Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 1 / JANUARY 1985 / PAGE 91

Bank President; Bank President offers entertainment and education to aspiring financiers. (evaluation) Russ Lockwood.

In Monopoly and other business games, most people do not focus on the bank. Although an integral part of the game, it remains in the background, leading a shadowy existence that merely supports the key buying and selling aspects of the game.

In Bank President, from Lewis Lee, you become the chief executive officer of a bank. As CEO, you run the bank rather than use it, making decisions on interest rates, advertising, and loans.

That in itself would be sufficient challenge, but the game offers much more. You choose from four different types of banks--Full service, Consumer, Business, and Turnaround. Each turn represents one quarter.

The game places you in a historical economic situation, adds up to nine other live or computer-controlled cutthroat competitors, and includes dividend-hungry stockholders. Salaries, buildings, Treasury bills, Federal funds, and, of course, taxes, must be taken into consideration. In short, all the major aspects of financial decision-making in the banking industry are presented for your fiduciary pleasure. The Fast Track

All players start dead even. The interest rate for savings deposits is 4.65 percent; for six-month certificates of deposit, 8.14 percent; and for one-year time deposits, 7.30 percent. Meanwhile, consumer loans carry a 12.76 percent interest rate; commercial loans, 7.69 percent; and fixed rate real estate loans, 7.62 percent.

The information flows on--assets, in the form of loans, cash, securities, and premises; liability and equity, in deposits, Federal funds purchased and borrowed, and capital notes; income, based on interest revenue and expenses, advertising, salaries, and taxes; and the all-important bottom line, earnings per share, dividends, and stock price.

Furthermore, the economy fluctuates, so if you anticipate an upward or downward cycle and then act on it, you can reap great rewards. Likewise, if you fail to do so, your bank may fail. Meanwhile, your competitors are analyzing and acting on the same information, which affects your performance. And changes in the regulatory environment can upset even the best laid plans. What's A CEO To Do?

This whirlwind of financial activity can overwhelm the most talented CEO. After all, this simulation mimics the real world--and quite well we might add. You will need help analyzing the information.

Before you reach for Lotus 1-2-3, know that Bank President contains more than 70 bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs for each bank for each quarter. Quite frankly, we gave only a cursory look at the graphs during game play. At one graph per screen, searching through all of them took too long, and by the time we reached the end, we had forgotten vital information we had seen at the beginning. We much preferred poring over a single sheet of printout on which all the pertinent information was compiled.

On each turn, you set the interest rates, decide how much to pay employees, figure out how much to advertise, issue stock, build new offices, and face the economic and regulatory environment.

As in the real world, all of these aspects are interrelated. As you play, you learn that different strategies result in different consequences. For example, increasing the interest rate for deposits brings in money to make loans. Advertising that fact brings an even more money. Lowering the interest rate for loans brings in customers. However, making too many loans at a low interest rate while paying depositors a high interest rate hurts the bottom line, which angers the stockholders. More Than A Game

The 68-page instruction booklet details how to play the game. But Bank President is more than just a mental exercise in number juggling. it provides an education in the banking industry by discussing the fundamentals of banking and suggesting how various strategies apply to the game.

You can use Bank President for classroom training. Indeed, a game of similar design already exists in certain management courses. Bank President takes advantage of the power of the computer to create an elaborate business setting.

While the program resides on a master disk, any number of students can use a data disk to review the results of the past quarter and make decisions for the current quarter. This way, students use several computers to play the game instead of crowding around one computer. When they hand in their disks, the teacher loads their decisions onto the master disk and then transfers the results back onto the data disk. Our Bottom Line

Bank President is the first program in the Chief Executive Series, which will also include High-Tech Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist. It combines entertainment, education, business graphics, and historical information into one of the best simulations of the business world that we've seen. Everyone who dreams of running his own financial institution--from mail clerk to MBA student to president--will enjoy the program. We give Bank President our highest rating.

Products: Bank President (computer program)