The days of struggling with your core system are over. Modern banks are adopting comprehensive bank management systems to supplement the core and make it easier for all staff members to perform their daily functions. Simply put, a bank management system is an enterprise solution that consolidates information across the bank, then provides workflow and other vertical solutions in a single, intuitive platform. But how does a bank know if they truly need a bank management system? If your bank is guilty of one or more of the following, it’s a good indicator that it’s time to implement one.
- Using Word or Excel to store critical information
We all use word processors and spreadsheets in our daily jobs. But banks cross a dangerous line when they begin storing critical information in these tools. Examples include using Word or Excel for credit administration “line–sheets” or loan/asset reviews. Spreadsheets are tempting to use for capturing loan information and calculations that don’t have a home in the core or elsewhere, but they have serious drawbacks that can leave your bank struggling. Modern bank management systems like BankPoint are designed to eliminate the use of spreadsheets for storing critical information off-line.
- Storing files in local drive or shared drive
Is your bank storing sensitive files in a shared drive, or worse, a local hard drive? By sensitive files, we mean anything containing information on loans, deposits, customers, or transactions, as well as imaged documents. In our analysis of banks’ data storage architecture, it’s common for us to discover files containing sensitive information (especially imaged documents) on shared drives (sometimes labeled “s: drive,” etc.). Why are banks using shared drives to store sensitive data? Usually, because they don’t know where else to put it. That’s one reason bank management systems exist – to provide a home for data and documents that don’t have a natural home elsewhere.
- Renaming files based on date
When is the last time you opened a spreadsheet containing critical information, then saved it as a different name with the date? This common usage pattern is another warning sign that you are misusing spreadsheets. Information that changes over time (such as an annual loan review or appraisals) should be managed in a system that is smart enough to manage versions. A sound bank management system will have this capability built in.
- Emailing documents for approval
If your bank is still using email to approve documents, such as risk rating changes, it’s time to considering implementing a bank management system. While email is simple and straight forward, there’s no easy way to see the audit trail in a single location, and there’s no way to guarantee that your credit policy is being followed. By using a bank management system, you can automatically enforce the credit policy via configurable workflows that are repeatable and consistent, while showing the audit trail in a single screen.
- Having multiple systems open at once
Ask yourself, in the course of a day, how many different systems you have open on your desktop. If you find yourself switching between three or more systems regularly, that’s a sign that information is scattered across various systems. A well-designed bank management system can significantly minimize the number of systems you have open by consolidating data into a single, easy to read platform, reducing desktop clutter, and streamlining your daily workflow.
- Lots of copy/pasting
Do you find yourself copying information from one system to another regularly? Perhaps you are copying loan balances from the core system into a spreadsheet or another system. Manual copying and pasting is a reliable indicator that your systems are not well integrated, and a bank management system may be in order.
- Unable to clearly identify the system of record
Every critical data element should have a single system of record, even though it may appear in multiple systems. Does everyone in the bank know the system of record for appraisals? What about risk ratings? Often the answer is “the core system,” but if these values are being updated and managed outside of the core, there’s a good chance the core is a secondary home that is only updated after the proper signoffs have occurred. Bank management systems with approval workflows and audit trails may be a more appropriate system of record that is controlled and published for all to see (including auditors and examiners).
While bank management systems are not a panacea for all problems in a bank, they can fill in critical gaps between the core system and other processes. If the warning signs above are prevalent in your bank, we strongly encourage you to explore the adoption of a bank management system like BankPoint. The benefits will far outweigh the associated time and expense for years to come.