News Release

Financial Services Organizations Investing in Cisco Smart Business Communications

Successful Firms Turn to the Network as the Platform to Address Increasingly Competitive Market
Oct 30, 2006

SAN JOSE, Calif., October 30, 2006 - Highlighting its commitment to help transform the way business is done, Cisco® today announced it is experiencing strong momentum in the financial services market with its Smart Business Communications platform. The Smart Business Communications platform streamlines the customer's business process, improving productivity, reducing total cost of ownership, and enhancing the customer experience with innovative voice, video, data and mobility solutions and services that easily scale as their network grows.

"Technology has become standard in the banking world, from automatic bill pay and online banking to check imaging and remote capture, which allows businesses to conveniently scan checks and make deposits remotely," said Paul Reymann, CEO of the Reymann Group. "Firms with a strong vision, engaged management and sound strategic planning will succeed in the industry's extremely competitive environment."

Financial services organizations are turning to highly secure voice, video, and data technology to address new economic pressures, regulatory compliance, and an increasingly competitive market to help improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience with innovative new services.

Firms such as Bank Midwest, GreenStone Farm Credit Services and Richardson Partners Financial Ltd. join a growing number of small financial services organizations that are deriving significant productivity benefits and return on investment from adopting Cisco Smart Business Communications solutions. Announced in July 2006, Cisco Smart Business Communications is the integrated platform for delivering a total solution, including a complete set of customized communications technologies that include a broad portfolio of data networking, security, mobility and voice technologies, award-winning support and services, and industry-specific solutions designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) communicate more effectively, improve business operations and increase customer satisfaction.

Bank Midwest

Headquartered in Fairmont, Minn., Bank Midwest has nine locations with $430 million in assets. The bank replaced its seven aging and disparate public branch exchange (PBX) telecommunications systems with a single Cisco Unified Communications system providing a transparent connection between its employees, branches, and customers. The Cisco Unity® voice-mail system also improves collaboration and communication among employees, with features such as universal messaging, conferencing, and message broadcast. The Cisco IP Phone system now saves the bank approximately US$20,000 per year in toll charges alone.

"The advantage of being a small bank is that we can roll out new technologies faster than larger institutions," said Bryan Wilken, vice president of information technology (IT) for Bank Midwest. "Getting the most up-to-date data to employees to meet customer needs is essential. What's important is that we can serve more customers more efficiently, yet still keep the personal touch."

GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Technology helps keep GreenStone Farm Credit Services at the top of their game. GreenStone executives decided to connect all 36 branch offices via a single, converged voice and data network. The scalable voice and data solution, with industry-leading security features, provides GreenStone with the ability to carry branch-to-branch calls over the data network that will result in long-distance savings of approximately US$12,000 per year. Cisco Smart Business Communications has also benefited GreenStone in measurable ways, including reducing loan application processing times by 50 percent, increasing the speed of common queries by more than 70 percent, reducing IT management costs, and delivering faster, more efficient customer service on every call.

"Our entire business is based on relationships. That's why customer relationship management is so important to us, and that's why we're really excited about what we can do as we integrate our phone system into our customer service applications," said Dominic Roberts, vice president of IT for GreenStone. "The Cisco Unified CRM Connector allows our employees to provide better service to our customers."

Richardson Partners Financial Ltd.

Richardson Partners Financial is one of Canada's fastest-growing independent wealth-management firms, with eight offices and nearly CAN$6 billion in assets. The Canadian firm has layered voice, video, and data services that include video-conferencing and strives to provide its advisors with an "office" from virtually anywhere, any place and anytime via personal computers with Cisco soft phones.

"Cisco helped us design a bullet-proof phone system, with multiple redundancies, local gateways, and more," said Stanley Eng, chief technology officer at Richardson Partners Financial. "Our investment advisors are industry leaders in the top quartile who on average are managing practices of $120 million or more in assets. They conduct business wherever they can - at work, at home, on the run. So it is important that our platform works for them."

Channel Partners Extend Their Value

Financial services organizations have business challenges specific to their industry, so they benefit from having experienced, knowledgeable channel partners that understand specific vertical market needs. The recently announced Cisco Vertical Select program is designed to help accelerate the growth of a financial services channel partner's vertical business, while providing mutual customers with access to channel partners that understand their unique business requirements. Eligible channel partners are provided with sales, training and marketing support, which help enable them to provide Cisco Smart Business Communications solutions that include lifecycle services and innovative applications suited to their customer's needs.

"Visionary financial services organizations are developing integrated high-speed networks to connect physical locations with customers worldwide," said Reymann. "In addition, companies are deploying Web-based applications that help open new delivery channels, provide competitive and convenient customer care through Internet-enabled call centers and online interfaces, and ensure fast and safe delivery of new products and services."

For more information about Cisco Smart Business Communication solutions, please visit

For more information about the Cisco Vertical Select program, please visit