North Side Bank and Trust Co. has signed a contract with Dallas-based Perot Systems for its Pro-BanX system, a core banking application that operates in a client-server environment.

The $100 million-asset community bank had previously handled its data processing under an outsourcing agreement with PNC Corp.

According to Mark Ramirez, Pro-BanX marketing director, the Cincinnati-based bank chose to bring its data processing in-house as part of a long-term plan to provide customers with products and bank employees with tools that are more flexible.

Another important consideration was that fact that Pro-BanX operates in an open systems environment, thus allowing the bank not to be dependent on one vendor for all its product solutions.

North Side, for example, will eliminate the use of microfiche and excess printing by using an optical disk solution developed by Proformance, an optical storage systems integrator based in Houston. Under the agreement, Perot Systems will provide project planning for conversion from the present system as well as training, installation support, and continuing maintenance support. Unlike other vendors that convert overnight, Perot consultants perform a mock conversion before going live on the new system.

"We have the tool sets that allow us to go in and simulate a live environment before the bank switches over," explained Mr. Ramirez. "That way we can check everything thoroughly and make any necessary enhancements or adjustments," he added.

North Side will be fully converted to the new system next February.

Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.

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