Whether you're an auditor in the midst of an exam, a loan officer perusing lending documents, a board member reviewing meeting notes or new employee studying bank policies, at T Bank you're going to the exact same portal.

"This is the only delivery mechanism for archival of anything that goes on in the bank," says Thad Hutcheson, CTO of T Bank. "If you want to know if something's been approved by the board, you know where to go."

The five-year old bank with locations in Dallas and Plano has always valued a low volume of paper - it openly brags about conducting board meetings without any handouts for participants. But more recently, it's introduced centralized Web-enabled communications to the entire institution, graduating from a legacy framework consisting of a few basic HTML and static online pages.

To accomplish this increase in Web utility, the bank chose the Passageways portal for the $10,000 project, believing the product's orientation toward financial institutions - Passageways' clients include a number of community banks - made it easier for the bank-related content to be put up by the IT team, other bank executives and directors. The portal is used for all board and committee meetings, dissemination of employee policies, interactions with auditors and inspectors and other communications among bank employees and partners. "As we go through more projects, audits and regulatory exams, as well as changes on our board of directors, there's going to be a greater need to be able to centralize all of the information that's tied to that activity," Hutcheson says.

The project's initial investment has been repaid several times over, with savings on printing and mailing documents alone totaling in the thousands. Additional thousands of dollars in savings have come from remote Web-enabled audits, electronic secure access to files, and large packages of loan files that can be electronically transmitted to correspondent banks for loan participation. "By creating a centralized communications hub, it helps ensure there's consistency across the firm in terms of employee understanding. You can also reduce risk, because there's greater transparency in terms of what corporate policies are," says Mary Knox, a research director for Gartner, suggesting it's an easier de-siloing task for a smaller bank to accomplish. "The lines of communications at a small bank tend to be more open to begin with."

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