Banks back single nostro working group

Banks back single nostro working group

The development of standards for real-time interbank payment transaction data has moved a step closer with the formation by eighteen major banks of a Real Time Nostro Account Information Steering Group.

The group - comprising ANZ, Barclays, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya y Argentaria, BNP Paribas, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Danske Bank, DenNorske, Deutsche Bank, Handelsbanken, Mizuho, Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Scotland, SanPaolo IMI, Societe Generale, Standard Bank of South Africa, UBS, UFJ - results from the merger of two previously overlapping industry initiatives.

It draws its membership from the Nostro Account Information (NAI) Swift working group - which proposes a decentralised model for bank-to-bank information exchange - and the larger consortium of banks which have been working with Cable & Wireless and Gresham Computing on the creation of a centralised utility for nostro account data interrogation.

Both have their roots in the original Ibix bank collective formed under the auspices of the Open Group, and share a committment to the adoption of XML data standards using the SwiftNet schema for cash reporting. By bringing the two together, the banks hope to dispel confusion in the marketplace about the competing aims and initiatives of the respective schemes, broaden the membership base and build momentum for a working solution.

The latest move comes at a time of increasing demands for a standardised industry solution for the exchange of real time nostro/vostro account and related transaction information. Such a solution would enable intraday management of payment transactions across currencies and faster error detection and resolution - both critical in a business environment contrained by liquidity management issues.

Richard Pattinson, senior director, Barclays, says the industry needs one single solution if it is to open up opportunities to reduce costs and grow revenue. "The establishment of this group is a major step in the right direction" he comments.

The Steering Group has chosen Swift as its facilitator and SwiftNet as the messaging platform for the industry. Arthur Cousins, director strategic projects, Standard Bank of South Africa, explains: "In the new paradigm of real time delivery, it is critical to support a common infrastructure and achieve interoperability of standards for exchanging information between parties. Swift can meet both needs and will be key in ensuring implementation of the solution we develop."

The Steering Group will aims to deliver its first results, focussed on nostro/vostro account balance and related transaction information exchange, in time for the Swift interbank payments conference, Sibos, in October. "We are focussing on having a pilot in place by Sibos 2003 to demonstrate progress," says Pattinson.

A spokesperson for C&W partner Gresham Computing says the group has been working closely with third party reconciliation engine vendors such as SunGard and SmartStream and is on course to begin pilot trials of its XML data repository in the summer.

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