Union Bank of California said it will use software from KPMG Peat Marwick's consulting division to link account officers in remote locations with the bank's customer information files.
The software, Mobile Solutions for Banking, was designed by KPMG Consulting to create a comprehensive view of available information on business accounts and profitable individual customers.
The bank, 81% owned by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd., plans to supply the system to more than 1,100 officers and support staff members in commercial, small-business, and private banking divisions.
"We wanted Mobile Solutions to be our umbrella system for housing information, so that we can move it into other systems," said Linda Betzer, Union Bank's executive vice president for commercial customer services.
"Traditionally, financial information has resided in system silos," she said. "We didn't have all of our information about customers and prospects together and integrated on our personal computers."
Despite the many promises made about integrated customer information systems and data warehouses, bankers commonly must "traverse six to eight systems" to obtain a full and useful view of a customer, said Neal K. Levin, a partner in KPMG Consulting's financial services group.
"We try to bring all of that information into one environment within seconds, rather than minutes or hours," he said.
Mobile Solutions draws information from the San Francisco-based bank's mainframe computers and pushes the information into computer servers. From there, account officers can transport the information into other bank applications-for example, the credit origination system.
Mobile Solutions for Banking also permits officers to draw from data bases not currently in the bank's computers, including credit reports, outside Internet sites, and news stories from networks like Lexis-Nexis.
To facilitate remote access by its employees, Union Bank asked KPMG to integrate its system with features of the Notes "groupware" software produced by International Business Machines Corp.'s Lotus division. Examples are calendars, scheduling, and e-mail capabilities. KPMG also added its own data base for Union Bank employees to help build a "marketing encyclopedia."
"Banks are wanting their officers to spend more time with customers in the field," Mr. Levin said. "We didn't want to build a sales platform and then tell people they have to spend all their time in the office."
Some of Union Bank's roving account officers rarely if ever come into the office, Ms. Betzer said.
A previous version of the KPMG software, focusing on middle-market corporate business, was deployed in 1996 by American National Bank and Trust Co., a subsidiary of First Chicago NDB Corp. Union Bank is the first financial institution to extend the capability to private banking.
The software, which includes components developed by Salesoft Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, costs between $1,500 and $3,000 per user. The accounting firm's consulting group is targeting the top 75 banks.