Bank of the West separates Core-Tech from User-Tech

Don’t get lost in the title of yesterday’s American Banker article Redesign at Bank of the West Shows Web Still Vital in Mobile Age (subscription required).

Toward the end of the piece, the explanation of the approach taken by Bank of the West is particularly relevant to last week’s post here on Banking Rebundled: How?. The American Banker post explains:

To facilitate the site makeover, the bank upgraded the Fiserv Corillian software it uses for online banking from version 3.2.5 to 4.2. It also replaced the proprietary middleware software it was using from Fiserv with an enterprise service bus from Software AG and moved to a services-oriented architecture.

The new middleware allows different front end systems to talk to the bank’s core banking platform. “It does enable us to provide better capabilities within online banking, it also lends itself to reusability in other channels such as mobile and ATM,” Yeung said.

The web services used by the online banking system to retrieve customer information and account data, for instance, could be used by the ATM channel, the mobile channel, the contact center or the branches.

In so doing, Bank of the West is part of another trend in which banks are loath to conduct expensive, time-consuming core banking upgrades and yet do want to move toward the idea of an “omnichannel,” offer some services in real time, and be able to introduce new features quickly, all of which call for modern, componentized technology.

Kudos to Bank of the West for separating their Core-Tech from their User-Tech, and for sharing the strategy as part of that article.