Since its formation in California in 1874, Bank of the West has - in what is undoubtedly one of the truer sentences written - "seen its business undergo many dramatic changes."
Initially, the bank was formed to support farmers in Northern California and today is the third largest commercial bank headquartered in the West. The bank has grown aggressively through 15 acquisitions in a two-decade period, bank officials say, noting that it now has $55.6 billion in assets, more than 700 branch banking locations and commercial offices, and nearly 10,000 employees.
But the bank had issues with standardizing its business processes. Especially given its numerous acquisitions, "consistency throughout the footprint is the key to improving operations, enhancing customer service, creating greater operating efficiency, and increasing sales," they believe.
In addition to streamlining its branch office staffing efforts, Bank of the West wanted to improve its back office operations and a better way to manage its cash. So they turned to GMT Corporation.
The relationship between the two firms started in 1996 when the financial services institution began using GMT's Planet workforce optimization system to improve teller staffing. The bank then expanded its use of GMT Planet to its contact center since the system supports skills-based scheduling, reports real-time adherence, and ensures compliance to company standards.
In just two quarters in 2006 alone, bank officials say, GMT helped save the bank an estimated $8 million in operating costs.
"GMT has provided us with robust, user-friendly tools, so we can manage our operations as efficiently as possible - and that is a 'must' in today's highly competitive financial services market," said Janet Simpson, senior vice president of group operations at Bank of the West.
In addition to lowering costs, the bank is able to gauge the performance of individual branches. Acquisitions may impact service levels; but with GMT Planet, managers can effectively navigate through such transition periods. With GMT Planet, Bank of the West is able to adjust employee workloads during the transition and later reset expectations to the normal level.
Beyond managing people, GMT also helps Bank of the West manage its other key resource: its money - using GMT CashMaster since 2001. Originally, the financial institution ran the cash management solution at 165 branches, but that number has ballooned to more than 400. The bank is now able to identify and redirect the use of excess cash, capabilities that increase the company's profitability by reducing non-earning assets.
To download a free white paper and learn more about how GMT Corp. helped improve Bank of the West's branch and call center operations, click here.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Patrick Barnard