In the mid-1980s Banc One Corp. embarked on a series of acquisitions expanding its footprint far beyond its Ohio headquarters. By acquiring banks from Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky, to Texas and Arizona, Banc One has grown to include more than 1,200 offices in a dozen states.

The company also acquired First USA Financial Inc., a financial services company specializing in credit cards and the third largest domestic issuer of Visa and MasterCards.

In the midst of the rapid expansion, Bank One, the banking partner of holding company Banc One Corp., has found itself without standard operating practices or unified technology systems across its markets. In addition, of the seven different deposit systems currently operated by Bank One, none offers all the capabilities needed.

Bank One Chairman Jamie Dimon has said that lack of uniformity has put their institution at a clear disadvantage by "hurting customer service, frustrating employees, causing operating delays and increasing costs."

The upshot is that Dimon and Bank One's Planning Group last year approved a three-year plan to convert to a standard system in all their markets and, earlier this year, hired Austin Adams, a former head of technology and operations at First Union Bank, to oversee it. So far, Adams says, the project is on or ahead of schedule.

A key part of the plan is the creation of a unified customer information file (CIF) and deposit system. The conversion involves changing all current retail and commercial deposit systems to a customer information and deposit platform named B1B, for Bank One's Best. B1B will be built on Bank One's "Common Systems" platform that adds additional functionality from other customer and deposit systems.

After what Dimon calls "extensive study," Bank One concluded that "Common Systems," the most widely used of the bank's seven CIF and deposit systems, was not only the best choice for handling the company's processing needs, but that its adoption would allow conversion to begin immediately.

As Bank One moves to B1B, Dimon says it will also continue unifying its loan accounting system by moving Private, Business and Community Banking, as well as Consumer Lending, from their current nine systems to "VLS," a single primary loan-accounting system that will be used by all four units.

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