First of America Bank Corp. has completed a six-year effort to convert its 559 branch offices to common software.

The project was necessitated by an aggressive acquisition policy that has brought more than 100 bank and thrift offices into the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based banking company since 1971.

With the completion of the software conversion, First of America officials expect to realize $50 million in savings from improved operational efficiencies.

Two Million Households

The last leg of the project involved converting Champion Federal Bank, a recently acquired thrift in Illinois, to the new platform. The software now handles accounts of nearly two million households and 150,000 businesses in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.

One of the immediate benefits of a standard technology improved speed with which the $20 billion-asset First of America can introduce new banking products across its entire network.

In addition, some existing products can be introduced at branches that previously lacked the technical capabilities for them.

For example, the former Champion branches are now able to provide sophisticated First of America products like cash-management checking accounts and a rising-rate certificate of deposit.

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