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National Commercial Bank of Jamaica

National Commercial Bank chooses Fujitsu as strategic partner for transformation and upgrade project

"Fujitsu has a team of knowledgeable and practiced professionals who are passionate about what they do and know how to sustain and build business relationships."
Herb Phillipps, Jr. - Member of the Board and Director, National Commercial Bank of Jamaica

The Challenge

The National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB) was one of the first indigenous Banks to be formed in Jamaica in the 1970s. As Jamaica's leading 'national bank', NCB dominated the commercial banking sector but lost significant market position in the 90's against the backdrop of a financial services crisis that hit the country for a number of years. Throughout the crisis, International banks seemed to prevail and grow whilst the government-owned NCB lacked investment and innovation.

In March 2002, Jamaican-owned AIC Limited, Canada's largest privately held mutual fund company, acquired 75% ownership of the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica. The business challenge faced by AIC was to restore a bank that still had brand loyalty but weak infrastructure and processes to its premiere position of being "Our #1 Bank" as well as restoring the nation's confidence and trust in indigenous banking.

Faced with outdated systems, poor service and an outdated culture AIC decided to use Information Technology as the basis of Transformation with a vision to fundamentally enhance both bank office and channel operations as well as make a bold statement to the market that the image of NCB had been restored.

Against this backdrop, the Bank's Transformation Project was launched to implement a new technology infrastructure that would support the introduction of a new range of business services to its customers.

Under this transform and upgrade project, AIC set out to:

  • Make customer service the top priority of the Bank by re-inventing the existing operational structure
  • Revamp the Bank's operations by implementing a robust, scalable and resilient IT infrastructure
  • Replace the ancient core banking system with one that facilitated open standards and scalability and which could fully automate the Bank's services
  • Centralize back office operations that would significantly impact customer transactions at the front line

Wayne Lewis, AGM, Information Technology, of the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica explains, "The Bank needed a uniform IT infrastructure across a common platform that would enable NCB to revolutionize its services through a next generation banking network capable of integrating all Bank functions and financial transactions through any channel". With time against them, and a determination to succeed, AIC set the technology challenge for a project completion date within an aggressive six months.

The Solution

After careful assessment of its plan, the Bank selected Finacle (from Infosys) as their core banking system. After deciding on Finacle, AIC now directed its focus on finding a strategic Business Partner to develop and support the infrastructure that would be required to fulfill the mammoth task of achieving the Bank's objectives. NCB chose Fujitsu as its strategic Partner for the Transformation Project. Herb Phillipps, the NCB Director entrusted with the job of overseeing NCB's transition process said "Fujitsu was selected because of its services-driven approach that focused on the Bank's business needs and it allowed us to outsource significant responsibilities. This approach transformed the outsourcing deal from the traditional buyer-seller arrangement to one of co-operation and a shared vision that facilitated a strong level of engagement at all levels, between Fujitsu and NCB."

By bringing together the collective experience of its skilled staff and drawing on its resources from strategic Business Partners Sun and Check Point, including its own company-wide initiative, Fujitsu recommended and was selected to implement the technology infrastructure that was required to achieve the Bank's goals of efficient operational performance, higher service levels and risk reduction.

Fujitsu provided the following key components of the IT Infrastructure:

  • Primary Data Centre and Disaster Recovery Systems
  • Branch office and Administration Systems
  • Enterprise-wide Data Security Solutions
  • Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
  • Fujitsu Plasma Displays and multi-media Broadcast Software
  • Project Management
  • Back-up infrastructure
  • Messaging Platform
  • Active Directory migration
  • UPS

The Implementation

The first phase of the NCB Transformation project involved an assessment of the Bank's legacy systems to define the framework within which the Project would evolve. Fujitsu undertook a series of site assessments, workshops and project meetings involving the Bank and key vendors, in order to refine and develop the Project Plan.

Fujitsu then applied its knowledge and services-driven approach to prepare the Project Initiation Document, which detailed the proposed timetable, processes and methods for the NCB Transformation Project.

Fujitsu assumed responsibility for the management of the entire project implementation including liaising with the other suppliers as well as with NCB's own transformation team. Fujitsu was responsible for:

  • Installing the platform that the core and ancillary software infrastructure resides on
  • Conducting cabling surveys and supervising the installation of mains cabling for every branch/site location
  • Assisting the Bank in disposing of all legacy equipment and items in an environmentally friendly way
  • Imaging, loading and staging of all PCs and Servers
  • Loading the new branch software onto the PCs and servers off-site and conducting quality control checks
  • Delivering and installing 2500 PCs and Servers in 58 locations across Jamaica
  • Relocation of the Bank's data center and commissioning of new servers
  • Implementing the Bank's security solutions over all networks across a uniform platform

By ensuring that all lines of communication were kept open, Fujitsu was able to ensure that each branch implementation was successfully completed within specified times and dates. Moreover, Fujitsu's strategy of incrementally rolling out and deploying the PCs and new systems meant that each Branch was able to provide continuous service throughout the entire implementation process.

The Fujitsu implementation team worked assiduously and poured themselves into the tasks, working after hours and on weekends to achieve the target.

Fujitsu configured and installed around 120 Sun servers and 2,500 Dell PCs, successfully re-equipping 55 Branches without a single disruption to the Bank's normal banking business in the Branches and concluding ahead of schedule and within budget.

Record-Breaking Accomplishments

The total overhaul and implementation of the Bank's new systems and entire IT infrastructure was accomplished in just six months. Within two weeks, the Fujitsu team achieved the fastest ever rollout of PCs in the Caribbean. Herb Phillipps noted with pride the level of commitment and unparallel excellence the Fujitsu team displayed in undertaking such a massive task within an aggressive time scale.

NCB's five-level architecture includes:-

  • Finacle as the core banking system along with state-of-the-art applications that replaced all the Bank's legacy systems
  • A standardized database built on Oracle
  • Robust security infrastructure supporting the data center and disaster recovery site
  • High speed commercial network
  • Unique customer touch points island wide

NCB was able to accomplish its goal in less than one year dispelling predictions from experts that it would take five years. "Even now when I tell my colleagues in Canada about our achievement, they say its impossible," said Herb Phillipps, Jr. "Not only did Fujitsu have the total capability needed for a project of this scale, but the team was accommodating beyond the ordinary and worked openly with us. Thanks to Fujitsu, we have effectively replaced the complete IT infrastructure across our entire Branch network and we achieved this in record-breaking time, within budget and with little or no disruption to our business".

The Benefits

The implementation of NCB's new IT Infrastructure has delivered significant business benefits:-

  • Improved customer service - customer waiting time in line has been reduced from 1.3 hours to 8 mins
  • Improved operational efficiencies - teller reconciliation of daily transactions has been significantly reduced from 2 hours to 15 mins
  • Future-proofed IT investment - NCBs IT infrastructure has the scalability to accommodate future business demands whilst protecting against obsolescence
  • Improved market value - the banks new levels of efficiencies have attracted new business and the Bank's value has tripled since AIC acquisition

"All along Fujitsu has been very responsive to our requirements and we have developed an extremely effective working partnership."

Herb Phillipps Jr. - Member and the Director of the Board, National Commercial Bank of Jamaica


  • Financial Services

Offering Groups:

  • IT Infrastructure

Solution Areas:

  • Systems & Network Management
  • Database Management
  • Financial Solutions


  • Caribbean


  • Make customer service the top priority of the Bank
  • Revamp the Bank's operations
  • Replace the ancient core banking system


  • Improved customer service
  • Improved operational efficiencies
  • Future-proofed IT investment