The Association of Serbian Banks (ASB) has dramatically reduced the time taken to gyro clear cheques from two weeks to less than one hour by automating its clearing process with a solution from Microsoft partner Saga d.o.o. Beograd (Saga), using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 and Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for Swift. The project was implemented in just four months.
Two years ago the payment system in Serbia underwent a transformation — the National Payment System Services (SDK) was dissolved and payment system services were assigned to individual banks. The ASB, representing Serbia’s 40 banks, therefore needed a solution to automate the clearing of cheques.
Milovan Pesic, IT consultant from the ASB, says: "The previous cheque-clearing process would leave money static for ten to 15 days. We needed a faster, more efficient system where a bank could receive an electronic version of a cheque and automatically process each receivable at the same time."
The ASB was looking for a solution that could offer speed of implementation, easy maintenance, scalability, cross-platform support, a service-oriented architecture and a security infrastructure based on industry standards. The bank turned to Saga and Microsoft for this solution.
"The ASB required a system that could be quickly and easily implemented. We embarked on this project after identifying BizTalk Server 2004 as the ideal solution to optimise the processing of transactions generated from multiple different sources," says Zlatko Jegdic, executive manager of the e-Business department at Saga. "We have a close alliance with Microsoft and knew that its solutions would help increase our developers’ productivity."
The new clearing system is based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and provides security-enhanced, reliable and efficient message exchange based on standard Swift messages. Validations are undertaken at the core of the clearing subsystem along with account balance calculations and net calculations. BizTalk Server 2004 enables the implementation and management of business processes that unify the various applications and systems.
Serbian banks are now able to process billing on the same day that a transaction occurs, thereby increasing efficiency in the market, reducing the risk of error and improving market liquidity. The solution also makes it possible for the ASB to meet the challenges ahead.
"Now that the solution is in place, it is our intent to start processing other tasks, such as interbank markets, including the repro market and gyro money market," says Pesic.
Sheida Hadji-Ashrafi, industry manager of payments solutions, Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), says: "Microsoft is changing the economics of financial services technology to provide its customers with solutions that reduce the complexity of their IT operations, while preserving, and getting more from, their technology investments. Microsoft is delighted to be working with the Association of Serbian Banks to provide this solution, based on BizTalk Server 2004 and BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, offering industry-leading performance and time-to-value for the ASB’s financial messaging needs."