Huntington Bancshares began to reengineer its commercial loan department in the fall of 1993. By the beginning of 1994, the bank began to roll out a key component of the new process, a relationship banking system.

Paul Brawner, a senior vice president who is the bank's top credit officer in Ohio, said the changes have produced big improvements in productivity.

But he shared some lessons for bankers planning to reengineer a line of business:

The building of the data base the first time through is the most time consuming. You're going from what amounts to a written credit file and a written loan approval form and putting that onto a data base.

You have to understand that we were rolling this out to a group of people who have no PC literacy whatsoever. We had to try to give them an application that had a fairly intensive learning curve to it. We learned that you really need a foundation of PC literacy first.

We've been heaping change on top of change. For large divisions, this is a transition of months. It doesn't happen overnight.

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