OKO Osuuspankkien Keskuspankki Oyj, better known as OKO Bank, was originally established in 1902 and is the central financial institution for the 244 co-operative member banks of the OKO Bank group, which has almost 3 million customers in total and an extensive network of branches and offices across Finland. The group's market share of euro-denominated deposits and credits now exceeds 30%. OKO Bank operates as an independent commercial bank on behalf of its co-operative member banks. The bank also maintains an international branch in Stockholm and representative offices in Estonia and the Russian Federation.
OKO Bank’s role as the European Union’s primary bank in Finland meant that it was vitally important that the bank’s treasury solution could support the introduction of the Euro as Finland’s base currency in January 2002. For this reason, OKO Bank took the decision to replace the Atlas system formerly used by its Treasury & Capital Market Operations department. Initially, packages from 15 different suppliers were reviewed, with four potential solutions being shortlisted for more in-depth examination.
The detailed systems evaluations were carried out over a three month period between March and May 2000. The contract for OPICS, selected as OKO Bank’s preferred solution for its treasury operations, was signed at the end of May 2000. The OPICS installation at OKO Bank includes applications to process the bank’s trades in Foreign Exchange, Call & Notice, Deposits & Loans, FRAs and IRS, as well as the management of Nostro/Vostro accounts and Nostro Reconciliation.
Ville-Pekka Veijola, Senior Vice President, Treasury & Capital Market Operations at OKO Bank, points out, "Obviously, as the European Union’s primary bank in Finland, it was essential that our treasury solution could support the introduction of the Euro as the country’s base currency. An added advantage is that OPICS provides comprehensive coverage of all the treasury instruments traded by the bank and will enable us to make substantial progress towards straight-through processing (STP)."
The first major phase of the OPICS implementation was completed in just 12 months, with the system going live at the beginning of September 2001. The second phase of system implementation, covering applications to handle the bank’s trades in derivative instruments such as OTC and Exchange-traded Options and Financial Futures, is due to be finished in spring 2002, following Finland’s changeover to the Euro. The development has also included a range of interfaces to integrate OPICS with a number of in-house and third-party applications. Among others, these systems include the bank’s General Ledger, regulatory reporting, data distribution and SWIFT payment systems. Currently OKO Bank is planning to develop interfaces from the bank's Kondor+ front office application.
Ville-Pekka Veijola sums up by saying, "As well as offering a far more economical platform in terms of both hardware and software maintenance costs, OPICS has provided us with an advanced, flexible solution which is easier to use and faster to adapt to the bank’s business requirements. OPICS also offers a reliable and stable environment, which has greatly increased the efficiency of our treasury operations."