With the Wall Street scandals of 2002 (Arthur Andersen, Enron, WorldCom), a large commercial bank ordered the development of a knowledge management auditing system to advise the bank on compliance with the federal bank examiners who audit the bank on a quarterly basis. The office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury, is the regulator of the national banking system. To oversee this system of 4,500 banks, the OCC administers 125 offices across the country, staffed by 2,500 bank examiners. These examiners range from 25-year veterans to novice assistants.
To create a bank knowledge management auditor or BANKOR, the bank’s president formed a knowledge management team consisting of the bank’s auditor, a representative from each major department, and a member of the board of directors to launch the project. The senior vice president of the loan department chaired the team. BANKOR’s knowledge was captured through extensive interviews with six federal examiners over a 15-month period. Fortunately, one knowledge developer was an examiner, and the other was an IT expert in knowledge management system design.
Interviewing the Examiners Given the serious nature of bank auditing and solvency, six seasoned examiners were chosen for the job. With each examiner coming from different states where the bank does business, this strategy helped BANKOR address everyone’s concerns and made it easier to gain universal acceptance. Once selected, the knowledge developers scheduled a weeklong session with each examiner. They held the first interview not really knowing what to expect. They had selected several case studies for the examiners to analyze. The first mistake was that the cases were too obvious. After the first interview, it was apparent that it did not take an experienced examiner to analyze the cases and reach conclusions. So, in preparation for the succeeding interviews the developers selected more complex cases that would require the examiners to wrestle with their own decision-making process and apply true expertise.
Following the first interview, it took 3 months to assemble and collate the captured notes. The developers reduced the notes for an individual examiner’s cases to a general conclusion about how that examiner worked. Finally, the developers combined the six methods into one set that described the examiners’ consensus.
Taping the sessions was tremendous help. It saved having to write everything down and allowed the developers to concentrate on what was said, and they were better able to probe their thought process for inconsistencies and missing pieces. The transcripts also allowed them to see their responses verbatim.
Three more sessions were held. The fourth and last session used four cases and involved visits to all six examiners. This round was the sign-off for testing the model. During this visit, the examiners analyzed the cases and compared their results with that of the system. After some miler modification, the examiners approved BANKOR as a “fair representation” of their own analyses. At this point, the developers were ready to present the system for final user acceptance testing.
After knowledge capture, the developers designed a blueprint that specified how BANKOR would be codified. They adopted CORVID —a knowledge automation package developed by EXSYS Corporation. In addition, they decided on the implementation and testing details. Testing plays a critical role in the codification of knowledge, using rules. The package is capable of interfacing with databases as well as documented knowledge in various repositories. It also is capable of importing and exporting text information for printout or documentation update.
The bank president turned out to be the best champion of the project. He let it be known that the system must be a winner. He attended several meetings of the KM team and brainstormed issues dealing with auditing procedures and integrity. He also made sure that all details were properly documented for maintenance and future upgrade. The team also became the end user when it was time to test the system. It was totally committed to seeing the system succeed at each phase of the life cycle. The experience turned out to be an effective knowledge-sharing experience.

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