A pilot exercise led by financial messaging cooperative Swift for a single multibank platform enabling corporates to manage their account electronically has been completed.
The Electronic Bank Account Management Central Utility (E-CU)pilot was launched to bring more standardisation to the use of eBAM instructions and to address what Swift says are "major financial concerns" around the risk of different interpretations of eBAM messaging standards in different countries.
The pilot project involved two databases. The first of these relates to the documentary requirements for a corporate instruction based on specific banks and specific markets. The second database addresses the bank and country specific variations in XML message formats. Once an eBAM instruction is issued, the E-CU utility is designed to ensure it complies with any bank or country specific requirements.
Four banks and seven corporates were involved in the pilot which tested the utility in more than 100 different business scenarios. Swift now has to decide whether it will go live with the project, a decision that will likely be made before the year-end.
Banks have been particularly active in launching their respective eBAM services to coincide with the completion of the pilot and the start of Swift's annual congress Sibos, which is taking place in Toronto.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has launched a new service through its CashPro Connect system. Citi has also expanded its eBAM offering. Meanwhile Microsoft announced that it was the first corporate treasury to go live with the ISO20022 XML standard version two for cash management financial messaging.
According to Kurt Vandebroek, vice president product management, SunGard AvantGard, which provided the technology for the project via its eBAM portal, the eBAM market is set to expand in 2012.
"I strongly believe that the pilot project is the way to go, not just for eBAM but for all aspects of corporate payment. The technical set-up would provide enormous value for corporate to bank communication."