Microsoft Helps Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena Reduce Operating Costs by 50 Percent With New Bank-to-Bank Payments Solution

BOSTON — Oct. 4, 2007 — Today at SIBOS 2007, Microsoft Corp. announced that Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), renowned as the world’s oldest bank, and all the other banks in the group (Banca Toscana and Banca Agricola Mantovana) have developed and implemented a Microsoft®-based solution to process corporate customers’ payment orders faster by facilitating direct communication with its Italian customers’ banks. Since implementation, MPS Group has reduced payments times from a few days to near-real time and has saved more than 50 percent on operating costs. In addition, with access to these services online, MPS Group’s corporate customers have been able to optimize cash management processes and gain greater visibility of cash flows and credit levels.

Developed by the MPS Group, Microsoft, Avanade and Getronics to facilitate bank-to-bank communications, the MPS payment orders solution uses Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2006 to orchestrate workflows and Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 to maintain customer data, as well as produce usage and volume reports on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. It utilizes the XML ISO 20022 message standard, in compliance with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) directive, and is supported by Italian Interbank Corporate Banking (CBI), the electronic messaging service that connects more than 690 Italian banks and 620,000 companies, using a single link.

To improve efficiency, the bank migrated from a mainframe, batch-based architecture to a distributed, service-based architecture. By combining Microsoft BizTalk Server and real-time Microsoft SQL Server-based reporting with the bank’s existing IT system, MPS has eliminated the issues associated with daily batch processing and enabled corporate customers to view daily transactions and balances online in near-real time. Customers can also benefit from being able to access historical data and run statistical reports of their payment disposals.

“Around 95 percent of Italian credit transfers and collections requested by corporate customers are made using electronic services such as CBI, so it was important for us to ensure the system would be able to support standard messaging and direct bank-to-bank connections without causing any inefficiencies to our customers,” said Piero Poccianti, head of the Technology Lab at the Operative Consortium of Monte dei Paschi di Siena Group. “With the help of Microsoft technology, we were able to develop a flexible, reliable and robust payment orders application to provide faster processing time and improved customer service and enable support for increased transaction volumes.”

“For this project, MPS Group, Microsoft, Avanade and Getronics chose to move away from traditional IT systems development and instead apply advanced technology innovatively and strategically to achieve the bank’s desire for a solid payments architecture built on Microsoft technology,” said Sheida Hadji-Ashrafi, Worldwide Industry Manager for Payments at Microsoft. “The experience has been validated by the amazing results achieved to date, and we applaud MPS for its commitment to new technologies and new ways of working.”

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