Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Financial Information Management System
January 23, 1997
It is a pleasure to be with you here today to celebrate the
implementation of a project that was initiated and developed over
the past nine months using techniques of modern management -- a
project, moreover, that will greatly aid our managers in running the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation even more efficiently and
effectively in the future.
Most government agencies and cabinet level departments
have yet to achieve a financial management system that covers all
the activities of the organization. Because of your dedication and
work, the FDIC is one of the few government agencies that has
achieved this comprehensive level of financial management.
I applaud all of you for your effort -- and your success -- in
making our new Financial Information Management System a
reality, and in helping prepare the Corporation for the challenges of
the 21st century.
This system gives us a much better tool to account for
expenditures and other financial transactions, and therefore greater
control over our finances. In and of itself, that improved
accounting is important to our day-to-day operations and to
meeting our fiscal responsibility to the public.
Numbers, however, are also resources for managers, and it
is in this role that the new financial system will contribute greatly
to the mission of the Corporation.
How well we manage ourselves affects how we do our job
of monitoring the strength of banks and of assuring the stability of
the banking system. Through experience in dealing with the great
wave of failures in the banking industry in the 1980s and early
1990s, we learned that, as successful as we were, we needed to take
a more systematic approach to managing the Corporation. That
meant managing ourselves the way that businesses manage
themselves -- one, by taking a corporate approach; two, by
consciously planning and organizing what we do; and, three, by
constantly tracking our performance to make sure we are on the
right course or to inform us that we need to change course.
By a "corporate" approach, I mean an approach from the
perspective of what is best for the FDIC. In taking a corporate
approach, we need to work together as one organization toward the
By planning, I mean establishing objectives and thinking
through how we are to reach them, and by organizing, I mean
structuring our activities to meet those goals.
Tracking our performance to make sure that we are on the
right course -- while assuring we meet our fiscal responsibilities
based on sound internal controls -- is, of course, the purpose of a
financial information management system, and our new system
will allow us to do it much better.
While the elements of management can be separated for
analysis, the process of managing is dynamic -- planning,
organizing, monitoring and controlling occur simultaneously and
continuously. All these activities interact with each other and work
together to make our Corporation stronger.
From conception to completion, the story of how our new
Financial Information Management System developed sets an
example of how management at the Corporation can work -- and
how it should work -- in the future.
The Resolution Trust Corporation Completion Act of 1993
required us to analyze the best practices in financial management
of the two organizations -- to divide these practices into those we
would keep and those we would change -- before we merged their
general ledgers. Initially, both our Division of Finance (DOF) and
our Division of Information Resources Management (DIRM) had
separate plans to address the requirements of the law -- plans that
detailed how some of the necessary tasks could be done, but plans
that had no target date for completion. Working together,
however, DOF and DIRM combined, reworked and expanded
those rough drafts not only to meet the requirements of the law but
to develop, from a corporate perspective, better management tools
for the Corporation as a whole.
Through planning, you laid out the clear goal of
strengthening the elements of our financial system -- by leveraging
our technology -- in order to improve our approach to financial
management to give our managers better information on which to
You organized our resources to meet that goal -- forming
16 project teams made up of staff from the DOF and DIRM -- as
well as contractors -- to work on different aspects of the project. In
addition, every one of our divisions and offices contributed
information to the project. All together, more than 300 FDIC staff
people worked directly on the project -- making it the largest
systems development project the FDIC has ever undertaken.
This work was guided by the System Development Life
Cycle Methodology -- a process of six steps that detail tasks and
marshal resources that together create a structure and controls for
developing a new system. This methodology emphasizes detailed
planning and continual communication among developers and
clients along the way, as well as periodic testing, to assure that
standards are met and corrections are made, and that the final
product does what it was intended to do. This methodology is a
large part of the reason why the system worked on January 2, and I
congratulate all of you for applying the methodology so rigorously
and so successfully.
In effect, this methodology creates a process for managing
systems development that parallels the approach of modern
management in business. The result is a system that will not only
meet our current financial management requirement but, more
important, a system that provides the flexibility to meet future
In creating our new system, I understand that you are
translating more than 200 million pieces of historical data --
journal entries on individual financial transactions stored in our
computer -- that had been collected by the RTC and FDIC into a
standardized, consistent format that can be used for reporting and
decision making. I also understand that the expanded account code
will provide more and better information in the future. This
system, therefore, will give our managers information in sufficient
detail and in a form that allows them to make decisions in a more
timely, effective and efficient manner.
I cannot overstate the significance of such information to
our managers and to the future of the Corporation and the nation.
What we do -- and how well we do it -- affects all Americans.
We have a vision -- the vision of an FDIC in the 21st
century that continues to provide stability to the banking system by
helping banks stay open to serve their customers and their
communities. By giving our managers an expanded and improved
source of data on which to make decisions, the new Financial
Information Management System will contribute to better
management at the Corporation and the realization of our vision.
Through your dedication and effort, you have shown that
the men and women of the FDIC can work together as a team for
the good of the Corporation. What you have achieved will benefit
all Americans for many years to come.
You have set an example for us all. I do not underestimate
how difficult this project was or how hard all of you worked! I
urge your colleagues throughout the Corporation to follow that