Bank of China had been implementing its business strategy, improving the efficiency of internal operations and service to its customers. It recently turned to IBM and IBM Business Partner Centric iSolutions to help the London branch and subsidiary automate the processing of the interbank, or SWIFT messages, that the branch receives on a daily basis.
The Bank of China in London needed to manually print and distribute roughly 3,000 interbank messages daily to the appropriate internal departments, which was, apart from being an avoidable operational risk, very costly in terms of manpower and paper consumption, requiring approximately 50 pounds of paper per day. In addition, employees had access to these transactions to monitor them for accuracy and normal business processing activity through limited search capabilities.
Bank of China employees in London now have access to messages through an onlinesearch capability, allowing them to monitor transactions as they are sent and received by the bank. The electronic routing and monitoring capability -- along with a powerful search engine -- allows the bank to ensure transactions are processed in the proper settlement time period. Banks can face stiff penalties or high overnight interest rate charges if messages are not responded to in the same day.
"The improved access to information has been key in helping us meet compliance regulations and reduce costs. The availability of information across all our departments has led to further benefits such as reducing our paper consumption by 95% and allowed us to make more timely and accurate decisions," said Stephen Hinds, COO of Bank of China's London branch and subsidiary. "IBM and Centric iSolutions have been instrumental in helping us stay ahead to more efficiently manage an increasing number of interbank transactions and monitor business process activity across multiple departments."
Now all Bank of China employees in London in the loan, trading services, banking, clearing and IT departments have role-based authenticated access to their appropriate daily interbank transactions through a browser-based application. This has allowed the bank to eliminate the need to print out hard copies, which would add up to 12,000 GBP a year on paper alone.
"In today's highly competitive and regulated financial services market, institutions have to reduce risk and boost efficiencies to become competitive," said Shanker Ramamurthy, General Manager of IBM's Banking and Financial Markets business. "Smarter banking is about transforming processes to improve agility and get more visibility into data to make better business decisions. We're pleased to be helping Bank of China in the UK achieve this transformational initiative."