Banking on ‘Green’ IT

Verteks helps support First Green Bank’s mission through earthfriendly technology solutions and top-notch support.

A lot of organizations have launched “green” initiatives in order to become more environmentally responsible. First Green Bank has a green mission. The bank promotes environmental responsibility among area businesses through lower interest rates for commercial projects that meet green building standards.

It also leads by example through its use of environmentally friendly products and technologies. Verteks Consulting has played a key role in supporting First Green Bank’s values and mission. Verteks has helped First Green Bank take advantage of cutting-edge communication, collaboration and virtualization solutions that reduce power consumption, travel between branch locations and other environmental impacts.

When First Green Bank started looking for a phone system, it evaluated products from several major vendors. The bank settled on the ShoreTel IP Communications solution primarily because of its energy efficiency, and partnered with Verteks for its ShoreTel expertise. Now First Green Bank relies upon Verteks for ongoing support and to help ensure that the bank gets the greatest value from its technology investments.

“We really like the power requirements of the ShoreTel system — the draw on the phones themselves as well as the switches. It really spoke to us from an environmental standpoint,” said Daniel Dean, IT, Security Officer and Assistant Vice President, First Green Bank. “Verteks came in and gave us a demo, and I was sold — not only on ShoreTel but on Verteks. I started ordering more and more equipment from them.”

Calling for Energy Efficiency

Based in Mount Dora, Fla., with branches in Clermont and Ormond Beach, First Green Bank promotes environmental and social responsibility while providing excellent service. Its Mount Dora headquarters, which opened on November 14, 2011, boasts a sustainable architectural design that includes a butterfly roof, low-water-consumption plumbing, solar power, water storage cisterns, Florida-friendly landscaping, recycled building materials, natural lighting, electric vehicle charging stations and many other earth-friendly features. Future branch locations will be built to similar standards.

Verteks came in and gave us a demo, and I was sold — not only on ShoreTel but on Verteks. I started ordering more and more equipment from them.”

What’s more, every decision the bank makes has an environmental factor — including the selection of its phone system. And with ShoreTel, the bank didn’t have to sacrifice features to gain environmental benefits.

“We had a clean slate and wanted to go with the best,” Dean said. “And we’ve been very happy with the ShoreTel system overall. Being able to extension dial between branches is fantastic. And Verteks has always been there to help us work through any little kinks.”

Verteks also handles warranty hardware support for First Green Bank, saving the bank time and money.

“We have a service agreement with ShoreTel, and if there’s any kind of issue with the hardware Verteks comes out and replaces it immediately,” said Dean. “It’s nice to know that we don’t have to buy two of everything and have it on site, ready to go. Verteks keeps it in stock for us, which is very helpful from a budgetary standpoint.”

Seeing Green

First Green Bank also called upon Verteks to implement a LifeSize videoconferencing system. Videoconferencing minimizes travel between the branches and enables the bank’s board of directors to participate in meetings remotely.

“We have a LifeSize system at each of our three branch locations,” Dean said. “Our main branch here in Mount Dora has a larger system that can call our Ormond and Clermont branches simultaneously and bring up the videoconference on multiple screens. We can even display our desktop computer that’s built into the conference room on the LifeSize system.

“We’re currently working with Verteks on a mobile solution that will enable our directors to dial in to a videoconference from their iPads.”

Dean says the LifeSize system is easy to use and offers great picture quality.

“We have one-touch buttons for almost every feature of the LifeSize System — it’s very handy,” he said. “And it’s a high-definition system. We’re running ours at 720p just to save on bandwidth, but it’s crystal-clear HD quality. I’ve been impressed.”

Ease of use is important for a growing bank with a two-person IT staff. Dean relies on the experts at Verteks to streamline technology deployments and help ensure that everything functions optimally.

“We lean heavily on them when it comes to new technologies, especially ShoreTel and LifeSize,” he said.

Think Globally, Act Locally

When First Green Bank opened in February 2009, it deployed a traditional data center with each business application running on a physical server. Since then, the bank has implemented virtualization technology that has enabled it to cut the number of servers by two-thirds — saving power, cooling and space.

“When we opened, we weren’t completely comfortable with virtualization,” said Dean. “Now we have converted our data center from physical to virtual servers. In a traditional environment we would have 15 physical servers at this location but with virtualization we have five.

“Verteks helped us implement an HP storage area network that allows us to run our virtual servers off of one appliance. That has helped us a lot. And Verteks definitely has met our expectations when it comes to price and value.”

While First Green Bank is eco-friendly, it is also a busy community bank dedicated to serving the needs of its clients and shareholders. IT is vital to the bank’s day-to-day operations, and Verteks helps keep it running through reliable and responsive support.

“I have dealt with a number of their techs and they all are very capable,” Dean said. “If they don’t know the answer, they’ll go find the answer and call me back very shortly.”

Verteks has become a part of First Green Bank’s mission to promote environmental and social responsibility. Verteks supports First Green Bank’s business needs and goals through earth-friendly technologies and responsive, expert support.