With its core conversion out of the way, American Savings Bank is ready to put its new tools to work on a series of new initiatives, ranging from branches to call centers to mobile.

"What we're doing is adding more channels, such as mobile, and automating other activities that could improve efficiencies," says Rick Robel, executive vice president of operations and technology at the $4.9 billion, Honolulu-based bank.

Having completed its switch to Fiserv Inc.'s Signature platform, which began a couple of years ago, the bank will be able to automate call centers and account openings easily and move into new channels, Robel says.

That ease comes from the use of a common infrastructure that allows the bank to reduce the time spent manually entering customer data to enable the opening of new accounts or the processing of transactions at branches. Additionally, online banking, bill payment and personal financial management tools can all be accessed from the same interface, a "single location" that can be transferred to mobile devices and tablets.

John Macaluso, Fiserv senior vice president and chief technology officer of bank solutions, says the core that American Savings is running is based on a services oriented architecture, which enables the messaging necessary to allow service queries to run across business units, rather than relying on older, siloed point systems.

"A lot of the cores are locked in and as a result of that, they can't expose their functionality in a messaging format, which eliminates a lot of the more modern or technology that's out there," he says.

The bank is developing its mobile-banking strategy with an eye on deployment in the coming months but says it will benefit from the single view of customer data and relationships provided by the new core system and its open architecture, which he says will give it flexibility in deploying a mobile platform, Robel says.

"The open architecture will allow us to pick a different vendor and still get it done at a fairly rapid pace," Robel says.

Fiserv faces ample competition in the core market, a field of competitors that may be growing. According to new research from Celent, Fiserv, Fidelity National Information Systems, or FIS, and Jack Henry have dominated the North American core banking market, but other non-U.S.-based firms such as Temenos and Infosys have long tried to penetrate the market and believe the rush by small and midtier banks to swap out core systems gives them a new opportunity.

"At the lower end, we're seeing a lot of rip and replace type projects," says Adrian Hadley, a product strategy vice president at Temenos, which has been trying to expand in the American market for years.

Hadley says to meet the demand for new core replacements, which he contends has increased over the past couple of quarters as delayed projects get a second look, Temenos has developed its systems to enable it to deploy in a modular fashion across a multi-channel architecture, with a clear interface between the core banking server in the back end, and the actual service on each channel on the front end.

"The legacy cores are inflexible and designed to handle banking done primarily at branches. And because of that, banks have to look for replacement strategies to put in more modern architecture to deal with innovation such as mobile banking," Hadley says.

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