OCC app integrates database for bank examiners

OCC app integrates database for bank examiners

By Edmond X. Dejesus

Special to GCN

It's nice to have the auditors on your side. This is the case with the bank examiners from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Part of OCC's job for the Treasury Department is to charter and regulate the many national banks around the country, ensuring that they meet government standards and letting us all sleep well at night.

More than 2,000 bank examiners travel from bank to bank performing examinations. Examiner View, a new OCC application that uses Sybase Inc.'s Adaptive Server Anywhere database, is helping to plan and simplify the examiners' tasks.

The OCC bank examiners use 133-MHz Pentium notebooks, each with 72M of RAM, a 4G hard drive and a 56-Kbps modem to run all their applications. Examiner View takes up 50K of space, due in part to the small footprint of the underlying Adaptive Server Anywhere database. Examiner View runs under Microsoft Windows 95 and sports a front end written with Sybase's PowerBuilder software.

Examiners capture the information they need on site. Because they are usually on the bank premises, they may have limited or no outside access for their modems. When they get access, examiners simply click the exchange data icon to upload the collected data to a central Adaptive Server Enterprise database in Landover, Md.

The examiners also receive data in Examiner View from the central database. Bank examiners often work in teams, so when one team member uploads data to the central database, that data is ready for other team members when they connect.

Examiners subscribe to the data for the institutions they are dealing with, including the one they are currently examining, those they plan to examine, and those they may return to. Examiner View also receives e-mail, planning and scheduling information, procedures, and reference material.

When OCC selected Adaptive Server Anywhere, it was the only database capable of handling the agency's replication requirements, OCC officials said.

John K. Wahl, special-projects manager for information services, said, 'Replication was our most important consideration. We handle many discrete data elements containing details about each bank, as well as large amounts of text. It is essential that the database replicate this data dependably and efficiently.'

The replication ability passed a severe test recently when one examiner moved more than 60M of data. Daniel Nels Berkland, Examiner View project manager, said, 'We use positive verification to ensure that data is exchanged correctly. Although it required several separate accesses, with many interruptions that would have baffled most systems, all the data transferred perfectly.'

The database takes care of the many details of replication automatically, freeing examiners to concentrate on their main tasks.

About 120 examiners are using the new system.

As part of a phased deployment, about 170 more will be using the application by the end of the summer.


Edmund X. DeJesus writes about information technology from Norwood, Mass.

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