Let's be frank: 2009 was not the year that most community banks undertook groundbreaking technology projects. Rather, projects that focused on increasing efficiency or wresting cost savings out of existing technologies and contracts found themselves at the top of most CIOs' to-do list.

In Bank Technology News' annual ranking of the Top Community Bank IT projects we found some great examples of this. Fauquier Bank bank has seen its processing costs cut by seven percent by changing core vendors, and expects to see associated EFT/ATM income increase by five percent this year. Circle Bank of Novato, CA estimates it added 20 minutes of additional productive time to each employee's day with the introduction of an HR portal. The State Bank in LaJunta, CO engaged more new business customers in two weeks than it had in the previous two years after negotiating an investment-free partnership with Bling Nation, and Hampden Bank of Springfield, MA shook things up with a teller capture system that cuts keystrokes by 80 percent and estimates annual cost savings at just under $60k. And, perhaps the most innovative solution BTN considered, Union Savings Bank of Danbury, CT cut its fraud losses 90 percent in one year with a program that included a new biometric video surveillance system integrated into its Fiserv teller system.

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