Bank moves to real-time processing

With Accenture's help, customers will be able to see transactions online as soon as they take place

BBVA Compass, the U.S. subsidiary of the Madrid-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria banking group, is modernizing its core IT banking infrastructure, making it one of the first banks in the U.S. to offer real-time processing for its customers.

IT services and consulting company Accenture has supplied the software and is integrating it into the bank's other IT systems, as part of a $362 million IT core modernization effort BBVA is undertaking. BBVA has 716 branches in the U.S., which span seven states across the Sun Belt region.

The new system offers real-time processing of banking transactions, a rarity with U.S. banks, noted Sergio Fidalgo, BBVA Compass chief information officer. When a customer deposits money into a checking or savings account, the transaction appears immediately on the user's online statement and mobile applications.

Most U.S. banks still process transactions in batch mode, in which transactions don't appear on digital statements for a few hours or even until the next day. Because of the sensitive nature of financial processing, banks are slow to update their core IT systems once they are proven reliable.

Real-time transaction processing, however, "will give us a competitive advantage in the U.S. banking industry," Fidalgo said. "This is a game changer for this industry."

Accenture's Alnova Financial Solutions software provides checking and savings deposit functionality, as well as consumer and business lending capabilities. Accenture is integrating the software with the bank's ATM networks, call centers and online and mobile banking services, so each service will have the same information. With Accenture's help, BBVA is consolidating customer records so that each customer has a single record within the system.

Customers are now using the real-time functionality with their checking and savings accounts, and the similar functionality will be available with consumer and business loans by early 2013, Fidalgo said.

Accenture's Core Banking Services will handle the work. The division has worked on more than 200 banking institutions around the world and is pitching the service to other U.S. banks. BBVA uses the Alnova software in nine other countries.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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