When International Bancshares Corp. (IBC), a Texas-based financial holding company with four banks and multiple branches, was searching for a new core banking application to replace its mainframe system, the short list of requirements included customization, scalability and ease-of-use. And oh yes, the ability to connect to multiple databases.
Happily, all requirements were met by the Vision banking system from Precision Computer Systems (PCS), a Sioux Falls, S.D., software vendor.
The Vision system is based on the OpenEdge e-business platform from Progress Software, Bedford, Mass. The OpenEdge platform includes massive scalablility and flexibility, with an easy-to-administer Progress O relational database management system, an application development environment, and SonicMQ Internet messaging technology for integrating with existing systems. PCS, an independent software vendor (ISV) partner of Progress Software, has used the OpenEdge platform to build Vision and Vision's ancillary products.
Based in Laredo, Texas, IBC has more than 100 facilities and 204 ATMs, serving 30 communities. As one of the largest and most successful banks in Texas, IBC processes approximately 700,000 to 800,000 banking transactions per day from a variety of sources, including bank tellers at its 100 branch locations, ATM machines, telephone, and online banking applications.
When IBC was notified two years ago by its previous systems vendor that the product was no longer going to be supported, it began looking for alternatives. Initial benchmark tests indicated that PCS' OpenEdge-based system reduced the time required to process these transactions quicker than the bank's previous system. In December 2000, IBC began working with PCS.
"IBC was intrigued with how fast the daily updates would run since it had been struggling on the old system," said Bruce Christensen, president of PCS. "We can take their 300,000 accounts with these 700,000 plus transactions and update them in just under two hours."
The Progress 4GL system makes it simple for each branch to customize the system to match its needs, according to Ron Buckley, EDP manager at $6.1 billion IBC. And SonicMQ-the product's Internet messaging technology-enables IBC to integrate hundreds of teller terminals, ATMs and other transaction systems into one highly scalable system.
IBC was also impressed with the product's customization features. "PCS's Vision is easy to administer and reduces the time required to manage the corporate banking system," Buckley said. "This allows us to focus on value-added initiatives that directly impact the quality of our customer service ."
The OpenEdge-based system also provides scalability and flexibility-critical considerations in the banking industry, where mergers and acquisitions are common, Buckley said.
Another important customization feature is a holding company module that allows IBC to create a single image of its nine databases. With one application, IBC can cross check to see if a customer has accounts at more than one of its banks.
Last spring, PCS spent three weeks training approximately 20 IBC trainers, who then trained the rest of IBC's 1,600-plus employees on the new system as it was being installed.
Still, the conversion was a complex undertaking. "There were nine separate conversions because there were nine separate databases," said Mark Blankespoor, vice president of development at PCS. "The last bank was converted the last week in November."