November 01, 2006

Executives at KeyBank (Cleveland), which has 963 locations in 13 states and two foreign countries, continually focus on existing branch performance as well as optimizing new branch operations. But while KeyBank ($91 billion in assets) always has examined its branch data internally, the in-house analysis of the third-party data it received was time-consuming, relates Karen Hofer, VP and branch channel manager. So in 2004, executives at the financial institution decided they needed a new system for conducting branch analysis.

"We were looking for expansion opportunities, relocation information, how to assess the market and optimize our position," says Hofer. During its four-month search for a solution, KeyBank evaluated four or five vendors and conducted three-month pilot programs with two of the companies' solutions, including Troy, N.Y.-based MapInfo's WinSITE market simulation modeling tool.

A Winning Solution

KeyBank selected WinSITE in spring 2005. "The underlying data sources that MapInfo has sets them apart," says Hofer, who explains that WinSITE allows the bank to project the effect of changes to its branch network, including the opening, closing or relocation of an office.

To customize the solution for KeyBank's requirements, MapInfo performed branch surveys in all of the bank's markets and developed individual market databases. The data set on which WinSITE runs consists of more than 10 million retail accounts, according to Courtney Elmore, MapInfo marketing manager, communications and financial services. Using KeyBank's own unique business strategy, MapInfo combines demographic, geographic and customer transaction data along with extensive consumer behavior models to provide answers to KeyBank executives in a desktop application.

"The biggest piece is the smart decision-making tool," KeyBank's Hofer says. "You can describe what you are looking to do in terms of gaining deposits, loans, etc. Then they analyze your facilities against those in the market, and the tool will say where you should put branches to hit your financial goals. It also recommends relocations and repositioning of branches."

"But that's just the sexy part of the software," Hofer adds. The bank uses the WinSITE system most often for helping with day-to-day decisions, such as adding/removing auto tellers and drive-up ATMs, increasing/decreasing hours of operation, and lease renewal decisions, she relates.

Delivery of the custom databases took about six months, and complete rollout of the WinSITE tool to KeyBank's staff, including training, took about six months, Hofer adds, noting that the implementation of market strategies was fully complete by May 2006. MapInfo installed the software and provided the training. KeyBank did not need to purchase any additional hardware to support the implementation. According to MapInfo, the minimum requirements to run WinSITE include Windows 2000 or Windows XP, Microsoft Office, 512 MB RAM and a CD-ROM drive.

Based on recommendations from the WinSITE system, KeyBank has consolidated several branch locations. "The tool is fabulous at identifying potential acquisition opportunities," Hofer says. "The feedback we have received has been very favorable." But Hofer doesn't expect to see the full results for another three years, as branch decisions tend to have a longer-term impact.

Hofer says she is most impressed by the level of support she receives from MapInfo. Perhaps it has to do with the staff's level of expertise -- most of the MapInfo staff members on the financial services side of the business are former bankers, according to the vendor's Elmore .

Channel Performance

** Institution: KeyBank (Cleveland).

** Assets: $91 billion.

** Business Challenge: Formalize branching strategy.

** Solution: MapInfo's (Troy, N.Y.) WinSITE market simulation modeling tool.