Microsoft Drives ISO-XML Messaging Development Initiative With Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi and SWIFT

TORONTO — Sept. 19, 2011 — Today at SIBOS 2011, Microsoft Corp. announced it recently became the first corporate treasury to implement Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard ISO 20022, camt.052 and camt.053 version two, the new international standard for cash management financial messaging. Microsoft implemented this solution with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi to provide a common language for Microsoft to receive electronic bank statements from its global banking providers.

For years, banks and corporate treasuries have struggled to implement standard payments and cash reporting formats. The ISO 20022 Common Global Implementation (CGI) is a collaborative effort driven by Microsoft, two of its major global banking partners, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi, and SWIFT to define a standard implementation of ISO 20022 XML messages for transaction exchange over the SWIFT network — setting a higher standard regarding how corporate treasuries connect to banks.

“The use of the common standard opens up tremendous benefits for all parties involved,” said George Zinn, corporate vice president and treasurer, Microsoft. “For example, the reduction in current shortcomings — such as maintaining multiple customized pipes; fewer processing errors thanks to consistent formatting standards; and the flexibility to support extended, more complex messages versus the fixed format of yesterday — means that both my team and our banking partners are spending less time on maintenance and more on higher value-add analysis, leading to higher impact and deeper relationships.”

The ISO 20022 standard was developed under the auspices of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in conjunction with several other international and country standards organizations, including SWIFT. ISO 20022 XML messages cover a range of business processes, including payments, foreign exchange, trade, securities and invoicing.

“SWIFT has collaborated with Microsoft, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi to improve the efficiency of corporate treasury operations through a standardized bank communication approach,” said Eileen Dignen, managing director, Banking Initiatives and Accounts, SWIFT. “In developing the ISO 20022 account reporting messages with SWIFT, Microsoft and its banking partners are leveraging a secure global network and a common message standard to take advantage of the latest technologies and reduce operating costs associated with banking transactions. Now, all of Microsoft’s banking transactions will be reported in one standard format.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a long-time recognized leader in global treasury solutions, is a strong supporter of the industry’s ISO 20022 standardization.

“Timely, accurate and complete bank account information is of increasing value to companies of all sizes,” said Cindy Murray, Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of Global Treasury Product Infrastructure, Platforms and eCommerce. “For global companies like Microsoft, receiving bank account information in the same format from multiple banks enables significantly streamlined financial operations. We have leveraged our investment in the latest banking technology in order to be a leader in implementing the new international standards for communicating with clients and have collaborated closely with Microsoft and Citi to achieve this ISO 20022 milestone. We look forward to helping additional corporate clients realize the benefits of implementing this global bank financial standard.”

Citi joined in this initiative to develop and implement CitiConnect Straight Through Reconciliation, an innovative solution across 88 branches that will benefit both Microsoft and other multibanked corporations seeking to achieve visibility and control over their cash across the globe.

“Our participation in this standards development initiative strongly supports our view that proprietary bank technology and integration formats no longer provide strategic differentiation when we are engaging with large, multibanked customers,” said Julie Monaco, North America region head, Global Transaction Services, Citi. “Instead, communication is becoming largely commoditized, with the value-add derived from the content that is exchanged, and the seamless integration of this content into core enterprise resource planning processes. As a result, our close collaboration with Microsoft has been key to our success in achieving our common vision of integration and the streamlined exchange of data.”

Microsoft Treasury: A Longtime Industry Leader

As a result of its efforts, Microsoft treasury has achieved a number of major benefits, including operational efficiencies and risk mitigation, cost savings, significant risk reduction, and improved efficiency and productivity.

Integration technology is a key element for any payments standards implementation, and Microsoft is pleased to announce that BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT has received the SWIFTReady Financial EAI 2011 label. Certified since 2004, for the eighth-straight year, Microsoft BizTalk Server is relied on by banks and global corporate treasuries around the world to integrate core banking, treasury and payments systems to SWIFT. BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT, which is included as a standard component of the BizTalk Server product, natively supports SWIFT and XML schemas, which represent the next generation of payments and cash reporting. BizTalk Server is used by more than 10,000 companies globally for critical business process integration.

BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT can be deployed for SWIFT interface connectivity and also as an internal integration framework to connect critical internal business processes. However, because of Microsoft’s strategic support for a rich ecosystem of solution partners, BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT are also used as a foundational platform from which partners build payments and messaging solutions.

“Microsoft is making a long-term commitment to supporting mission-critical operations in financial services,” said Karen Cone, general manager of Worldwide Financial Services Sector, Microsoft. “By continuously investing in our platform to achieve the highest levels of industry certification, and applying that to strategic applications such as our ISO 20022 CGI collaboration with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi, we are demonstrating our commitment to addressing the challenges of payments integration and simplification. As a result, we will continue to offer our financial services and other corporate customers around the world a compelling, highly cost-effective and agile platform on which they can build a future generation of mission-critical capabilities.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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