If the average bank's divisional credit officers were one day magically combined and became its chief financial officer, the connections between an individual credit decision and the bank's risk management criteria would be clear. This being the real world, however, the connections are often necessarily obscure to both-and harder to explain. How wonderful, then, if one system could explain it all, in terms both sides could understand.

This-somewhat exaggerated-is the promise of Fair, Isaac and Co.'s $46 million acquisition of Berkeley, CA-based Risk Management Technologies (RMT). By creating the prospect of connecting the micro-view credit scoring capabilities of Fair, Isaac to the macro-view, enterprisewide risk management abilities of RMT-enterprisewide being a greatly misused term that happens to be most fitting in RMT's case-banks can get a handle on their portfolios that has previously eluded most of them.

In fairness to these mythical bank officers, their roles in life keep them from understanding each other, much as Churchill characterized Britons and Americans as "two great people, divided by a common language;" credit officers are judged by production, CFOs by their default rates, but the latter is implicit in the former.

Thus the beauty of the Fair, Isaac-RMT combination, affording a means to understand how every loan affects the risk profile of the bank. Potentially, the effect of this combination should affect risk management generally. "It's a perfect fit for both of us," says H. Robert Heller, the Fair, Isaac evp who laid the foundation of the deal. "(RMT CEO) Dave LaCross is coming in from the market risk (side), we're coming in from credit risk, and there isn't anyone out there that can provide a client a view of their own operations that we together can." A.Reinbach

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