Bank shaves up to 40 per cent off telecom costs using UC

WesBanco's Cisco network already pays for itself

West Virginia-based WesBanco Bank, which provides financial services to the residents and businesses of West Virginia, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, grows through acquisition.

In addition to buying the assets of other banks it takes on the liabilities too - specifically, disparate, disjointed and far-flung telecommunications networks that were difficult to integrate and manage.

Main story: Cisco: It's all about the hardware

"When you go through those acquisitions you inherit what they have in place," says Mark Krupinski, WesBanco senior vice president and data security officer. "We had a conglomerate of different key systems out there. People couldn't go from facility to facility and know how to communicate effectively. It came to a point in time where we decided we need to redesign it to be a multiservicing network."

WesBanco began planning its unified communications network in 2004 and deploying it in late 2005. The bank decommissioned several decentralized PBX systems from multiple vendors and installed a centralized Cisco Unified Communications Manager call control, systems at its headquarters and Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISR) at branch locations.

The system performs call control and routing for 2,000 Cisco IP phones at 160 locations, Krupinski says. It also provides four-digit dialing, in-house audio conferencing and group distribution of voice mails.

WesBanco invested US$1.5 million to $2 million into the network and it's already paid for itself. The bank is shaving US$1.2 million per year off its telecommunications costs, a reduction of 33 per cent to 40 per cent, Krupinski says.

"It floated to the level of the board of directors, and the CFO was marching in himself to say, 'Look what we saved on this project,'" he says.

Much of that savings is due to:

  • Local telecom cost reduced by 63 per cent
  • Long-distance cost reduced by 69 per cent
  • Equipment\maintenance cost reduced by 45 per cent
  • Leased line expense reduced by 21per cent
  • Other communication-related expenses reduced by 18 per cent

The system features toll bypass, which allows WesBanco to eliminate plain old telephone system lines to local carriers and, in essence, become its own phone company. Calls to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, are like calling down the hall, Krupinski says.

But the success of the deployment is because of education and training of WesBanco personnel on the features and functions of their new phones; and to a gradual and phased rollout of the system.

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