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E-forms via E-mail save time, money for bank and S&L.

As office automation specialist at the Bank of Oklahoma, Georgia Currie had a big problem: How could the bank's 14 branches stay in touch with headquarters and with one another?

The answer? Electronic mail.

"We set out to solve one communication problem--sending and receiving messages," says Currie. "When we did, we solved a host of other, smaller problems."

For example, when an employee at one branch needs to contact another employee, he or she now accesses the bank's first electronic bulletin board, the Interbank Phone Directory.

"The hard-copy directory had always been an administrative nightmare. With over 1,200 employees in 15 locations, staying up-to-date was nearly impossible. That problem has simply disappeared."

Building upon their success with the directory, Currie and her colleagues turned their attention to deposit-account/time-deposit rates and prime-rate changes.

First thing each morning, bank officers view a bulletin board reflecting new interest rates. If the prime rate changes, a broadcast message is sent to alert bank personnel. The prime-rate changes are then filed in the same bulletin board as the deposit-accounting/time-deposit rate changes.

"That way," says Currie, "the branches begin the day with the same information we have at the main bank."

In Oakland, the World Savings and Loan Association puts E-mail to heavy use in its loan-processing departments.

"Our most critical use," says Vice President Debra Richardson, "is transmitting rate-changing information quickly and efficiently between the main branch and 70 field offices."

A multi-state operation, World Savings and Loan also finds E-mail an efficient way to alert personnel to procedural changes.

"When policy and procedure manuals are revised," says Richardson, "we notify field offices of the changes and new effective dates. And when we modify our loan-processing system, we can inform employees that a particular data-entry procedure has been changed or a computer screen has been updated."

But for the banking industry, E-forms may be electronic mail's most attractive feature.

"If you think about it," says Currie, "there aren't many forms that can't be converted to electronic versions. Anything that doesn't require a signature is a prime candidate."

Recently, Currie combined E-forms and SYSM's tickler feature, giving both a twist unique to banking.

"Uniform Commercial Code financing statements come up for renewal-every five years," she explains. "Instead of tracking them manually, we fill out an electronic form, then post-date the form. Five months before the statement comes due, it appears on the senior collateral clerk's screen as an E-mail message. The statements are then routed to the bank officer responsible for renewal."

Both the Bank of Oklahoma and the World Savings and Loan Association use the same E-mail system: SYSM, from H&W Computer Systems of Boise, Idaho.

"Connecting PC users to the system seems a logical next step," says Currie, who acknowledges that the Bank of Oklahoma has only scratched the surface of E-mail's capabilities.

"E-forms offered a good place to start," she says. "Now I'm eager to see what other uses the banking industry might find for E-mail.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Electronic Messaging; The Bank of Oklahoma; The World Savings and Loans Association
Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1991
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