Seafirst Bank has installed a new teller system that ties in 70 branches the bank acquired when its parent, BankAmerica Corp., merged with Security Pacific Corp.

The new teller system, from ISC-Bunker Ramo, Spokane, Wash., will eventually be installed in all of Seafirst's branches, bank officials said.

Seafirst Bank is Washington State's largest bank, with assets of $15.3 billion.

After BankAmerica acquired Security Pacific earlier this year, Seafirst was charged with absorbing half of the former Security Pacific branches in Washington.

The remainder were sold to satisfy antitrust concerns of the Justice Department.

Smooth Transition Required

According to Bill Anderson, senior vice president and manager of technology services at Seafirst, his bank was faced with the challenge of integrating the new branches without disrupting current procedures and customer service.

To achieve this goal. Seafirst decided to build a bridge to the branches' existing teller systems, because the bank didn't have enough equipment to extend the technology it was already using.

"Our existing system is 15 years old," Mr. Anderson said. "Although the functionality is superb the hardware is obsolete."

Existing System Cloned

In order to build a teller platform that emulates its existing technology, Seafirst hired ISC-Bunker Ramo, whose branch automation equipment is installed in about 2,500 institutions worldwide.

Its parent company, Italy's Ing. C. Olivetti & Co., is Europe's leading supplier of banking equipment.

Using its Pinnacle Plus integrated branch automation tools, ISC Bunker-Ramo created a clone of Seafirst's existing system.

Running at All Branches

Seafirst began deployment of the new Pinnacle Plus-based system seven months ago. Today it is up and running in all the former Security Pacific branches.

Mr. Anderson indicated that in addition to duplicating the functionality of Seafirst's system, the new system has improved on it.

For example, response time in processing teller transactions is more than a second faster per item. "With over 1.5 million transactions a day, that adds up to a lot," Mr. Anderson said.

Because the ISC-Bunker Ramo system offers more computing capacity and data storage capabilities, Seafirst officials plan to migrate it into the 190 remaining Seafirst branches over the next 18 months.

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