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BANKS' HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE OFTEN OBSOLETE

American banks have not kept the expensive hardware and software infrastructures - upon which nearly all their products depend - on the cutting edge, according to a survey by the American Banker and Ernst & Young.

The survey of 68 of the nation's largest banks shows that despite spending $14.1 billion on technology in 1991 - equal to about 77 percent of bank profits - the industry is not close to today's technological cutting edge. About 77 percent of bank programming is done in the old COBOL language and 84 percent of applications still run on mainframes.

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