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SlaterLabs to Build Next-Generation Core Banking System Entirely on Windows Platform and Microsoft .NET

The Etude Programme to deliver an agile and flexible option to retail banks.

LONDON — 1 June 2006 — SlaterLabs Inc and Microsoft Corp today announced that SlaterLabs will use Microsoft® technologies to develop and deliver the first end-to-end core banking system built entirely using the Microsoft Windows® platform and Microsoft .NET. To be known as The Etude Programme (Etude), the Microsoft-based core banking system will enable retail banks to replace their existing legacy or bespoke core banking platforms with a reliable and flexible system that has enhanced business functionality and can be swapped out module by module. Etude will also be able to be implemented with minimal risk and at significantly lower total cost of ownership.

“Most European banks are using core banking systems designed in the 1980s. These systems could not anticipate changes such as the internet, 24/7 banking, and cross-border mergers,” said Robert Hunt, research director in the Retail Banking Practice at TowerGroup. “To effectively compete in this new environment, banks will need to replace their core systems. Further, it makes little sense for these banks to develop a new core system in-house when vendors are able to deliver functionally rich and flexible real-time systems that operate on low-cost, scalable platforms.”

Etude will provide full retail banking coverage including market-, country- and industry-specific regulatory compliance. Other key benefits include easy integration with legacy and bespoke applications through Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and real-time, multi-channel availability. Etude will also offer multi-currency, multi-language, multi-entry and multi-zone capabilities, providing support for organisations operating across different business units, as well as different geographical, industry and time zones.

Commenting on the need for The Etude Programme, John Slater, chairman and CEO of SlaterLabs, said, “Companies in the banking industry traditionally face a high level of risk when they decide to upgrade or move core banking systems. That is why we are planning to build Etude from the ground up with charter customers, minimising risk as we directly address key industry issues every step of the way. Charter customers will be able to save on initial system fees while also having a say in which components are built when. We will start with core banking and will then address charter customers’ needs as we progress through the build.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will provide the technology platform for Etude, including the operating system, development tools and database. SlaterLabs intends to leverage the Microsoft .NET Framework, SQL Server™, Visual Studio® .NET, Windows Server™, BizTalk® Server and other key Microsoft products and technologies.

Both companies intend to provide a platform on which customers can take advantage of real-time processing via a cost-effective, scalable and reliable programme. The two companies have also agreed to jointly market and provide sales support to The Etude Programme.

Through its collaborative effort with Microsoft, SlaterLabs aims to deliver a significantly different offering to the retail banking sector which is currently faced with the build versus buy dilemma. The Etude Programme will let a customer’s in-house staff lead the integration and implementation phases, with SlaterLabs’ development team effectively becoming the customer’s own support system, providing consultancy, installation support and expertise to provide customers with the best of both the buy and build worlds.

“Microsoft is very pleased to be working with a company that has the pedigree of SlaterLabs,” said David J Vander, worldwide managing director of banking at Microsoft and executive sponsor of the SlaterLabs partnership. “Together we see the potential to transform the banking landscape around a next-generation application architecture, based on the world-class Microsoft platform. Our early involvement with SlaterLabs will also ensure that the best thinking is applied at all stages of development and we will work with customers to ensure an implementation that minimises the risk traditionally associated with replacing or migrating core banking systems. The Etude Programme will provide a core banking system that delivers high levels of business agility and flexibility, low total cost of ownership and will be easy to connect and integrate.”

The Etude Programme will initially be offered to European customers, with the potential to be offered globally in the future. Charter customers that sign on early with the programme will also save on system fees and be able to provide recommendations on which aspects of the system will be built first. Core banking will be the first component to be developed with go live expected in early 2007.