Integra Financial Corp. is completing a transition from microfiche to optical disk for storage of bank records, a move officials expect will increase productivity and bring significant savings.
The $13.9 billion-asset bank holding company, based in Pittsburgh, installed an optical storage system from Filetek Inc., Rockville, Md., and a software application, developed by Mobius Management Systems Inc., New Rochelle, N.Y.. which distributes the stored information to employees' personal computers in seconds.
So far, Integra has converted about 80% of its microfiche records to optical disk, said Diane DeCon, manager of information services. Officials expect to eliminate all microfiche and related equipment by the end of October, she said.
Until the installation of the optical system last fall, the company, each day, transferred bank and trust records - including general ledger, deposits, and commercial and student loans - into a stack of microfiche. In a typical month, the company produced 129,500 original and 598,000 copies of microfiche frames for storage and retrieval purposes, a process that was expensive, officials said.
Transferring records to microfiche also slowed up access to information, they added, since it always took at least one day to get the most current information. In addition, reports that had been stored for several years would deteriorate to the point that they were unreadable.
The company decided on optical storage technology to eliminate expenses associated with microfiche and make the company's data, which consists of about 3,500 daily reports, easily accessible to more than 300 employees in 20 different departments.
The system enables bank personnel to quickly handle deposit and other inquiries from their desks, company officials said.
Integra expects to obtain significant savings from the elimination of microfiche. According to Paul Krysik. vice president of office automation. when considering the purchase price of the hardware and software amortized over five years, and the cost of personnel, annual optical media, and maintenance expense, officials came up with an average cost per year of $570,000 for the new system. "This price seemed reasonable to us when we realized that the savings that would result from eliminating microfiche, fiche hardware, operator time, and film costs was over $1 million annually," said Mr. Krysik.