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January 31, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Pending formal board consent, the National Westminster Bank Plc has now confirmed that it will allocate UKP3,000m over the next five years to updating its systems and software programs (CI No 1,103). In addition to an unspecified hardware contract, a full scale conversion to DB2 appears to leave IBM the main beneficiary. A second large contract goes to Logica Plc, selected to help the bank rewrite its software. Access to the banks’ current systems is gained via account number; post-update, the number two British clearing bankintends to use customer name as its point of entry. Overall, NatWest believes that the new relational-based systems will emphasise the total service available to customers – an oblique reference to the pressure now applied to banks by the increasing range of services offered by high street building societies. If all goes to plan, the bank expects some 21,000 visual display units to have been installed in UK branches by the end of this year.

It claims that under test conditions, a sub-three second response time to 98% of standard enquiries has been recorded on the new equipment. Speeding up query procedures will also enable branch staff to spend more time helping the customer, a spokesman added. The update will also involve establishing a third computer centre at Stone in Staffordshire, while plans to establish a fourth centre are believed to be at an advanced stage. Existing computer centres are in London and Kegworth. Capital expenditure will cover UKP1,200m of the update costs, while the UKP1,800m balance, destined for new facilities, will be raised through revenue.

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