First Bank System grew from around $11 billion in assets to over $70 billion through a set of strategic bank acquisitions. The purchases included banking organizations of all sizes, from small, community banks to large, regional banks, including U.S. Bancorp with $33 billion in assets.
Bringing on the new banks required several intricate systems integration projects. Each conversion encompassed an average of 12-15 applications (nearly 25 for U.S. Bancorp) impacting about 25 functional areas, and involved up to 150 project participants. The acquisitions varied in platforms and complexity, but one constant was the resolution of First Bank to retain its reputation as a technology powerhouse. Organizational challenges often hampered the efforts, including workplace culture differences, acquisition-related attitude issues, lack of accountability by some participants, and widespread inexperience with formal project management.
Yvette was a manager on the acquisition rollout team. The group coordinated all activities relating to the integration and conversion of systems applications impacted by each new bank. Specific duties included: creating and validating the detailed plans for the -dress rehearsals- and live conversions, managing the schedule of deliverables and dependencies across affected business lines, creating and maintaining contingency plans, and serving as the communication hub for the conversion and system cutover events.
Focused on an array of key business applications for multiple acquisitions, Yvette promoted active participation and eventual acceptance of project tracking disciplines by simplifying and tailoring standard task plan documentation to fit each bank's culture. Yvette enabled productive involvement of subject matter experts through pre-meeting coaching, one-one-one support, and providing direction with other personalized leadership tactics. She accomplished improved equality in representation and participation between entities and created a joint perspective on priorities.
First Bank, now U.S. Bank, acquired about 70 banks over seven years, with the rollout team managing the successful integration of the computer systems. The new U.S. Bank became the 14th largest banking organization in the country (per asset size), and would serve nearly 4 million households and 475,000 businesses in 17 states.
After completing a number of diverse acquisitions, the rollout team packaged the best practices and organized them into a comprehensive methodology of procedures and templates. The methodology was easily customized and scalable, and facilitated future acquisition conversion events.