Grupo Santander has chosen to use Microsoft technology as part of its strategic payments infrastructure. The solution, due to go live during the next year, will see the consolidation of the group’s individual banks’ payments systems from multiple mainframes into one homogeneous IT infrastructure. The consolidated payments system will utilise Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 as part of its core, as well as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, and web services. Grupo Santander hopes this technology investment will enable faster payment process times, reduce operating costs and bring significant cost efficiencies to the entire group. The initial phase of the project will see the group’s larger banks – Banco Santander, Abbey National and Banesto – implementing the technology first, followed by the smaller banks and building societies in the group. The Microsoft-based core payments system will enable connectivity and transactions processing for the single euro payments area (SEPA), connecting to the Euro Banking Association (EBA) and UK Faster Payments. Grupo Santander is currently developing different projects that will culminate in a common payment infrastructure for the whole group. These include STP Manager, a system designed to handle all financial message interchanges between the group and external institutions; Faster Payments, a key initiative that will significantly increase the speed of credit transfer from one account to another, enabling internet and telephone banking users to benefit from near-real-time payment processing; and SMS Text Messages Banking, which will offer new services to mobile users, increasing customer loyalty and the bank’s revenue.
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