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NationsBank Midwest online with model bank

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by Paul Flemming

SBJ Staff

In a 30-day period in June and July, 2,500 workstations in all the NationsBank Midwest banking centers almost the entire former Boatmen's Bank system went online with the model bank system of the North Carolina-based financial firm.

"Nothing was left to chance" in the 18-month project, said Patricia Mercurio, senior vice president for NationsBank. She said, now that the rollout is complete, the biggest compliment she received was that the process was a non-event.

The computer program is a key in NationsBank's strategy.

"It's a way of doing business, to offer a consistent customer experience throughout the country," Mercurio said.

The project began with six months of assessing the gaps in the former Boatmen's systems and determining how those would be filled by the introduction of NationsBank technology. Then a year of programming and employee training followed to prepare for the big change.

Mercurio said each employee received 60 hours of training on the new system. The training was largely self-led in the easy-to-follow, graphical-user-interface program. Three training coaches were assigned to each banking center to assist in the training.

Julie Shea, a consumer banking representative at NationsBank's Park Central Square bank, said the model bank makes business easy for customers and employees alike.

"Before, I'd have to manually fill out a loan application" on paper and turn the application in to a loan committee, Shea said. Now, the application's questions are prompted by the program and submitted electronically for approval.

"Once entered, it will give an automatic credit bureau score within minutes. It walks you through the whole process and a customer can be out the door within the hour, check in hand."

Available in the program are all accounts information and options for other products available to customers. Shea and Mercurio said the program is advantageous for customers to have a single point for all their accounts' information, and it helps bankers easily offer NationsBank products.

The computer program can run scenarios on such things as mortgage refinancing, paying for education costs or planning retirement.

"All consumer bankers make loans now," said Steve Burch, senior banking executive. The model bank technology "makes it easier to address the needs of the customer."

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