Lloyds TSB Group in London has begun installing a package it bought for $24 million from Chordiant Software Inc. as part of an initiative to improve customer relationship management.

The new system will let customers gain access to updated, real-time account information in any banking channel they use - branch, Internet, call center, etc.

In giving customers new ways to do their banking - wireless devices and digital television are next on Lloyds TSB's list - banks have struggled to get account data from all these channels on the same page, so to speak.

"We need to build systems that will give customers individual treatment" and foster loyalty, said Derek Andrews, director of IT development at Lloyds.

Lloyds expects to complete installation of the core Chordiant infrastructure in early 2001 and plans to then add other customer relationship management software packages. It has signed a contract with Prime Response Inc. in Boston to help it generate customer leads and develop its campaign management program.

"Customer relationship management touches so many parts of our organization that it was not possible to find a single product, so we developed a component-based solution so we could use the best-of-breed products," said Jim Knox, program manager for CRM at Lloyds.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Chordiant, founded in 1995, specializes in channel management and workflow software.

GartnerGroup projects that U.S. banks with more than $4 billion of assets will have each spent $5 million by yearend on customer relationship management marketing tools and another $5 million on databases and hardware.

"The infrastructure is going to be expensive, particularly because banks have had siloed infrastructures," said Kimberly Collins, an analyst at GartnerGroup.

Lloyds' emphasis on customer relationship management comes straight from the top. Chief executive officer Peter Ellwood devoted pages to the topic in the company's annual report.

"We realize that our customers have a choice," Mr. Andrews said. "The fact is that customers of our bank buy a lot of products elsewhere."

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