Italian bank sharpens compliance and cuts costs


Italian bank sharpens compliance and cuts costs

Antony Savvas

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) has sharpened up its payments system and cut costs using Microsoft technology, in order to meet the demands of the forthcoming Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) payments directive.

The bank has developed and implemented a Microsoft-based system to process corporate customers' payment orders faster by facilitating direct communication with its Italian customers' banks.

Since implementation, the MPS Group has reduced payments times from a few days to near real time and has saved more than 50% on operating costs as a result.

In addition, with access to these services online, MPS Group's corporate customers have been able to optimise cash management processes and gain greater visibility of cash flows and credit levels.

The MPS payment orders system uses Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 to orchestrate workflows and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to maintain customer data, as well as produce usage and volume reports on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.

It uses the XML ISO 20022 message standard, in compliance with the Sepa directive.

To improve efficiency, the bank migrated from a mainframe, batch-based architecture to a distributed, service-based architecture.

By combining Microsoft BizTalk Server and real-time Microsoft SQL Server-based reporting with the bank's existing IT system, MPS has eliminated the issues associated with daily batch processing and enabled corporate customers to view daily transactions and balances online in near real time.

Customers can also benefit from being able to access historical data and run statistical reports of their payment disposals.

Piero Poccianti, head of the MPS technology lab, said, "We were able to develop a flexible, reliable and robust payment orders application to provide faster processing times and improved customer service, and enable support for increased transaction volumes."

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