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Vivian Wagner
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Ohio Savings Bank Taps Fiserv

Moving to replace an aging system and bring its processing capabilities into the 21st century, Cleveland-based Ohio Savings Bank has contracted with Fiserv CBS Worldwide for a variety of processing systems.

Moving to replace an aging system and bring its processing capabilities into the 21st century, Cleveland-based Ohio Savings Bank has contracted with Fiserv CBS Worldwide for a variety of processing systems.

"It's replacing an aging system," said Jo Ann Boylan, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Ohio Savings, of the move to Fiserv CBS Worldwide. "We did an extensive investigation initially and looked at things we want to do in the future. As we looked at Fiserv's technology platform, it lined up with where we were going."

Fiserv's CBS Worldwide core processing system handles deposit and loan accounts, ACH, and safe deposits. Other Fiserv products that Ohio Savings will be using include Desktop (branch automation), eCash (Internet-based cash-management of corporate customers), SIAM (Internet-based retail customer account acquisition, including deposit accounts and loans), and Communicator (a Microsoft .NET-based service-oriented architecture for managing customer data).

Ohio Savings, which kicked off the conversion to the new Fiserv CBS Worldwide applications at the end of May, plans to take about 18 months for the total conversion.

"It's a big change for us," said Boylan. "It's a key component of our infrastructure, and it will definitely provide us with a platform that allows us to grow and know that it's on a solid platform."

The new applications will provide the bank with a consistent presence in all of its channels, including customer interactions in branches, over the phone, and via the Internet.

"It's a very customer-facing application," said Boylan. "We'll be using a single platform both in branches and in call centers."

The bank is also excited about Communicator-a data and information management system modeled on a kind of "traffic cop" model-because it's based on Microsoft's .NET architecture, which is the technology infrastructure already being used by the bank.

".NET is very much the infrastructure we have in place, so we already had a set of technologists familiar with it," said Boylan. "With Communicator I don't have to code interfaces specifically for each channel."

The .NET version of Communicator is able to use ASP.NET to cache formatting in the application domain once it's been read from the SQL Server 2000 database. This yields an enormous improvement in performance, greatly increasing throughput capabilities and making the solution more suitable for even the largest financial institutions.

Tests conducted by Fiserv CBS Worldwide and Microsoft show that modestly configured servers running the CBS Communicator software can support heavy transaction volumes over a sustained period of time. A single four-processor server, running the CBS Communicator software and Windows 2000 was able to accommodate 428 concurrent users, with response times averaging less than two seconds.

The bank has adopted the Fiserv CBS Worldwide applications on an in-house basis, and has a licensing agreement with the company for the use of these applications. Because of the cutting-edge technology behind the new applications, they are customizable and open up a range of possibilities for the bank's future. The applications provide the bank with the ability to scale up to a variety of capabilities it desires for the future, including peer-based pricing and product flexibility.

Ohio Savings' primary business plan in relation to this conversion was to update its technology and its technical capabilities, and the move to Fiserv CBS Worldwide promises to accomplish that.

"We wanted to migrate off aging platforms and technologies, while being sure we could provide the service level and capacity that we want," said Boylan.

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