Convergence 2010: What Does Real Time Mean in Transaction Banking?

Over 50 transaction banking and payments experts gathered in London at Polaris’ Convergence 2010 event, co-hosted by the Financial Services Club, to discuss the meaning of real time in transaction banking. Operating under Chatham House Rules, the participants openly debated the relevance of real time payments for corporates.

The first panel, which focussed on the operational aspects of real-time payments and how the game has changed, said that for most corporates it wasn’t so much the movement of cash but the movement of useful and useable information that was of greater importance.

However, a payments expert in the audience argued that “everyone” wants faster payments. “Corporates want faster payments to reduce the effect of foreign exchange fluctuations, for example, and enable them to use their cash better – I think that we in the industry underestimate the desire,” he said.

Most agreed that the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS) in the UK has been a game changing initiative – particularly since the Faster Payments Direct Corporate Access (DCA) transaction value limit increased from £10,000 to £100,000 per transaction at the beginning of September, which makes FPS much more attractive to the corporate world. The bankers on the platform highlighted the operational challenges they were facing to process domestic and global payments intraday – or as one termed them ‘martini payments’: anytime, anywhere.

The second panel looked at the fraud and risk issues and opportunities of real-time transactions. A senior payments expert said that the prevalent perception that the more digital things are, the more fraud is committed is not true. But he believes that banks have been poor at resolving the issue mainly because there is no standardised approach to fraud protocols.

At the event, Polaris launched Intellect Global Universal Banking (GUB) M180, which is comprised of 95 modules that fit together in a service-oriented architecture (SOA) model to allow financial institutions to modernise at a low total cost of ownership (TCO). Arun Jain, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Polaris, explained the concept where every module had a guaranteed design lifespan of 15 years – hence 180 months (M180).


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