Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) is a wholesale bank that serves the liquidity needs of 333 member financial institutions in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The bank provides reliable access to low-cost funds, competitive pricing in the purchase of mortgage loans, technical assistance, affordable housing grants and other banking services so members can better serve the housing, community and economic development needs of their communities.
An integral offering for FHLBank’s member financial institutions is the Bank4Banks® application. Bank4Banks is a secure web site that allows authorized users to execute transactions, perform queries, view and print reports, access information such as loan rates and weekly financial summaries and submit Affordable Housing Program grant applications.
The application architecture that Bank4Banks was built upon was aging and no longer a strategic technology platform for FHLBank. Cchallenges of the existing application included a long time-to-market for functional enhancements and updates to the system, an inflexible architecture and a user interface that was in need of an overhaul.
The FHLBank team wanted to move to a platform that could leverage the existing skills of their team, but would also provide an open standards-based architecture, the ability to integrate other solutions easily and capability for future growth. The end goal of the re-architecture of Bank4Banks was to improve the applications’ platform stability, agility and usability to better support customer and business needs.
FHLBank engaged Summa to assess the existing architecture of the Bank4Banks application and make recommendations on the product set and development processes needed to achieve their goals. Through requirements gathering and technical workshops with all stakeholders, Summa outlined a roadmap and project plan for modernizing Bank4Banks.
Based on the capabilities of the technologies and existing skills within FHLBank, Summa recommended the implementation of IBM WebSphere Application Server and Web Content Management. Open source-based technologies and other mature third party solutions were also introduced to meet the requirements of the application.
After successfully completing the assessment, Summa assisted FHLBank with all phases of the modernization effort, including the architecture redesign, application development, system integration and implementation.
Summa brought a disciplined approach to the development of the application, with a focus on industry compliance and best practices. “One of the advantages of having the Ssumma team working with FHLBank was their standards-based approach,” said Kevin Larkin, Director of IT Business Solutions at FHLBank. “Along with providing technical leadership, Summa introduced best practices for project management, application development methodology, risk management and J2EE compliance.”
Summa and FHLBank had a very collaborative process throughout the engagement. Summa consultants worked on-site at FHLBank and the project team was 50% Summa and 50% FHLBank. The teams adopted an iterative process with checkpoints and prototypes provided throughout.
Today, Bank4Banks is the primary delivery channel for routine transactions for the member banks and a key communications vehicle for FHLBank:
"Bank4Banks has become such a great management tool. We use it for everything from monitoring and managing our cash position to executing advance (loans) and investment transactions. At a time when funding and liquidity management is so critical, it makes the job so much easier when we have the tools and data we need instantly available and current throughout the day," said Donald E. Reed, vice president, treasurer, at Northwest Savings Bank.
The increased self-service capabilities of members allows FHLBank to focus on additional value-add services to provide to its customers.
The Information Technology Infrastructure includes standards-based technologies that are used as building blocks for new products and services. Ninety-nine percent of target institutions are currently enrolled in Bank4Banks and more than 10,000 credit transactions were processed through Bank4Banks in 2007. FHLBank is looking to provide additional services and functionality to its members through the Bank4Banks application in the upcoming months.
About Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
With assets of more than $98 billion as of June 30, 2008, FHLBank Pittsburgh, a government-sponsored enterprise, has 333 members across its three-state district of Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It is one of twelve FHLBanks, all cooperatively owned banks created by Congress in 1932 to provide a steady stream of reliable, low-cost housing finance. More recently, the Bank’s mission has expanded to include financing for business startup and expansion as well as a variety of community and economic development needs.
Since 1996, Summa has been providing high-impact IT consulting services and customized, commercial-grade software development for companies ranging from regional businesses to Global 2000 firms. Summa specializes in helping companies evaluate and implement IT modernization strategies to better meet their business objectives. Whether a business needs a web accessible interface to a mission-critical application, to renovate legacy systems, or to connect existing applications, Summa can help. Summa is an IBM Premier Business Partner, a BEA Select Level Partner and a Microsoft Certified Partner. For more information, visit www.summa-tech.com.