The National Bank believes it will only need to fine-tune its IT equipment rather than replace it, to meet the requirements of a new version of an important banking industry accord.
The new Basel Accord, set to come into force in 2004, is a set of standards for banks set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a committee of central banks from around the world.
The new accord is an updated version of an accord set in 1988 in Basel, Switzerland and will require more stringent internal control and management by banks of their lending and operating risks.
According to the Bank of International Settlements, the auspices under which the committee meets, the new accord will require "more emphasis on banks' own internal methodologies, supervisory review and market discipline and more risk sensitivity".
The implications of that for banks' IT infrastructure are not clear, but some believe it will mean substantial upgrades or new implementations to enable banks to report on credit risk in real time.
National Bank spokesperson Cynthia Brophy says the bank is working with its parent, UK-based Lloyds Bank, on compliance with the accord. "Then we'll have a group standard."
She says wholesale replacement and deployment of new hardware and software to meet the standards in unlikely. "We plan to fine-tune what we have and should be able to meet the accord."
The country's other banks failed to respond to requests for comment on the accord.