When managers at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas decided to automate some customer transactions nine years ago, they didn’t call it B-to-B e-commerce. Nancy Parker, senior vice president and CIO, and her team developed an application to let customers of small to midsize banks automate wire transfers for cash advances. The Internet became the medium, and the program’s success yielded some quick lessons.

The bank further developed its program, SecureConnect, to include financial status reports and updated interest rate quotes. Customers, using encrypted passwords, get confirmation of their transactions and account updates in real-time.

The results: Since SecureConnect debuted in 1997, the bank’s loan portfolio has grown from US$9 billion to $32.3 billion as of the end of 2001. Into April, 95.6 percent of the bank’s transactions traveled through SecureConnect. Sixty-three percent of the bank’s 841 member institutions participate. Meanwhile, the bank’s five-member lending staff has remained constant.