February 21, 2008

Related articles:

Exclusive TowerGroup Research Report: Bank Tech Spending in 2008

Fifth Third Bank Uses Efficiency to Fund New Projects

Even though Delaware County Bank & Trust's 2008 technology budget is relatively flat over 2007's budget, SVP of operations Brian Stanfill explains that the Lewis Center, Ohio-based bank's 2007 budget was up significantly from prior years. According to Stanfill, several major initiatives caused the budget spike in 2007.

In addiiton to replacing the bank's mid-range hardware platform last year, Delaware County Bank & Trust continued its branch replacement project in 2007. The ongoing initiative aims to shutter old facilities in favor of building new branches that provide customers with more convenience, such as no-envelope, image-enabled ATMs; in-branch LCD screens; and display screens for drive-thru lanes, Stanfill relates. The drive-thru screens, which are controlled by servers accessed by the bank's corporate marketing department, are used to advertise products and services, he explains. "If most of your traffic is at the drive-thru, you need to have the same type of marketing capabilities you have within the branch," Stanfill says.

Following those major spends in 2007, however, Delaware County Bank & Trust's ($680 million in assets) 2008 IT budget is skewed toward maintenance rather than new technology, according to Stanfill. "We've got a lot of good systems out there that we need to keep running," he says. "As a community bank, we don't [typically] work on multimillion dollar projects -- we push ourselves to run IT simply and economically."

One of the largest ongoing monetary investments for the bank, however, is its move toward real-time banking. "Real-time banking is not a common occurrence in community banks, and it's pretty challenging to implement," Stanfill comments. "Our definition of real-time banking is to have the same balance across all delivery channels, whether voice response unit, Internet banking, ATM or the branch. We've allocated significant dollars to this initiative."

Stanfill notes that Delaware County Bank & Trust updated its risk management and compliance capabilities several years ago. Although the bank continues to tweak these capabilities, it won't allocate much spend to these areas in 2008, he says, adding that he doesn't expect any significant shifts in IT spending this year or next.