BIAN expands global reach with new members: The Commercial Bank of Qatar, IDRBT and Achmea

The Commercial Bank of Qatar, Indian-based IDRBT and Dutch insurance company Achmea, join BIAN’s mission to simplify banking IT infrastructure

Frankfurt: Monday 9th December 2013 — The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) today announces the additions of Commercial Bank of Qatar, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) and Achmea to its growing international community.

The latest signings mark a significant milestone for the network — the Commercial Bank of Qatar being BIAN’s first Middle Eastern member.

After a period of fast growth and expansion across the banking industry in the Middle East, the Commercial Bank of Qatar will now work with BIAN to build important ‘City Planning’ to avoid IT congestion, using the BIAN reference models to streamline the landscape and build a stable backdrop for future growth in the region.

Similar banking industry growth has been experienced across Asia, with new member IDRBT of India aiming to use BIAN’s framework to establish best practices across Indian banks.

Together, IDRBT, Achmea and the Commercial Bank of Qatar will work to build and promote a common enterprise architecture framework with BIAN’s 42 existing members — a framework designed to resolve universal banking interoperability issues.

The new member signing coincides with a joint whitepaper released by BIAN and The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum today. ‘Implementing BIAN Service Domains using the IFX Business Message Specification’ explains how the BIAN and IFX standards can be mapped effectively to bank infrastructure, describing how they can be used together to improve existing systems.

The IFX whitepaper is available for download here

Hans Tesselaar, executive director, BIAN said: “It is great to add three more key members to our growing global network. This member signing is particularly significant for BIAN, as not only are we adding IDRBT from India and Achmea from Europe, but also our first Middle Eastern member — The Commercial Bank of Qatar. The financial industry is changing at a rapid pace internationally. It is therefore important that BIAN works with global banks, banking software vendors and service providers to reduce IT infrastructure complexity — enabling financial institutions to adapt to this changing international landscape, respond more quickly to threats and opportunities and provide better services at lower costs.”

Harry Margaritis, Head of IT Enterprise Architecture, Commercial Bank of Qatar said: “Commercial Bank of Qatar is an innovative organisation operating in a fast growing economy with the challenge of continuously improving its services and the digital experience of its customers. In this journey, having a technology landscape where information can be independently provided and composed, in an agile yet sustainable manner, is a prerequisite. We believe that the standardisation promoted by BIAN can drive the Bank into delivering even more groundbreaking products and services, and we are excited to be the first bank in the Middle East to join this organisation.”

Ton van der Linden, CIO, Achmea said: “Achmea has joined BIAN because we believe in the adoption of market standards for enterprise architecture in the financial industry. We also believe in partnerships and co-development of enterprise architecture. We aim to achieve advantages in integration, flexibility, efficiency and reduction of risk. This will increase the productivity of IT, which is necessary for the financial industry to deliver customer value in the digital era.”

Shri B. Sambamurthy, director, IDRBT said: “Associating with BIAN will help us to participate in the evolution of banking standards and support the conversion to industry-wide best practices for Indian Banks.”

About BIAN
Established in 2008, the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) is an independent, member owned, not-for-profit association, designed to build and promote a common architectural framework for banking interoperability issues.  BIAN’s goal is to define SOA and semantic definitions for IT services in the banking industry. The community focuses on creating a standard semantic banking services landscape, while ensuring consistent service definitions, levels of detail and boundaries.  This will help banks to achieve a reduction of integration costs and use the advantages of a service-oriented architecture.

Financial institutions, software vendors, and system integrators, along with technology partners, are invited to join the association and play a collaborative role with other industry leaders in defining, building and implementing next-generation banking platforms.

About the Commercial Bank of Qatar
The Commercial Bank of Qatar is today one of the leading full service banks in Qatar offering a full range of personal, corporate, government, international and investment banking services. Established in 1975 as the first private bank in Qatar, the Bank plays a vital role in driving innovation and raising service standards in banking across the region through its investment in new technology, a clear focus on customers and prudent management. Commercial Bank of Qatar enjoys strong credit ratings, is listed on the Qatar Exchange, was the first Qatari bank to list its Global Depository Receipts as well as bonds on the London Stock Exchange, and was also the first Qatari bank to issue a public bond in Switzerland.

A successful diversification strategy has expanded Commercial Bank of Qatar’s GCC footprint through strategic partnerships with associated banks in Oman and in the UAE.  Building on the successful execution of the Bank’s regional expansion strategy to date, in July 2013 Commercial Bank of Qatar announced the acquisition of a majority stake in a full service bank in Turkey. These strategic alliances enable the Bank to offer integrated services across the region, including cross border services for corporate banking and capital markets; support on trade services; private banking services; and, syndicated loans.

About Achmea
Established in 1811 to provide mutual insurance at a reasonable premium, today Achmea is the biggest insurance provider in the Netherlands. But we cannot be complacent. Our cooperative roots mean we must remain customer focused, while delivering results to all our stakeholders. Our main shareholders, Vereniging (Association) Achmea and Rabobank, are also cooperative organisations.

This is why we work to a stakeholder model, encompassing our customers, (distribution) partners, employees and shareholders, with customers first among equals. And, as a cooperative, we believe we form an integral part of the communities in which we operate. This carries a responsibility that we take very seriously.

About the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT)
The Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) was established by the Reserve Bank of India in March 1996 as an Autonomous Centre for Development and Research in Banking Technology.

The vision of the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology is to be the premier and preferred research and development institution on financial sector technology and its management, working at the intersection of banking and technology for Indian banking.