Core Banking Systems for Community Banks: North American Version, 2015

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22 December 2015


The core banking platform is the central system of record for the accounts of a bank, and is arguably the most important technology component of any institution. Because of this, the decision to change it can be difficult. The process of switching out a core system has been likened to changing the engine on an aircraft in mid-flight. It’s important that institutions choose the right vendor.

The evolution of the market, combined with the relative age of these systems, has led many to suggest that mass migration is on its way. Banks are undoubtedly finding their core systems an impediment to efficiency, but through other technological adaptations they are able to stave off full-blown core transformation. Still, many institutions are reaching the point where the logical decision is to bite the bullet and change cores.

In the report Core Banking Systems for Community Banks: North American Version 2015, Celent surveys 10 market-leading core banking systems offered by the “Big 5” financial technology services companies operating in North America. This report, the first of three on North American banks, is focused on solutions sold to community banks (defined as retail-oriented banks with total assets of $1 billion and below). Parts Two and Three will focus on solutions sold generally to mid-tier banks ($1 billion to $20 billion in assets) and large banks ($20 billion plus in assets), respectively.

“Contrary to what many may think, there’s no ‘best’ core banking system. Each platform has strengths and weaknesses, but all of them generally play to specific markets or segments,” says Jim O'Neill, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and author of the report. “The decision to go with one system over another will depend largely on the needs of the institution.”

“In the last 10 years, the rise of digital and the evolution of delivery channels have added stress to these platforms,” says Stephen Greer, Analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and coauthor of the report. “Needs have evolved, and some financial institutions are finding their core systems ill-equipped to meet today’s requirements.”

This 140-page report contains 9 figures and 184 tables.