Signet Banking Corp. of Richmond Va., has begun using new profitability software that is now being made available to other institutions.

The new software, called Insight, is being marketed by Software Alliance Corp. of Berkeley, Calif., and Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. It uses a technology called relational data base management that helps bankers better understand how and where they make their money.

"This type of software is absolutely critical for banks," said Lawrence A. Willis, executive vice president of First Manhattan Consulting Group in New York.

Custom Designed

Signet began using Insight, which runs on a mainframe computer, in November. The software was designed to Signet's specifications by Software Alliance and Marshall & Ilsley in partnership with Electronic Data Systems Corp., of Plano, Tex.

EDS runs Signet's computers as part of a 10-year outsourcing contract signed in 1991, using a number of other Marshall & Ilsley software packages to manage the bank's core computing chores.

Insight takes transaction and account information from deposit, lending, and corporate account systems and stores it in a relational data base management system from International Business Machines Corp. called DB2.

Signet uses Insight to analyze the information in the data base, and to figure out such things as the profitability of various bank customers, products, or lines of business.

Used in Marketing

Signet also uses the software to help with marketing campaigns, by tracking how they affect customer behavior.

Vendors have been responding with a series of new products to meet this need. The vendors include: Hogan Systems Inc. Dallas; Newtrend, Orlando, Fla.; Interactive Planning Systems Inc., Atalanta; Micro/Resources Inc., Costa Madeira, Calif.; Treasury Services Corp., Santa Monica, Calif.; and Sendero Corp., Scottsdale, Ariz.

David Fassler, Software Alliance's chief technology officer, said that banks can license Insight for between $300,000 and $500,000.

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