PNC Bank Corp. can't get enough of Lotus Notes.

"It's more than messaging," said PNC's James P. Mikula of the electronic mail and workflow software from Lotus Development Corp., now owned by International Business Machines Corp. The senior vice president and chief information officer of corporate banking said Notes "provides the fundamental underpinning to many of the corporate bank's business process improvements."

Lotus has 29 million users of Notes worldwide, many of them at banks. At PNC, Notes supports "workflow, security, document management, imaging, knowledge management, electronic signatures and data base management," Mr. Mikula said.

Before using Notes, PNC had an IBM mainframe product called Office Vision for e-mail. But the banking company wanted an e-mail messaging infrastructure that could be used more widely, Mr. Mikula said. Now 13,000 of PNC's 26,000 employees are using the Lotus Notes messaging framework.

PNC's corporate bank is using Lotus Notes to support communication over Internet protocols between the bank's capital markets division and investors, clients, and legal advisers.

An application called Lotus Domino Internet hosts deal management software from a two-year-old New York-based company, IntraLinks Inc. The software sends details about deals, such as loan syndications and private placements, over the Internet to all involved parties, reducing distribution costs by as much as 25%.

PNC Capital Markets Inc. was IntraLink's first client to carry out a municipal bond offering over the Internet. Since the summer PNC has closed 12 municipal deals for $1.2 billion over the Internet, Mr. Mikula said.

PNC is also using Lotus Notes as the interface for a question-and-answer form querying clients on their progress in complying with year-2000 computer upgrades. Responses enable PNC to categorize customers by risk and better determine whether to end a relationship.

PNC has also shortened its credit approval process with an electronic workflow program based on Lotus Notes. PNC indexes loans on-line using Notes, a custom-built application that has been named the 1999 ComputerWorld Smithsonian laureate.

In treasury management, PNC is using Notes to develop an Internet-based customer service center. The Notes data base will provide an on-line record for tracking and managing customer issues.

PNC reduced the cost of training 800 employees on new commercial lending software with Lotus LearningSpace, which supports self-directed computer- based training.

The cost-$200 per participant per course-was significantly less than the alternative of expanding eight corporate training facilities that accommodate only 96 people in all.

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