Prominent Core Banking Solutions in BFS Industry

Abstract

The global banking sector is becoming more strategically focused and technologically advanced in responding to consumer expectations. Banks are intensively trying to defend their market share against an increasing array of competitors, technology disruptions, and evolving regulations. To sustain, the emphasis is on digitizing core business processes and organizational structures. Solution providers themselves are working on streamlining the process of managing compliance with changing regulations, as well as ensuring automation introduction at all stages of the banking lifecycle.  With the current low rate of interest, partnership with banking products or solutions can offer worthwhile returns.  

A banking software’s major responsibilities include the creation and maintenance of accounts, balances, and transactions, as well as the storage of client data, receipts, and other reporting tools. Nowadays, APIs that decouple distribution channels, products, and client data are an essential feature of the core banking software architecture. Onboarding, payments processing, card issuing, and KYC services are integrated into the core banking software as well. 

Banks have to make the decisions of picking the right partners to stay at the top of their game. This white paper aims to discuss the need for banks to utilize core banking platforms, salient features to look for in a banking platform, and some comparisons to aid banks in making the right decisions.

Need for Core Banking Platforms

According to Gartner, core banking platforms are back-end systems that process daily banking transactions and post updates to accounts and other financial records. Typically, core banking systems include deposit, loan and credit processing capabilities, with interfaces to general ledger systems and reporting tools.[1] Previously, core banking solutions majorly focused on digital channels, in addition to increasing scalability and adaptability. The solutions enhanced mobility for the customer and employees, provided multi-channel integration and real-time channel processing. In the future, core banking solutions will be easily deployable across multiple geographies. They will be more process-centric, lean, and fast to deploy to the cloud than ever before - enhancing banks’ agility to respond to competition and changing business requirements. 

The definition of a core banking system has not changed significantly over the years. However, the core banking system’s offerings are evolving from highly functional individual systems to collaborative, open-banking-enabled platforms. Moreover, the shift to open-banking platforms is integrating all the stakeholders in the value chain: FinTechs, technology partners, bank employees, customers, regulatory authorities, and other banks.

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Core banking transformation brings about cost savings through labor savings, operational savings, reduced IT maintenance, and reduction in the cost of deposits. Business gains come from higher revenues through increased sales and growth in customer acquisition. Competitiveness improved due to faster rollout of products, product innovation, and product differentiation. Leading to intangible benefits such as an increase in market share and enhanced competitiveness.[2] 

Salient features to look for in a Core Banking Software 

Features common to core banking software are: 

  • Real-time account & transaction processing 
  • Financial product builder 
  • Customizable interface and product workflow 
  • Customer self-service portal & management 
  • Online payment processing & bill pay 
  • Customer interaction (e.g., live chat) 
  • Account-holder transaction history tracking 
  • Account-holder data & document store 
  • Multi-currency funds management 
  • Financial instrument workflow 
  • Accounting workflow 
  • Mobile app integration 
  • Ease of Transactions 
  • 24/7 Availability 
  • Ensuring Regulatory Compliance 
  • Ensuring High Security 
  • Improved Workflow and friction-free Back-office operations 
  • Multi-channel support 

To ensure all these activities are handled seamlessly, banks need to keep in mind some factors before they decide which core banking platform they wish to deploy. Mentioned below are most of the factors that banks have to scrutinize.[3] 

