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BOSTON – Spending on customer-relationship management technology (or MRM as it’s sometimes called in credit union land) will continue to grow at a healthy rate, but how well the new solutions are being used is open to question. That’s the conclusion Celent Communications, a Boston-based consulting and research firm, made in a new report titled “CRM for Financial Services: An Overview.” Celent predicts that the nation’s 100 largest banks will spend approximately $2.2 billion on CRM technology this year, and predicts that to reach $3.5 billion in 2005, a healthy compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% will occur. Driving the investment in such tools, which also are widely offered by core processors and others serving the credit union industry, is the need to provide effective Internet selling and cross-selling tools. But effective implementation is thus far elusive, the Celent analysts conclude. “We find many CRM technology silos do not take into account the various departments at financial institutions,” they write. “In addition, there is a lack of integration between front-end systems in direct contact with the consumer and the back-end. The result is disconnected CRM implementations, with no uniform view of the customer’s holdings and interactions across the institution’s business lines.”

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