Bank of China, originally established in 1912, is one of Chinaâs foremost financial institutions, with an extensive network of 12,967 branches in its domestic market. The bank, which commands a major share of the countryâs foreign exchange business, was also the first bank in China to extend its presence overseas and establish a global financial services network. Bank of China now has 560 international offices dedicated to serving clients in Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa, as well as both North and South America.
Bank of Chinaâs business is focused primarily on the provision of corporate and retail banking services, its vision being to harness information technology to support the introduction of new products and services. These include the development of a wide range of retail banking offerings such as consumer loans, savings products, and credit cards, plus personal financial services, in parallel with its corporate banking business. Furthermore, the bankâs Treasury department has played a significant role in supporting the bankâs operations and their expansion. The bankâs aim is to improve customer service, while at the same time increasing profitability and exercising more effective management control.
Bank of China mentions, "To achieve these objectives and compete with other world-class banks on equal terms, the bank recognised the need for an efficient treasury solution. This was essential in order to support the processing and settlement of the wide range and volume of transactions generated by the bankâs existing systems. In addition, consolidating operations on a single treasury back-office solution as part of the bankâs global settlement project, would allow us to greatly enhance the management process, as well as enabling us to compete effectively in world markets."
Bank of Chinaâs search for an advanced treasury solution and its implementation took place over a two-year period. It involved a detailed definition of requirements, site visits and in-depth analyses covering a number of rival product offerings, with OPICS eventually being chosen as the bankâs preferred treasury solution.
Bank of China explains that "as well as the great depth and range of functionality offered by OPICS, another major reason for our choice of solution was the company itself. Misys is the leading banking solution provider in the world with years of experience and knowledge to support us. In addition, the quality of reference sites put forward by Misys was also an important factor when we made our decision. These clearly illustrated the success achieved with similar projects and the companyâs proven track record in delivering operational systems on time. The fact that Misys has maintained a branch in Hong Kong for over 20 years and clearly has a strong commitment to the region was another key factor which influenced our final choice of solution."
Implementation got under way immediately after the contract between Bank of China and Misys was finalised at the end of February 2001, with Phase 1 of the project going live on schedule on 3rd September, 2001. The first phase covers implementation of applications to support trades in a wide variety of traded instruments. These include Foreign Exchange, Deposits & Loans, and Fixed Income. Other components of the system cover Nostro Management, Net Settlement and Confirmation Matching.
Phase II of the project went live on 12th December, 2001. It covers the integration of the bankâs OPICS system with a number of existing third-party and in-house developed systems in use by Bank of China. Other traded instruments were also implemented such as IRS, CRS, Futures and OTC Options. Misysâ Meridian middleware platform was used to develop interfaces between OPICS and the bankâs trading system in the front office, as well as links to Bank of Chinaâs General Ledger and SWIFT MERVA system.
Bank of China says, "As well as improving the bankâs overall STP capability, OPICS has proved to be extremely efficient as a processing engine and covers the wide range of financial instruments traded by the bank. By enabling us to consolidate all our treasury transactions on a single database, OPICS has enhanced the quality of information available to management, and provided far greater control over exposure to risk."