Deals in Mexico and Honduras Part of Vendor's Plans to Sell Globally

As part of a long-term plan to expand globally, Fiserv Inc. has signed agreements to install Spanish-language versions of its commercial banking software in two Latin American banks.

Grupo Financiero Margen in Monterey, Mexico, and Bancahsa, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will both be installing Fiserv's International Comprehensive Banking System software. The system runs on AS/400 midrange computers from International Business Machines Corp.

From North to South

These institutions represent Milwaukee-based Fiserv's third and fourth forays into Latin America. Last year, the company signed software deals with Finalvez and Valin Bank in Caracas, Venezuela, and Provensa in Bogota, Columbia.

"Our plan is to target the northern tier of this region, countries like Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, and Honduras," said Rick Durant, Fiserv managing director. "Then we hope to expand south."

Mr. Durant said that Fiserv seeks to establish "anchor" clients in these regions much in the same way it did in Europe and in the Far East. "We first moved into the United Kingdom in 1988, working with banks we viewed as anchors and then expanded into Europe from there," he said. "In 1990, we began operating in Singapore in the same fashion. Now our next steps are in Latin America."

At Bancahsa, which has $170 million of assets and is the second largest bank in Honduras, the Fiserv installation is the technology component of a bankwide reengineering effort.

Technologically in the Lead

According to Mr. Durant, Bancahsa is already using an AS/400 but had trouble programming the system to do little more than automate manual tasks.

With the Fiserv system, Bancahsa will be able to provide deposit and loan accounting, as well as financial accounting and reporting. "Bancahsa is looked at as a leader in Honduras," said Mr. Durant, adding that the new system will give the bank capabilities never before seen in that country.

For the first time, Bancahsa customers will be able to get all their various account information in one statement and bank employees will begin using an integrated customer data base to determine the total bank relationship with a particular client.

Mr. Durant also said that Bancahsa plans to launch a series of cash management products for small businesses and wealthy individuals.

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