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Deena M. Amato-McCoy
Deena M. Amato-McCoy
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New Accounts, No Waiting

Banterra cuts costs and improves customer service with automation platform.

To streamline data processing and improve customer service, Banterra Bank (Ridgway, Ill.; $925 million in assets) recently transitioned to an open automation platform. With 24 branches in southern Illinois and Kentucky, Banterra previously was saddled with a manual, paper-based processing system. Using manual processes to open accounts, cross-sell products and process deposits, the bank realized it needed to automate to save time and increase sales.

"Banterra is a locally owned financial institution with a major focus on customer service," says Jeanine Ragain, the bank's banking center coordinator. "We wanted to provide our banking service representatives [BSRs] with a faster, more efficient platform system."

After reviewing vendor proposals for much of 2002, the bank selected PRODUCT4's (St. Louis) One-Touch software system. "We chose PRODUCT4 because the company provided more options, including features we did not even consider at the beginning of our evaluation process," Ragain relates.

PRODUCT4's bank automation platform delivers banking applications across all customer touch points, including the teller, call center, ATM, kiosk or the Internet. The technology is based on Microsoft.NET and J2EE open architecture, which enables financial institutions to integrate a mix of packaged or customized applications and allows the platform to run across different environments, according to Daniel Moskowitz, president of PRODUCT4. The One-Touch deposit platform, Moskowitz says, delivers a single view of data. "This creates more efficiency and speed when dealing with the customers," Ragain points out.

Custom Fit

Though implementation of One-Touch took nearly a year to complete, the platform's open architecture allowed Banterra to integrate it without adding any hardware to the bank's infrastructure. Banterra used the time to customize the software and incorporate both standard and custom forms into the system. By March, One-Touch was up and running, and a Web server was delivering applications to tellers, BSRs and loan officers at all 24 Banterra locations.

"We spent several months developing the software. To do this, we brought one BSR from each of our locations to actively participate in the process," Ragain says. "Allowing the BSRs to customize the screen flow and make suggestions on ways to improve their job - and, in turn, improve customer service - paid big dividends."

The benefits include reduced time to open new accounts and input data into the system. "It takes between five and 15 minutes to open accounts. With our old system, this process could span between 20 and 45 minutes," Ragain notes. "The real savings come from being able to retrieve customer information from our host system," Ragain adds. "Accessed information pre-fills many of the fields, thus allowing the BSR to move quickly throughout the program." The platform also prompts BSRs to upsell different services.

Banterra now is applying platform upgrades to improve other operations. "When we first started this project, our goal was to have a faster platform system. When we saw all the capabilities the system possessed, our goal was to make everyone's job more efficient," Ragain says. "This includes not just the frontline BSRs, but also our backroom deposit operations and electronic banking division."

Snapshot

Institution: Banterra Bank (Ridgway, Ill.)

Assets: $925 million in total assets.

Business Challenge: Improve service by automating new accounts and deposits.

Solution: PRODUCT4's (St. Louis) One-Touch bank automation platform.

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