Bankers Favor Technology Optimization Over New Solutions, Abound Resources Study Reveals

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Frustrated and overwhelmed managers of community financial institutions (CFIs) would rather optimize existing technology than take on new solutions and new systems, according to a survey by Abound Resources, Inc. (http://www.aboundresources.com) of Austin, a member of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas.

Frustrated and overwhelmed managers of community financial institutions (CFIs) would rather optimize existing technology than take on new solutions and new systems, according to a survey by Abound Resources, Inc. (http://www.aboundresources.com) of Austin, a member of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas.

Fully 91% of the IBAT members who responded to the in-depth survey this spring indicated they want greater optimization of their technology resources. IBAT represents the views of 500+ community banks – independently owned and operated financial institutions with combined assets of more than $96 billion.

"Technology choices and challenges are of growing importance to Texas community banks," explained Chris Williston, IBAT president. "The survey conducted by Abound Resources, Inc. helps to highlight those concerns and directions taken by our members."

“Regulatory pressures, customer and competitive demands, broken vendor promises and over-hyped solutions have taken their toll on financial institutions,” says Brad Smith, President of Abound Resources and a 15-year community bank technology consulting veteran. (Photo: http://www.aboundresources.com/smithpicture.jpg)

“The result is an ever-growing, complex and expensive technology infrastructure that takes more resources to manage than most bankers ever expected. After years of seeking solutions using new technology, community bankers have decided to look at a different approach to solving their problems – optimizing existing technology before bringing in new systems,” Smith observed.

“Although technology costs have grown to be the second-largest non-interest expense for CFIs, technology utilization has dropped to less than 50%, and the IT regulatory burden is requiring many more resources,” Smith noted. “The number of tech vendors and products in many CFIs has tripled or quadrupled in the past decade, without the internal staff growing much,” he added.

The researchers report that the CFIs, regardless of their asset size, pointed out four key challenges in optimizing existing technology. They are how to…

  • Get full utilization of existing technology;
  • Control technology costs while staying current and using technology in a cost effective way;
  • Deal more efficiently with IT regulations and compliance;
  • Improve employee technology education and training.

Additional findings disclosed by the survey, include:

-67% of respondents do not take full advantage of technology they already own;

-64% want to save money on information technology;

-83% think IT regulations are overly burdensome, and 63% believe they spend too much time preparing for and responding to examiners;

-63% said that technology management and oversight occupy too much of their time.

“The results indicate that the top spending priorities also are driven by utilization, cost savings and regulatory compliance concerns, with the top four spending priorities being Internet banking; imaging documents and statements; security, and compliance with the Checking for the 21st Century Act or 'Check 21',” Smith emphasized.

NOTE: An eight-page summary of the study is available at no cost at the following URL:

http://www.aboundresources.com/form/abound_ibat_white_paper.htm

The summary contains analysis of the results, touching on utilization, spending and regulatory issues and a strategy to manage them, as well as a framework for improving technology optimization and training regardless of the size of the IT department at the financial institution.

Abound Resources, in an effort to educate the financial community on the concept and benefits of technology optimization, has developed a free “Technology Optimization How-To Kit” for bankers only. It can be obtained by calling 512-231-1750, Ext. 1700 or going to URL: http://www.aboundresources.com/technology-optimization-kit-offer.htm

About IBAT:

Formed in 1974, IBAT represents the views of 500+ community banks – independently owned and operated financial institutions with combined assets of more than $96 billion. IBAT's membership also includes more than150 corporate entities with ties to the financial services industry.

About Abound Resources (strategic technology support)

Abound Resources, Inc. of Austin, Texas, offers the first affordable, unbiased technology support solution for community financial institutions. The firm helps community bankers maximize their existing technology, make the best purchase decisions, manage the IT regulatory burden, and save time and money. Its innovative, web-based technology support system allows it to provide strategic, customized support at an unparalleled price point. Breakthrough products include ClickSupport™ and ProjectSupport™. http://www.aboundresources.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR INTERVIEWS:

Jacque Chrisman, The Chrisman Group, Austin TX, 512-345-8969

Brad Smith, President, Abound Resources, Inc., 13740 Research Blvd., Ste. 3, Bldg. S, Austin, TX 78750, 512-231-1750 ext. 1102

Mary E. Lange, CAE,    Independent Bankers Assn. of Texas, 1700 Rio Grande, Austin, TX 78701, 512-474-6889 or 800-749-4228

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Jacque Chrisman
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