Bank of the West cashes in on process efficiencies

IBM Enterprise Content Management software delivers rapid return on technology investments

Published on 17-Oct-2013

"Within three months of deployment, the solution paid for itself by eliminating the branch offices’ reliance on couriers. It was such an obvious win that we implemented electronic document transfer among the bank’s back offices as well." - Bob Davis, FileNet development manager and vice president, Bank of the West

Bank of the West


Deployment country:
United States

Enterprise Content Management


Headquartered and chartered in San Francisco, California, Bank of the West is a full-service commercial bank with $63.3 billion in assets and $47.1 billion in deposits as of December 31, 2012.

Business need:
Facing increased competition and new regulations, Bank of the West needed to improve documentation and increase business process efficiency.

The bank implemented IBM® Enterprise Content Management software to electronically transmit documents from its branches to the back office and to manage claims made on the automated clearing house (ACH) system.

The solution helps reduce document transfers from days to minutes, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in courier fees monthly.

Case Study

Headquartered and chartered in San Francisco, California, Bank of the West is a full-service commercial bank with $63.3 billion in assets and $47.1 billion in deposits as of December 31, 2012. The bank operates nearly 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 states. Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, originates commercial, small business and consumer loans and leases, and offers a wide range of banking, insurance, trust and investment solutions for individuals and businesses.

Bank of the West focuses on sound, conservative banking practices and superior customer service. In response to increased competition among banks and new regulations such as Basel II and the Dodd-Frank Act, the bank continues to enhance process efficiency and improve documentation. A key technology underlying this ongoing effort is its IBM Enterprise Content Management solution built on an IBM FileNet Content Manager platform and IBM WebSphere software.

Realizing an ROI within three months
Among the first areas Bank of the West targeted for improvement was document transfer from its branches to the back office. The bank was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per month in fees for couriers to transport physical documents. With branches spread over so many large states, the contracted fleet of couriers covered a lot of territory.

The bank initiated a project to design a simple system using IBM FileNet Content Manager and IBM WebSphere Application Server software to electronically transmit document images. The solution delivered an ROI within three months, and the bank has deployed it to other operational areas.

Today, the bank is transmitting approximately 70,000 pages of content per month. Previously, when the bank sent out a paper document through the courier service, it could be several days before its arrival at the intended destination. Now, bank tellers or other staff members simply place the documents on a multifunctional copier/scanner/printer device, press a button and immediately transfer the content. “The system is highly reliable,” says Bob Davis, FileNet development manager and vice president at Bank of the West. “We have very little downtime. There’s almost an instantaneous transfer of documents for processing.”

Fostering adoption by keeping things simple
At the time the project team was designing the document transfer solution, Bank of the West branches were facing significant technology changes. Therefore, it didn’t make sense to add more complexity to what employees had to learn. A primary project objective was to encourage solution adoption by keeping it simple.

“At various times in the project, the team discussed including index fields that would require branch staff members to identify the document type and input information such as the customer and account numbers,” says Davis. “However, we purposely did not implement those kinds of additional requirements even though they would have made some of the back-end processing easier.” The team engineered a solution in which transferring content electronically involves pressing a button on the same machine used for printing and copying. Once the content is sent, the software takes over, moving documents to the right place for processing. With automated tracking, bank employees know exactly when a document is sent, when it arrives at the appropriate back-office queue and when it is processed out of that queue.

The adaptability of the IBM software helped the project team design simplicity into the solution. “Without the IBM FileNet software, this wouldn’t have worked out as well as it did,” says Davis.

Evolving the solution with flexible workflow capabilities
Recently, Bank of the West began using FileNet Content Manager and IBM Case Foundation software to manage claims made on the automated clearing house (ACH) system. Because each claim is a special case, the bank relies on the flexibility of the IBM solution to easily modify workflow while maintaining the integrity and transparency of the process as demanded by bank policies and regulatory agencies.

For example, a customer may call into the bank’s contact center if he has a question about a bank-to-bank electronic transfer. The contact center employee can initiate a workflow specifically targeted to what needs to be investigated with links to templates for preparing required correspondence and automated alerts of pending and missed deadlines. In addition to helping staff members handle customer claims more quickly, the solution lets bank management closely track employee productivity and customer service results for ongoing process improvement.

For more information
To learn more about IBM Enterprise Content Management solutions, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website:

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

FileNet Content Manager, WebSphere Application Server, Case Foundation

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America October 2013 IBM, the IBM logo,, FileNet, and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.