CCS to Unveil Card Software For Community Banks' Use

Revolving Credit Solutions Inc., a division of one of the nation's largest suppliers of credit card processing software, was scheduled to announce today new card software for community bankers.

The software, to be introduced at the American Bankers Association Bank Card Conference in Dallas, is a scaled-down version of the popular main-frame package from CCS Technology Group, Maitland, Fla. CCS was formerly known as Credit Card Software Group.

The new software runs on an AS/400 midrange computer from International Business Machines Corp.

For a growing number of community banks, the AS/400 has become a viable alternative to expensive mainframe computers or service bureau arrangements. In an effort to expand the market for the product, IBM last week announced the AS/400 D2 model, which costs $12,000.

The upshot of these two announcements is that smaller financial institutions can now begin processing their own credit card portfolios for under $75,000, hardware included. In recent years, the high cost of processing credit card transactions had forced many community banks to either farm out their processing to a third party or sell their portfolios altogether.

"It's no secret that there is a grass roots movement away from the mainframe," said David Patterson, a vice president in charge of banking services at Revolving Credit Solutions, which is also located in Maitland, Fla. "With software on the AS/400, you don't generally need a programmer or systems support group, and that is good news for the smaller banks."

The Revolving Credit Solutions software, CardPac/400, was first installed at Mechanics Bank of Hercules, in Hercules, Cal., which maintains a card portfolio of 38,000 accounts.

But company officials and industry observers have said the package can be cost-effective for an institution processing as few as 500 to 1,000 accounts.

The system enables users to open new credit card accounts, provide account service, manage billing and collections, and analyze their portfolios.

Revolving Credit handles all training and maintenance related to the new software, including updates to keep users current with federal compliance laws and with changing requirements from credit card issuers such as Visa and MasterCard.

IBM officials expect a host of new applications - in addition to the software from Revolving Credit Solutions - for their new AS/400 to be hitting the market within the next year.

In conjunction with their new AS/400, IBM will offer a "plug-in" mortgage loan processing system from ALE Systems, Richmond, Va. With an AS/400 D2 model and a software package that has been preloaded into the system by IBM, a customer can begin running the mortgage processing application 10 minutes after installing the system.

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