Even for A community bank, obtaining a timely, accurate picture of the organization's financial performance on a granular level can be difficult. For Columbia, S.C.-based South Carolina Bank and Trust (SCBT), the solution came in the form of Stockbridge, Ga.-based Banker's Dashboard, an out-of-the-box financial management tool. "We were looking for a solution that would allow us to look at our net interest margin with more frequency -- and we like to take profitability down to the branch level," explains SCBT COO and CFO John Pollok of the bank's needs.
According to Pollok, SCBT ($2.6 billion in assets) is "an ITI shop," outsourcing its core banking to Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv ITI. As a result, the 50-branch independent bank relied on ITI reports to measure its financial performance. "We had a report writer," Pollok acknowledges, "but we really needed branch profitability."
Go Ahead, Try IT
The search for a financial management and reporting solution began in February 2007, Pollok says, adding that it took about a month for SCBT to select the Web-based Banker's Dashboard product. Although Pollok declines to name the other vendor solutions that the bank considered, he says Banker's Dashboard was the only one that could provide daily information on how each branch was performing. To seal the deal, he adds, the vendor told SCBT management to try the product -- for free, if they weren't happy.
In essence, the solution pulls daily information from a bank's core processing system to compute financial performance metrics. According to the vendor, it delivers consolidated and detailed branch reporting, loan and deposit production information, comparisons, ratios, trends and pricing tools in an easy-to-understand format via a Web-based interface.
Implementation began in March 2007, Pollok reports, and took a couple of weeks to complete. He describes the only challenge as "getting your mapping straight." Otherwise, the solution required no new software, hardware or code, Pollok notes.
Banker's Dashboard provided SCBT managers with training via online webinars, Pollok relates. But, "It's really just point-and-click," he adds of the dashboard's functionality. "It's very user friendly." As a result, after just several training sessions, the Banker's Dashboard tool was made available to all SCBT branch and department managers.
According to Pollok, Banker's Dashboard "takes all our balance sheet and income statements and puts it in there. It comes off our core nightly update [and] provides the margin analysis to see how we did." In addition to leveraging the dashboard for financial reports, SCBT uses the tool to generate budgets as well as reports for the bank's board, he adds.
"I want my people out there selling," rather than collecting data or creating reports, Pollok says. With Banker's Dashboard, "My managers can come in every morning and learn what their margin did the day before."
And just how is SCBT doing? Pollok says the bank's interest margin increased 10 basis points between the fourth quarter of 2006 and Q4 2007 -- when a lot of other banks were experiencing margin compression. "That in itself helped pay for [the Banker's Dashboard tool]," he comments.
Case Study Profile
Institution: South Carolina Bank and Trust (Columbia, S.C.).
Assets: $2.6 billion.
Business Challenge: Achieve daily financial performance analysis, particularly at the branch level.
Solution: Banker's Dashboard (Stockbridge, Ga.) financial management tool.