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Two R.I. Banks Merge IT Systems

Six months after Washington Trust announced its acquisition of First Financial Corp., the two banks merge their technology platforms with the help of Open Solutions.

Six months after Washington Trust announced its acquisition of First Financial Corp., the two Rhode Island-based banks have merged their technology platforms with the help of Open Solutions, a technology provider for community banks and credit unions.

Last November, $1.5 billion Washington Trust announced it was acquiring First Financial, a $150 million asset institution based in Providence. With a post-acquisition customer base exceeding 100,000 accounts, Washington Trust has expanded its branch network into Providence and Cranston, and now operates 15 branches.

To support Washington Trust's technology needs post-merger, Open Solutions converted and merged First Financial's system with Washington Trust's existing relational database, thereby creating a single open, relational system.

Having a relational database at the core of its technology operations was crucial to the success of the platform merger, said Barbara Perino, senior VP of operations and technology at Westerly, R.I.-based Washington Trust.

"Washington Trust has been impressed with the ease in which the First Financial retail staff adapted to the Open Solutions' platform," said Perino. "Because the staff learned the system so quickly, service levels never wavered."

With the aid of Open Solutions, Washington Trust added all of First Financial's account information to its database without adding additional staff. "The fact that our IT staffing levels remain the same after undergoing a 15 percent increase in accounts is a testament to the efficiency and ease-of-use of Open Solutions' real-time processing technology," according to Perino.

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