National Westminster Bank recently won a top performance award from GartnerMeasurement, the benchmarking unit of Gartner Group Inc., Stamford, Conn.

GartnerMeasurement ranked the London-based bank first in IBM mainframe processing, said Jim Mann, Natwest's director of IT operational services. In 1994 the bank had placed in the bottom 25%.

In 1995, Natwest began reengineering all its processes, consolidating them from 250 to 41, Mr. Mann said. Many of the 1,200 people in the information technology department took part in the approximately $16 million overhaul.

"If they've developed the services, chances are they are actually going to want to use them," Mr. Mann said.

Now every operational process has quality measures built in. If one falls below the benchmark, the department is immediately informed. Processes range from handling and resolving a system failure to planning for future capacity.

Natwest handles six million transactions a day, or about 300 a second, Mr. Mann said.

The bank has not quantified what the improvements mean to the bottom line. Mr. Mann said the reengineering helped boost credit card volume by 25% a year. Also, retail bank customer service levels now are on their way up, he said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.