Financial Services Q&A: Daniel Ruhl, Vice President at Interbank, on Improving IT Efficiency

InterBank

For over 30 years, Interbank has been serving the personal and commercial banking needs of communities throughout Texas and Oklahoma. With assets of over $3 billion and 500 employees, Interbank assists customers from 30 locations, offering everything from checking and savings to loans and investments. Daniel Ruhl, Manager of Information Technology, Systems Engineer and Vice President at Interbank, discusses how NetApp has helped improve Interbank’s IT efficiency and productivity.

 

Q: What have been your biggest challenges over the past decade?

 

A: We are a big bank, with a small staff filling many roles. We are also consistently expanding through strategic acquisitions and broadening our service offerings to better compete, which includes offering more convenient online and mobile banking options. Our challenge has been to focus on improving IT efficiency enabling for more productivity in how we service our customers and ultimately in how we become a more profitable bank.

 

Q: With an aggressive acquisition strategy, what are the technology growing pains you encounter?

 

A: With nine acquisitions over the past eight years, we have gone through a lot! For example, when we acquire banks, we also acquire siloed systems with lots of server racks and have way too much hardware. We need to consolidate and combine our data.

 

By partnering with NetApp, we’ve been able to develop a progressive IT strategy overall. NetApp understands our environment and our specific challenges. We can count on NetApp to bring solutions to the table that support bank business and make our jobs easier. This is especially critical in a time of growth and acquisition.

 

Q: Discuss your IT integration and onboarding process with new acquisitions?

 

A: In banking, the #1 application for communications is email. When we buy banks, the first question is when they will be on our email system. Therefore, we have to move quickly. As soon as we close, we are converting email applications. With NetApp, we have been able to transition acquired companies’ e-mail systems to Microsoft® Exchange 70% faster with NetApp Flash Pool. We need economies of scale, which NetApp enables with our existing infrastructure.

 

By leveraging NetApp’s FAS8000 offerings and the company’s Flash Pool, we have found it takes less time and effort to on-board new acquisitions. For example, exporting and importing messaging data to Interbank’s Exchange environment previously took six or seven evening hours to complete; now it takes two. With NetApp, we can make these transitions happen in about a third of the time, which speeds integration.

 

Q: How does Interbank leverage technology to meet the many regulations in the financial services sector?

 

A: Examiners with the U.S. Federal Reserve, FDIC, and other regulatory agencies are becoming increasingly focused on business continuity, and regular disaster recovery testing is required. NetApp systems and SnapMirror help Interbank meet exacting recovery time objectives. Regulations are becoming more stringent every year. NetApp SnapMirror gives us an economical and effective way to pass those exams and support our own peace of mind.

 

Q: How are your customers being impacted by your IT strategy?

 

A: We are consistently looking at ways to better serve our customers while enhancing efficiencies for a more profitable business. Technology is integral part of our process. By pairing a Fiserv Precision banking platform with a NetApp® FAS8000 storage system and NetApp Flash Pool technology for operational efficiency, our customers see the most impact. For example, opening a checking account used to take 35 to 40 minutes and involved logging a customer’s information into several different programs. Now it’s a 10-minute process.

 

NetApp is saving us time and money by eliminating complexity, improving efficiencies, and enhancing performance. With NetApp solutions and support behind us, we can serve more customers better and faster, which is good for them and good for our business.

 

[Image via Interbank]