As part of an effort to make better use of capital, many banks are moving for the first time to computer systems that help manage risk across the entire institution.

The new systems - called "enterprisewide risk management systems" in a report by the Tower Group - differ from traditional interest rate risk or asset-liability management systems. They cover a broader spectrum of market and credit risks and provide detailed analysis over longer periods. The risk management software used by most banks today is a front-office package that supports intraday decision-making.

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