, a small financial institution based in Greensburg, Kan., lost its only building to an F5 tornado that slammed through the area earlier this month. The twister wrought a trail of devastation throughout the town, leaving many without their homes, businesses and even their lives.As in any disaster, one of the first thoughts to cross people's minds is money. Even if your home is intact, who knows what the coming days and weeks might hold in terms of emergency needs? Proving once again the resiliency of the U.S. banking system, Greensburg State Bank was open for business only days later (under a tent). The bank apparently used Fiserv to outsource many of its services and with the vendor's help, was able to offer customers--the residents of battered Greensburg--some kind of financial normalcy.
I think this situation illustrates once again the importance of technology today to our banking system. Many bankers will say technology is not a bank's core business, but everything they do sure is dependent on IT. Banking and IT are so intertwined in today's world that it truly is disturbing to think what might happen during a massive disruption to the financial system--something that would make the confusion that occurred post 9-11 look like hiccups. Sure, systems can go down (especially when you lose your only physical location!), but once they're brought back online, the bank can provide its customers with the financial services they need to get their lives back on track.
I'm sure there are dozens of similar stories out there about other banks that have bounced back from disastrous circumstances. Just think back to Hurricane Katrina. Not only do such cases demonstrate the vital role of technology in banking, but they're also a testament to the people who work at these banks and their technology partners' ability to align with their needs as well.