Harbor Federal Savings: A Safe Port for Online Banking

In the banking workld, organizations struggle to find what sets them apart from the competition - unfortunately, sometimes it's easier to find what leaves them behind. Harbor Federal Savings Bank needed an innovative, online banking solution to remain competitive, so they recruited the help of Attachmate. Now, everything is smooth sailing.

In the banking world, organizations struggle to find what sets them apart from the competition - unfortunately, sometimes it's easier to find what leaves them behind. Harbor Federal Savings Bank of Florida needed an innovative, online banking solution to remain competitive. Harbor Federal partnered with Attachmate to develop a secure product, which enhances their current banking environment - without replacing traditional banking services.

"The site they had was a static, HTML site. It had a little corporate and product information," according to Chris McGlynn, project leader for Attachmate. The resulting Internet banking solution, Harboronline, is another delivery channel for customers to perform banking functions from their home or office. The Harboronline product allows Harbor Federal to offer more competitive, innovative products and services.

"A key issue we faced was the implementation of a customer-driven, live, realtime application for the Unisys environment," McGlynn says.

Developing the new site wasn't the only necessary transition. Consumers and the internal staff needed a smooth transition from traditional services to a new way of doing business, combining traditional services with electronic transactions.

"The system emulates exactly what the tellers and loan officers do and is accessed through a standard Web browser," says Bill Lambert, Consulting Manager at Attachmate. "All of this was completed without making any changes to the mainframe applications or the business rules. We used a customized Web-to-host solution designed specifically to provide a Web-enabled application without making changes to the mainframe."

The Internet Plan

Harbor Federal outlined the initiative's specific goals and objectives. "Some of Harbor's objectives were to quickly provide Internet banking solutions for both retail and commercial customers and to use a phased approach to reduce the impact of change and the need for training of end users," Lambert says. "They also wanted to transfer Attachmate's knowledge and experience to Harbor Federal's IT staff, so they could enhance and support the solutions in-house and reduce costs."

The implementation plan consisted of three phases. The first two phases revolved around the retail online banking components of the site. The third phase focused on the commercial online components directly contacted by consumers.

Phases 1 and 2 - Online banking included: account balance summary; account register (history); account detail (YTD interest, open date, etc.); internal funds transfer (deposit to deposit, or deposit to loan); miscellaneous forms (address change, electronic services forms, etc.); deposit application, mortgage application, consumer application and loan request; and bill pay integration.

Phase 3 - Commercial online banking includes: register file creation and transfer for financial applications, such as Intuit Quicken or Microsoft Money; ACH processing (payroll processing); external bank fund transfer; accounts payable (bill pay); and bill presentment.

"These phases included five basic tasks," Lambert explains. "First, we provided an assessment and analysis of their current systems architecture, the network infrastructure and security, and then made recommendations for improvements. Then came solution integration design and development. This included creative artwork needed for a quality Web site look and third-party interfaces, such as QIF formats for downloading, to financial applications, such as Quicken or Microsoft Money. Testing and QA followed development and QA, the solution was ready for installation and configuration. Training and knowledge transfer was a separate phase, yet occurred throughout the project."

Customer Security

Like all e-business endeavors, security was on everyone's mind. Attachmate used firewalls and other tools to secure the environment.

"Attachmate provides security to the component level; additional security recommendations to Harbor Federal for this project included SSL certificates that they purchased through VeriSign," Lambert explains. "After we installed the system, they brought in their independent auditing firm for a security audit of the site. The auditing firm's security practice used their Internet professional security services and found that the security and control were adequate, with ongoing security monitoring as a necessary measure."

The Results

Through their improved online banking solution, Harbor Federal maintains direct customer contact and stays competitive. Levels of service have improved - and there's also a large cost saving by using an electronic venue. Industry analysts estimate traditional paper bills cost about 90 cents in postage and processing. Online services can cut that cost by 30 to 50 cents per bill.

About the Author: Kelley R. Lewis is Product Marketing Manager at Attachmate Corp.