SAS Wins Compliance Software Award

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Increasing demands for accurate data is a challenge under normal circumstances. On top of that, firms must be mindful of meeting enhanced regulatory reporting requirements.

With all of those needs and stresses in mind, voters have selected SAS Fair Banking from SAS, based in Cary, N.C., as Datamation's Product of the Year 2006 in the compliance software category.

SAS Fair Banking swept the category, receiving more than three times the number of votes garnered by second place finisher BizRights 3.0, from Approva Corp. of Reston, Va., which provides business rules that monitor for compliance, inefficiency and fraud. Placing third was Access Suite 4.0 from Citrix Systems, Inc., based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Rounding out the category were Digital Persona Pro Kiosk from Digital Persona, Inc. and Ketera Contract Management from Ketera Technologies, Inc.

Industry observers say compliance software has many components and it's important for organizations to figure out their specific needs in order to meet various regulatory requirements, including Sarbanes-Oxley.

Madeleine Thomey, a vice president of regulatory compliance at Cleveland, Ohio-based National City, one of the nation's largest financial institutions, said her group needed a more efficient process to meet the data collection needs required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). HMDA and CRA data are used internally by banks and externally by regulators and community groups to gauge how effectively the needs of low- and moderate-income communities and customers are being met. Recent revisions to HMDA increased the reporting requirements and only added to the challenge.

The changes meant more employees within National City needed data compiled by Thomey's group, which is responsible for more than 1 million customer records, each with hundreds of fields.

National City worked with SAS to develop Fair Banking, which features complete data access and integration tools, geocoding, analysis, Web reporting, batch processing and data exploitation.

Because SAS' data management capabilities are so ''strict and rigorous'', Thomey explains, it's hard to make errors.

''That's the real strength of the solution,'' she adds. ''It brings discipline and consistency to the data management process. Since everything is automated, there is no possibility of a forgotten step or of unintentionally affecting records. If you are analyzing your performance, your data needs to be correct. The SAS solution helps ensure that.''

SAS Fair Banking has helped National City streamline the error correction process. The software also includes an audit trail, which identifies when a record was changed and by whom.

Thomey says the most immediate benefit of the software is the custom edits feature. ''It has permitted us to consolidate dozens of reports into a single edit report for each line of business,'' he adds. ''We have used the time gains to really analyze our data and implement rules for each line of business to ensure their data integrity.''

SAS Fair Banking has significantly increased National City's analytical ability, while reducing response time, says Thomey. ''In many cases, we are able to provide data within minutes. My boss enjoys that part.''

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