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Texas Commerce Banks on Office Automation Network.

Deregulation within the banking industry, combined with increased competition from non-bank institutions, means that now, more that ever, effective customer service will be the key to banking success.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB) in Houston has established an aggressive office automation and communications network to strengthen member and correspondent-bank service capabilities. The network links individual TCB member and correspondent banks to Houston headquarters, increasing productivity and efficiency at all locations.

The system features a personal-computing capability fully integrated with TCB's central data processing and data communications network. Individual banks use off-the-shelf personal-computing software without sacrificing the superior networking or share-resource processing and storage capabilities of a full-function office automation system. Network Includes Many Features

Important features of the network include communications capabilities, several canned applications, word processing, flexible personal-computing functions and a competitive price for the hardware system. Since TCB expects to grow substantially over the next decade, another valuable aspect is the expandability of the network to fit our needs. Our investment is protected, because as member banks grow and spread geographically, we can add terminals, memory, keyboards and disk drives as needed.

To implement its office automation network, TCB selected the Series 21 distributed processing system from Mohawk Data Sciences (MDS). Presently, we're upgrading to the firm's new Super 21 communications processors, which provide more memory and processing power. These units also allow us to build more efficiently onto our exixting office automation network by adding additional data products that will further increase our office automation functionality while retaining compatibility with the banks's existing equipment.

Texas Commerce Baneshares, with 1983 assets of $19.5 billion, is one of the largest bank holding companies in the state and a leading worldwide banking institution. Our holding company consists of 65 member banks throughout Texas, plus offices in Denver, New Orleans, New York and eight foreign countries. Each member bank has its own board of directors, chairman and president, who provide direction based on the individual local market. TCB Supplies the Processors

Individual banks order communications processors directly from the TCB Data Services Group and benefit from headquarters' support in terms of price discounts, installation, training and software development. Their terminals are linked directly to TCB's host IBM 3081 and 3032 MVS mainframes via dial-up and leased phone line using a 3270 communications emulator.

Intelligent, interactive and batch communications are all available to member banks through the mds equipment. Both bisynchronous and asynchronous protocols are availble. Additionally, the network supports SDLC within TCB's implementation of its SNA network.

While most member banks utilize interactive 3270 BSC communications or SDLC, the 3780 for batch communications is also available for users when needed. In addition, an Automated Clearing House communications emulator provides a compatible interface with the Federal Reserve System.

Several member banks have installed personal computers or other minicomputer systems during the last few years. While those answered the need to automate a certain procedure, they could not share information with each other or with our host computers.

Integrated personal computing functionality is now provided to member banks through MDS' Personal Computing 21 software package, which permits the CP/M operating system for microcomputers to run under MDS' operating system. The problems associated with separate, incompatible and redundant equipment are now eliminated.

This software offers our member banks tremendous flexibility. A bank can select from thousands of CP/M packages available on the market, and can access remote host computers or local shared data bases. This capability allows the banks to tailor their software needs quickly and economically on an individual basis, rather than having TCB's corporate staff spend time and money developing specialized programs. And because user-friendly features are brought to CP/M users via our operating system, CP/M is easier for member banks to use.

Member banks can run multiple CP/M and Series 21 or Super 21 applications concurrently. Additionally, CP/M files may be easily converted to the 21s' format for further processing by standard MDS software, including utilities and communications emulators, BASIC, COBOL, Fortran and Pascal are all supported on CP/M.

For some TCB locations that will still have a PC, the Series 21 can share PC files when a CP/M "cross-talk" package is loaded into the system. Package Offers Word Processing

Word 21, MDS' word processing software package, which also provides extensive math functions, is one of that vendor's office automation software tools used by TCB's member banks. Word 21 WP Sort program allows the user to formulate lists by multiple classifications. A 30,000-word dictionary supplements the word processing package.

Plan 21, the vendor's electronic financial spreadsheet package, allows users to produce financial spreadsheets automatically and perform "what if" scenarios for financial forecasting, budgeting, modeling and planning. Some member banks use this package to prepare their own budgets prior to submission to the corporation for consolidation.

The software we have developed further enhances the system's office automation features. The available programs include Installment Loan Contracts, Credit Spreads and Officer Call Reports. These three applications were developed using Mobol (Mohawk Business Oriented Language), a high-level programming language offered by MDS.

The installment-loan-contract system replaces the manual method of calculating loan payments and typing loan contracts. The loan officer enters specific information obtained from the prospective customer, along with current interest rates, and the program automatically calculates the payment schedule. If the customer agrees to the loan terms, information pertaining to secured loans is entered on subsequent screens. After the information is entered in formatted style, the actual installment loan contract is printed, complete with proper legal wording for the customer's signature.

The credit-spread program is an automated system used to prepare a detailed credit analysis of a commercial company's financial statement. Credit spreading is a method whereby certain financial-statement accounts are reclassified to determine the value of a business in a liquidation situation. Some of our banks previously used an outside third-party EDP source to run their credit spreads. Pthers had the credit department at TCB-Houston run the spreads using the TSO on the mainframe.

Now credit spreads can be performed right in the banks' own offices. What took a credit analyst three to four hours to complete now takes only 10 minutes. The 18-page credit-spread report produced from the system is self-explanatory, uniform, clear and concise. The calculations are precise and accurage, and an improvement over the manual method, where human error was always a factor. Our banks now realize substantial savings in terms of time and money. Program Serves Marketing Aims

The officer-call program provides an automated system for recording and updating data on current and prospective customers. It functions as an effective marketing aid for bank officers as they plan and schedule their customer and prospect calls.

Using standardized customer-information formats the standardized customer-information formats, the officer or secretary quickly enters or retrieves pertinent customer or prospect data such as name, contact person and competitor information--all easily updated, corrected or deleted. Programs-generated reports provide a "tickler file" that tracks the status of calls. Field reports provide current information before and during the call, and are convenient to use for updating the master file when the officer returns from a call.

Customer lists can be generated by specific criteria such as zip Code, type, officer, competitor, rating, city or state. The officer-call program also allows bank personnel to create a name-and-address file from customer information to be used by the word processing system for a variety of mailings.

Through their processors, member banks can also access TCB's Customer Information Files system stored on a mainframe at corporate headquarters. We are currently developing additional software packages, such as a commercial loan application (similar to the installment-loan system), a real estate loan reporting application and a safe deposit box billing and accounting system.

The data processing philosophy of Texas Commerce Bank does not support technological expansion for its own sake, but it does support aggressive use of technology as a tool for reducing cost and increasing productivity. The implementation of an office automation network has been a sound investment, one that equips us for continued growth while enabling us to remain a competitive leader in the banking industry.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Kuenemann, W.B.
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jun 1, 1984
Words:1354
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