BMO uses DB2 to reach out to customers

Banking is about customer relations. The better a bank is in reaching out to customers the more likely that bank will retain customers and get new ones. Bank of Montreal went to IBM’s DB2 Universal Database to better understand its banking customers and to react more quickly when a customer’s banking habits and needs change.

“The goal of the program was to get a fuller view of our customers,” said Kevin Butcher, senior vice-president with the Bank of Montreal in Toronto. “It was to have more accurate, timely information about the customer and from that (information) for the banks and is different divisions to do more advanced analytics on that data to better serve the customer.”

Butcher’s team integrated IBM’s DB2 Universal Database into the bank’s existing database environment and made it into the central repository for the bank’s 18 million customer accounts and data.

“We had a lot of confidence and competence in that product,” Butcher said about the bank’s choice of IBM’s solution. “(IBM) is knowledgeable about such things as customer relationship management and the (database) is very expandable in terms of the volumes of information it can handle and as we are a fairly large organization, we wanted to be able to process large amounts of information and to build on that as demands on the system increased over time.”

Butcher likens the DB2 Universal Database to a hub within a wheel. That hub attaches to a set of spokes reaching out to the other databases and data warehouses in the bank where customer information resides, then pulls the information into the hub where the bank then performs a variety of analytics on the information.

“One way (of analyzing the data) is using various query tools, another is to extract information through a SAS statistical package and we also have our own analytics that we have developed.”

One set of analytics the Bank of Montreal uses are sets of ‘triggers’ or prompts that are sent to a bank or account manager. These triggers alert the manager of a change in a customer’s banking habits and for the manager to give that customer a follow-up call.

An example of such a trigger is a sudden and large deposit of monies into a customer’s personal or business banking account. This trigger arrives at an account manger’s desk signaling not only the amount placed into the account, but tells the manager that customer’s banking history and contact information, and account information and banking services being used.

With that information in hand, the manager can call the customer and ask about the deposit and offer that customer any banking services or account support strategies. A business customer might be told of new account programs that will help manage the money more efficiently; a personal banking customer could be told about new investment opportunities the bank has or services to better handle large transactions without incurring additional fees.

In addition to these triggers, each branch and account manger is sent a set of monthly solutions for individual customers. These solutions contain updated customer information, banking history and account information that can be used by the manager better understand a customer’s banking needs and what the bank can offer a customer as needs change.

“The fact that we can actually notice that the client has done something with us and within 24 hour react to it is a substantial improvement from where we were in the past,” Butcher said. “Just the fact that we notice and can give them a call has been very well received.”

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