Network Controls International offers customized software that automates compliance issues ranging from lending disclosures to timely check clearing.

NCI sells its software to 200 banks around the world from its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. But the company is going after more U.S. institutions. Last week, NCI signed a deal to install its best-selling product in 610 branches of National City Corp., Cleveland.

that best-seller also was just sold to $3.9 billion asset-sized Federal Savings and Loan, Topka, Kan.

NCI's branch automation software, called Banc-Mgr, creates a computer record of all bank transactions that a branch manager, auditor, or examiner can check for compliance.

"You have a complete electronic journal," Per Olof Ezelius, NCI's president, explained in an interview. "You can scan and quickly find information. Anything you have processed is at your fingertips."

Embedded in the software are applications -- customized for each client -- that help banks obey rules from Truth in Lending and the Bank Secrecy Act to the Expedited Funds Availability Act.

The software produces records of bank disclosures and lending patterns and reminds bankers of the rules when they input information.

"If you have a good system, it will take care of any requirements you have," Mr. Ezelius said.

While some bankers would argue that compliance is not so simple, Mr. Ezelius said he works with every customer to create a program that builds compliance with banking rules into the general course of business.

"The compliance issues come up as customer issues," he said.

This approach will help banks in what Mr. Ezelius predicts is a new age of deregulation. Banks should worry less about each rule and more about doing better business overall, he said.

That's one reason why NCI has produced broad-based products since it was founded in 1983.

"A lot of software providers have unique skills in one segment, but they cannot provide all the solutions," Mr. Ezelius said.

But, he admitted, other companies do produce products similar to Banc-Mgr. One of NCI's main rivals is International Business Machines.

In order to beat the competition, NCI is trying to save its customers money by keeping its technology simple. The average NCI customer pays $400 per license at each workstation. Most clients also pay 12% of their total bill in maintenance fees every year.

NCI uses "dumb terminals" that work from a mainframe or other host, which is cheaper than a networked system.

"When you put large networks together, you get a lot of flexibility, but you pay a lot more," Mr. Ezelius said.

For Mr. Ezelius, who studied computer programming in Sweden before moving to the U.S., it is a challenge to not go with the newest technologies. But the said frontier products aren't always better, and they are usually more expensive.

"We blend technology more economically," Mr. Ezelius said.

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