Andhra Bank Deploys Cluster Banking Solution

by Amit Tripathi    Nov 02, 2004

At a time when the banking fraternity is rapidly adopting centralized core banking solutions to manage customer service, the choice of deploying a cluster banking solution, which not only serves the same purpose but also empowers the bank’s branches seems to be a brave decision.

Andhra Bank, is currently in the process of deploying a cluster banking solution from Lasersoft, that will eventually be rolled out to all its 1131 branches and extension counters spread across the country.

Detailing their preference for a cluster banking solution to CXOtoday, on the sidelines of the sixth conference in Mumbai, K.V Rao and V. Srinivasa Rao, senior managers (IT), Andhra Bank said, “The branches of our bank are not just located in urban but rural areas as well, some of which do not even have regular power supply. However, we cannot afford disruption in services no matter what the prevailing circumstances.”

“A cluster banking solution makes branches independent of the head office as it allows for simultaneous updation of data of the branches on to the central database and vice versa. For this all the bank’s branches have been provided with branch servers to provide ‘fail safe’ operations,” affirmed the duo.

The operating system (OS) at the corporate office is Unix COBOL 8 with RM COBOL 7 as the central database, while the branches use Novell Netware 5.1 as the OS.

It is expected that by the end of this year close to 115 branches in two zones will be brought under the cluster banking solution. The bank uses 64 kbps of bandwidth for connecting all its branches.

Giving a comparative advantage over conventional centralized core banking solution, Srinivasa says, “The connectivity issue is a great limiting factor in scenarios where a bank is operating on a centralized environment, and its branches are located in remote areas. Moreover, a cluster banking solution is more cost effective than a core banking solution. Also, with such a distributed solution, parameter control and adjustments from the branches is much easier.”

According to the duo, the bank provides all types of products and services like any other bank at a much lesser total cost of ownership (TCO), since the services are offered without practically any downtime.

The bank is spending approximately Rs one crore per zone that includes software, hardware and implementation costs, which in total amounts to roughly Rs 10 crore.

Andhra Bank founded in November 1923, provides its services through 1594 business delivery channels that comprise of 1131 branches, 132 extension counters, 287 ATMs and 44 satellite branches spread over 21 states and two union territories.