LOS ANGELES -- As part of its pending merger, BankAmerica Corp. announced plans to scrap a number of key Security Pacific Corp. retail and wholesale banking systems in favor of its own technology.

Bank of America's proprietary automated teller machine network, Versatel, and its recently installed Customer On-Line Information Network (Coin), which automates the bank's California retail branches, have been selected for use by the merged institution, according to an employee newsletter.

The merged institution also will use BankAmerica's systems for lending and credit card and check processing functions for the California retail system.

Linking Systems Tricky

But the selection is the easy part. After the merger comes the difficult and expensive task of converting software that will meshing the two giant banks' back office together.

"It is a big job, but not impossible. The tools to do this are reasonably well-developed," said Howard Schwartz, a senior vice president at the MAC Group/Gemini, a Cambridge, Mass., consulting firm.

"We chose the systems that can be merged as quickly and inexpensively as possible," Martin Stein, executive vice president and the merged bank's new technology chief, said in the newsletter.

The Coin system, which has put 20,000 International Business Machine personal computers into Bank of America's California branches, has been touted by technology analysts as state-of-the-art.

By using high-powered PCs and sophisticated communications software, Coin gives tellers and platform personnel access to a customer's entire account relationship with the bank. The PCs can also perform processing functions that were once the dominion of expensive mainframe computers.

Some analysts estimate that it cost as muct as $100 million to install Coil in the bank's 1,300 branches, so converting Security Pacific branches to the system will not be cheap.

Consultants said Security Pacific has dumb terminals in its branches that depend on a centralized mainframes. Security Pacific officials declined to provide any information regarding their branch automation equipment.

Bank of America operates more than 2,200 Versateller ATMs, most of which were manufactured by InterBold, a joint venture of Diebold Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. Security Pacific has slightly less than 2,000 cash machines from InterBold and NCR Corp., according to Bank Network News, an industry newsletter.

On the wholesale side, the merged institution will use Bank of America's global banking system. It will also use Security Pacific's money transfer system for wholesale activities. The new company will use Bank of America's general ledger system and Security Pacific's flexible benefits system.

The sites of major data processing equipment have been identified, but not yet announced. Most personnel decisions have not yet been made, according to the employee bulleting.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.