Bank of America is completing the installation of a risk-processing system that officials expect will improve the bank's indirect lending operations.

The bank will use the MP-100 Risk Processor, from Appro Systems Inc., to process credit applications from a multistate car dealer network in the Southwest.

Specifically designed for dealer finance operations, the system streamlines the processing of credit applications with automation, said Appro officials.

An artificial intelligence feature stores a bank's credit policies, and determines the credit worthiness of applicants based on these rules.

The system can be programmed to flag applications for as many as 800 details. It can also control the work flow of applications by automatically routing them to analysts for further scrutiny.

According to Trey Warren, project manager at Appro Systems, the program is flexible enough to handle different kinds of credit applications and policies.

When a decision is made to modify an institution's credit policy, it can be done without the need for software rewrites and down-time, Mr. Warren said.

The DOS-based program, which runs on networks, streamlines the credit-evaluation process because it eliminates the use of paper, Mr. Warren said.

A bank can set up a central processing site, and as applications come in on paper, enter the information into the system. The paper trail ends there, he said.

Electronic processing also enables analysts to quickly pull up files by applicants' names, he said.

Quick and efficient processing is important in this highly competitive niche within the financial services industry, said Craig Uffman, vice president at Appro Systems.

"Those banks that can get the dealer an answer back first are the banks that get the loan," he said.

Banks are trying to grow the indirect lending area because lt's lucrative, said Mr. Uffman.

"A typical branch might do two to three credit applications a day," he said. "With a centralized dealer finance operation, a bank can do several thousand applications a day ."

Appro Systems, based in Baton Rouge, La., makes a family of credit-assessment products that are used by more than 55 financial institutions, including Crestar Bank in Washington and Premier Bank in Baton Rouge.

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