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Fieldpoint Private Bank Turns to Cloud Computing for CRM and Beyond

It's starting with Salesforce and Pershing, but Fieldpoint Bank eventually would like to run everything IT in the cloud.

Greenwich, Conn.-based Fieldpoint Private Bank ($345 million in assets), a boutique bank for high-net-worth customers that was founded in 2008 by 30 finance-executive-friends, most of them Merrill Lynch alumni (Fortune magazine ran an interesting profile of the bank in June, "The millionaire boys' bank"), is whole-heartedly embracing the concept of cloud computing.

"One of my goals is to put as much of our technology in the cloud as possible," says Joe Larizza, chief administrative officer, who spoke to Bank Systems & Technology in an interview yesterday afternoon. "I'm a big believer in aligning expense to revenue and keeping my capital expense down to a minimum, so cloud-based solutions make sense. I also believe that our firm needs to focus on its core competency, which is not technology but providing a high level of service to our members. As a result I'm not interested in maintaining a large IT staff or huge IT infrastructure, and believe we should focus on best-in-class IT services. Salesforce fits that bill."

Fieldpoint is using Salesforce CRM implemented by a consulting firm, Bluewolf. In the future, the bank may build other applications, such as partner portals, using Salesforce's Force.com toolkit. Bluewolf staff are on retainer to build out such applications and customize and enhance the existing platform.

The bank's wealth management custodian, Pershing, takes care of all wealth management processing in an arrangement Larizza calls "service in the cloud." For any technology challenge that can't be solved by cloud-based software (e.g. Salesforce) or service in a cloud (e.g. Pershing), Larizza will try to handle via infrastructure in the cloud; the bank already uses an Amazon/Rackspace like provider for certain things Larizza declined to specify.

Larizza keeps some IT in-house, but only where he doesn't think a good security or disaster recovery model exists, or where he can't find a cloud-based vendor.

The bank also does its own information security audits and performed a thorough review of Salesforce's information security policies, SAS 70 and Gramm-Leach-Bliley compliance, and disaster recovery capabilities, to ensure that its new CRM system could withstand any regulatory test.

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