  1. Compliance Tracking 
    An efficient compliance monitoring program provides early insight into potential compliance challenges, enabling banks to quickly and easily resolve issues before they become serious. The enabling technology needs to provide data accuracy, real-time reports for management, real-time insight into emerging issues, and avoidance of enforcement actions, lower costs, and better resource optimization. 
  2. Online Retail Banking 
    Retail banks are undertaking rapid digital transformation, moving away from traditional banking systems. An omnichannel strategy that drives a consistent and unified experience is pertinent across banking channels to carry out financial transactions, payments, and transfers, transaction tracking using online banking.  
  3. Double factor authentication (2FA) 
    This feature mandates all users of a banking platform (bank admins, employees, agents, and customers) to verify themselves through a 2-factor authentication process. Two-factor authentication has made financial accounts more secure by requiring you to enter a PIN, OTP, or fingerprint along with a username & password. Consumers may find these security steps annoying, but they are essential. Two-factor authentication is valuable even if it’s not foolproof. 
  4. Customer Portal (Do-It-Yourself portals) 
    Banks have evolved to provide increased levels of online functionality. These bank portals allow their customers to access bank accounts remotely, to view policies, invoices, deliveries, orders, and to make new transactions and transfers. Customer portals provide customer satisfaction and better communication without tedious data entry for processing payments, loans, etc. 
  5. Integration with the Mobile Banking app 
    Customers switch to mobile banking apps because of the ease of use for everyday banking activities and increased options of personalization. Mobile apps eliminate the limitations of working hours and the locations of branches or ATMs. 
  6. Loan Management 
    Many banks have moved the loan management process to a paperless system. Additionally, disaster prevention on loan management software can dramatically increase visibility, accountability, and control in providing loans. The platform needs to provide turn-key, end-to-end securities-based lending that connects lenders seeking high-quality, collateralized loans with borrowers requiring convenient access to credit. The includes automation of loan applications, loan approvals, credit report preparation for clients, and loan disbursal process. 
  7. Multi-Currency 
    A growing number of financial institutions offer accounts to businesses and individuals holding money in multiple currencies. This is to allow them to make and receive payments in different currencies without the need for conversion, or to open an account with a foreign bank, hence saving time, costs, and efforts. 
  8. Risk Management 
    The global banking industry has been on a transformational journey on how to manage risk. To support it, platforms need to digitize their core processes, experiment with advanced analytics and machine learning, and enhance risk reporting 
  9. Financial Accounting 
    Banks are looking to automate most of their finance and accounting activities through digitization, cloud computing, and machine learning. Any core banking accounting software needs to incorporate all of this while taking care of all accounts and documents mandated by regulatory bodies. 
  10. Payments 
    Globally, mobile payment banks and wallets are mainstream, forming a significant market share in the banking sector. Payment banks have increased financial penetration and inclusion in areas where traditional banking was unable to reach. Paperless transactions, recorded at both ends, has become the norm. Modern core banking software has to support these payment channels. 
  11. Multi-channel strategy 
    Many banks have invested in IT infrastructure to deploy multi-channel initiatives for customers to access banking services. However, customers expect a consistent experience across those channels. For this, banks need to ensure that channels not be deployed in silos. But be intelligently integrated into the core system - making the customer experience seamless.
  12. Other features  
    Banking software solutions providers also offer big data analysis, cloud-enabled technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for fraud detection and prevention, marketing features for branding, integration with regulatory compliance mechanism, blockchain, and many more premium features. 

Key Market Players

Multiple vendors have developed core-banking solutions promising flexibility and usability in various functionalities such as business accounting and personal finance. In this white paper, we will be majorly focusing on the most prominent players in the market - Finacle developed by Infosys, FLEXCUBE introduced by Oracle Financial Services & Temenos. We compare the three platforms based on technology, modules provided, market presence, sales, and componentization to suggest the best platform.

key market

Technology[4]

FLEXCUBE, owned by Oracle Financial Services, is written in Java and runs over UNIX (IBM AIX, Oracle Solaris, and HP-UX) and Linux OS, and only on an Oracle Database. FLEXCUBE can be deployed on-premise as well as be a hosted solution via ASP. Private and public cloud projects, though majorly delivered on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), can also be delivered on other clouds such as AWS. 

EdgeVerve, a wholly-owned product subsidiary of Infosys, handles all services of Finacle. Finacle, coded with C/C++ and Java, is offered on UNIX/Oracle and Linux/ Db2 (z/OS)/ EnterpriseDB. Finacle can be deployed on-premise as well as be a hosted solution via ASP (notably, for a high number of rural banks in India) and private and public cloud SaaS (in / partnership with AWS). 

Temenos’ product, Transact, is coded in a domain-specific language and is used to generate Java, JavaScript, and XML. It runs on UNIX (HP, IBM, and Sun), Linux and Windows on Oracle, Db2, Microsoft SQL (Server and Azure), and NuoDB databases. Transact is mostly deployed on-premises. Temenos can be deployed on private and public SaaS (in partnership with Microsoft Azure) and is gaining traction in this space.

Modules

Key FLEXCUBE modules offered under different categories[5];

  • Digital Experience
  • Liquidity Management
  • Payments
  • Analytics Applications
  • Prime Sourcing
  • Universal Banking
  • Islamic Banking
  • Microfinance
  • Revenue Management and Billing
  • Cash Management
  • Corporate Lending
  • Credit Facilities 
  • Supply Chain Finance
  • Trade Finance 
  • Treasury Management
  • Virtual Account Management
  • Enterprise Limits and Collaterals
  • Enterprise Collections
  • Enterprise Originations
  • Enterprise Product Manufacturing
  • Investor Servicing 

Key Finacle modules[6];

  • Enterprise customer information
  • Retail Banking
  • Consumer banking
  • Corporate banking 
  • Commercial Lending
  • Private Banking
  • Trade finance
  • Customer analytics
  • Business Banking
  • Liquidity Management
  • Islamic banking
  • Limits & Collaterals
  • Payments 
  • Clearance
  • Enterprise CRM
  • Accounting
  • Origination 

Range of Temenos modules [7]

  • Payments
  • Retail Banking
  • Corporate Banking 
  • Universal Banking
  • