Universal Solution Still a Problem

Last September, American Banker reported that several lawsuits had been filed by financial institutions that had bought core banking software from NCR Corp.

Now, AT&T Corp., which purchased NCR in 1991, has been sued again.

Broward Schools Credit Union, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., claims that the subsidiary, now known as AT&T Global Information Solutions, committed fraud and breach of contract which left the credit union's computer operations in a "continual state of crisis." In January, the credit union sued in a Broward County court for unspecified consequential and punitive damages.

The software, called Universal Financial System, was introduced in the 1980s as a successor to NCR's successful CIF and Class systems for banks and other financial institutions. But Universal never took off and, by last year, 21 of the original 30 to 40 banks, thrifts, and credit union that purchased the system continued to use it. Problems with the software also led to a number of legal actions and threats of lawsuits.

In its complaint, the Broward Schools Credit Union alleges a laundry lists of problems with Universal. Among them are that the system lost transactions, corrupted data, and improperly assessed penalties on certificates of deposit.

The AT&T subsidiary would not comment on the suit. But a spokesman, Chris Stellwag, said, "We're continuing to work with any of the customers, including the Broward School Credit Union, which have outstanding issues with this UFS software. It's the company's commitment to do everything reasonable to satisfy those customers.

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