Lending System Is Part of an Effort to Challenge IBM

NEW ORLEANS - Microsoft Corp., continuing to do battle against International Business Machines Corp.'s preeminence in banking software, announced the progress of its banking initiatives at the American Bankers Association's technology conference here.

Through alliances with banking system providers, Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., is trying to fulfill a previously intention to set software standards for the banking industry.

In a booth at the ABA's national operations and automation conference BancA Corp. and Micro/Resources Inc. demonstrated a commercial lending system they have been developing with Microsoft and Andersen Consulting.

Commercial Loan System

Called Solutions for Commercial Banking, the system will allow bankers to originate, track, and evaluate the profitability of commercial loans from a single workstation.

The consortium has started marketing the system in its initial version. PNC Bank Corp. and Michigan National Bank have installed the software, which handles functions that IBM Corp. had hoped its failed project, Officer Workbench, would perform.

Microsoft also demonstrated new software that would enable bankers to change or upgrade the retail banking systems in hundreds of branches from a central location.

Windows NT

This software runs on the new operating system, Windows NT, which Microsoft unveiled Monday at a computer industry conference in Atlanta.

Windows NT, which is slated for availability in July, is designed to run on networks of personal computers and is expected to be stiff competition for IBM's OS/2 operating system.

Microsoft chairman William Gates said the company has spent $150 million on the long-awaited software, and predicted that more than 3,000 packages designed for it would be released in the next six to 12 months.

Major Presence at Conference

This is the second year that Microsoft has had a major presence at the ABA operations conference. Twenty bank software suppliers are demonstrating their software, running on the Microsoft Windows operating system, in a Microsoft exhibit.

At last year's conference, Microsoft announced an alliance with 10 retail banking system suppliers. The goal was to create standards that would make it easier for bankers to move software from mainframes to personal computers, or from one vendor's equipment to the equipment of another.

Microsoft said Monday that it has completed the first phase of the retail project and expects to have software available in the fall that will allow bank software vendors to use the standards.

This would, for example, allow a teller to open a cash drawer by using the Windows operating system.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.