British Arab Commercial Bank taps IBM business analytics

Source: IBM

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that British Arab Commercial Bank (BACB) is using IBM Business Analytics to streamline and automate operations and reduce liquidity risk in a rapidly evolving business and regulatory environment.

This new functionality has proved vital for the bank in increasing visibility to hidden exposures and risks.

BACB is a London-based wholesale bank that specialises in providing trade and project finance for Arab markets in the Mediterranean region and Arabian Gulf, helping exporters and contractors to uncover business opportunities in these strategic markets. BACB works both with the major institutions in those countries, but also with the companies with whom those institutions deal from across the world in constructing arrangements which meet the needs of all the parties involved in international trade transactions. With real-time analytics, the bank can review credit worthiness and process loans and other trade transactions while maintaining regulatory compliance in an increasingly complex and demanding environment.

To meet regulatory requirements and compete effectively as a trade finance organisation in Arab markets, BACB needs access to timely, accurate and detailed analysis of financial management information. By using real-time analytics, the bank is better able to assess liquidity, understand customer opportunities, and mitigate risk . BACB is using analytics software to visualize its current assets, liabilities and commitments and compare them against 'what if' scenarios, to make crucial business decisions.

"IBM analytics software has helped reduce the bank's exposure to risk by eliminating its dependency on spreadsheets which were subject to inconsistent data due to human error," said Crispian Denby, Chief Financial Officer at BACB. "Our confidence in the accuracy of our information has led to faster, more responsive decision-making which ultimately helps us maintain our leading position in the Arab trade and project finance market."

IBM's analytics software has given the bank deeper insight into key areas such as customer profitability and helped BACB maximise profits while enhancing customer loyalty. The system can repoeport on credit risk for each customer and flag high-risk customers in order that immediate action can be taken to minimise exposure. Built-in email alerts enable users to identify problems quickly rather than having to review detailed underlying reports.

Like most banks, BACB has a number of different business units that deal with specific operational aspects such as core banking, trade finance, and derivatives.. With increasing and urgent demand for better management information, the bank decided to look for a business analytics solution that could easily access and analyse data from a variety of disparate sources.

"Increased competition and new regulatory demands are centre stage in the banking industry," said Laurence Trigwell, Global Financial Services Executive, Business Analytics, IBM, "IBM Business Analytics is helping banks create insight to meet regulatory requirements and deepen customer engagement."

With over 150 employees and total assets of more than £3.3 billion, BACB achieved pre-tax profits of nearly £19 million in 2010.

Globalisation has created an enormous opportunity for small and midsize firms such as British Arab Commercial Bank to do business with financial institutions around the world. As advanced technologies have become affordable and available, BACB is able to keep costs down and increase efficiency while also growing their business. 

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