Stratus Midrange System For Funds Transfer Offered

Stockholder Systems Inc. and Stratus Computer Inc. announced this week the first funds transfer system using midrange fault-tolerant computers.

Imperial Bank, a $3 billion-asset commercial bank based in Los Angeles, the initial test site for the product, is the first customer, the companies said. Imperial Bank's system has been in full production since the end of March.

The Stratus system is the first midrange fault-tolerant system on the market, officials of the company said. Stratus is the second-largest vendor of fault-tolerant computers, in a market dominated by Tandem Computers Inc.

Other Offerings Differ

Tandem offers a fault-tolerant product for funds transfer designed for banks with large volumes of payments, and Digital Equipment Corp. has a midrange product that is not fault-tolerant. Several software products run on networks of personal computers.

Fault-tolerant systems have a backup processor that duplicates the activity on the primary processor, so work can be switched over instantaneously in the event the first processor fails.

The Stratus system, called Financial Exchange, was developed and will be marketed by Stockholder Systems, a subsidiary of Nynex Corp. based in Norcross, Ga.

Targeting Big, Not Biggest

Doris Privitera, program manager for wholesale banking for Stratus, said the system is aimed at large regional and superregional banks in the top 300, but not at the top 5% money-center banks.

Financial Exchange uses a relational data base to allow banks to access information in a variety of ways. Stockholder Systems officials said that this capability enables banks to adapt to more stringent reporting requirements in areas such as money laundering.

Financial Exchange has an entry-level price of $125,000. The software runs on the midrange Stratus XA2000 series computers, whose prices start at $194,000.

Links to the Major Wires

The system has interfaces to Fed Wire and to Swift but not to Chips or to Swift 2. The companies may develop such interfaces, but said they have no timetable for doing so.

At Imperial Bank, the automated system replaces a system in which transactions were generated and received on terminals, then reentered by hand into back-office computers.

On a typical day, Imperial Bank processes 2,000 transactions valued at a total of several hundred million dollars, according to Alex Garvey, executive vice president of the bank.

"We expect when the economy improves to go up to 2,500 or 3,000 transactions a day," said Mr. Garvey. The system the bank is using can handle up to 4,500 transactions a day, he added.

Imperial Bank is not related to Imperial Savings Bank, based in San Diego, which was taken over by the Resolution Trust Corp. last year.

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