Bell State Bank & Trust, formerly The Business Bank Reduces Risk with Daily Monitoring

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Posted July 11, 2011 in by Argos Risk 


Daily Risk Management, Affordably and Efficiently

Like most community banks, Bell State Bank & Trust, formerly The Business Bank was faced with the challenge of reacting to new regulations, increased compliance requirements, and difficult economic times. The Bank knew that daily monitoring of risk was the key to managing risk, but this created a burden that required extensive personnel time and was costly.

In order to continue their client-focused philosophy, Bell State Bank & Trust wanted to streamline and automate the risk management process to save time and money, including the ability to:

  • Gather independent data from multiple sources easily
  • Eliminate manual data entry and report creation
  • Automate the monitoring of accounts
  • Monitor more accounts more frequently
  • Receive advance warning when clients were struggling
  • Reduce expenses for data acquisition and reporting
  • Free up staff to take on advisory roles with clients
"After several months of use, we have found this product to be invaluable in providing us the financial health insights needed to monitor and manage our key credit risk relationships." - Mark Lauffenburger, COO, CLO & Director

THE SOLUTION: Argos Risk Surveillance

After an extensive search, Bell State Bank & Trust determined the best option was Argos Risk Surveillance, a B2B, subscription-based, risk-mitigation solution that is easy for banks to set up and use. Being a Software-as-a-Service solution (SaaS) it requires no hardware or software to be installed. Bell State Bank & Trust assigned the use of the Argos Risk Surveillance tool to the Credit Analysis department to monitor up to 75 business accounts.


Mark Lauffenburger, COO, CLO, and Director, points to Argos Risk Surveillance as a significant leap ahead for Bell State Bank & Trust in terms of risk management. “With Argos, we can manage risk on a real-time basis,” he said. “Instead of relying on data that arrives 20, 30, 40 days after an event, we’re getting up-to-the-minute alerts.” What does that mean for Bell State Bank & Trust? On a real-time basis, the solution monitors the pulse of the clients they’ve chosen to monitor. It provides them with insight into customers the company does not know as well. Not only does it allow them to track changes (positive or negative) for their own clients, but for the customers of those clients as well. Bell State Bank & Trust can get a better feel for the big-picture finances of its clientele. “We use Argos Risk Surveillance to track as many customers as our subscription allows,” said Lauffenburger. He’s found the Argos Risk Surveillance product allows Bell State Bank & Trust to move forward analytically much faster than waiting for traditional reporting systems.


What Bell State Bank & Trust gained by enrolling with Argos Risk Surveillance was realtime access to up-to-the-minute risk assessments. Anytime a significant event such as bankruptcy, judgment, acquisition, or divestiture occurs, e-mail alerts are immediately sent to the subscriber. The risk factors are graded on a simple-to-understand basis: red means significant concern, yellow means caution, and green means the company being reported on is in a healthy state. Because the alerts are easy to understand, Bell State Bank & Trust did not have to use up considerable (and valuable) staff time learning how to read them. The immediacy of the alerts provides Bell State Bank & Trust with the ability to react immediately to a change and decide quickly how to proceed.


The Business Bank
Minnetonka, Minnesota
Assets: $140M

Bell State Bank & Trust is an independently owned, state-chartered bank that is well known for sound management practices and efficient operations. The bank is well capitalized and growing. As a “business bank,” the staff is dedicated to business customers. They focus on working closely with businesses, their owners, executive staff, employees, and families. The bank has achieved a well-earned reputation as a financial resource by providing opportunities for their clients that extend beyond traditional banking products and services.

Bell State Bank & Trust provides diverse and superior financial products and services in a manner that fully utilizes individual attention, and includes the appropriate technology solutions to meet a variety of business-banking needs.

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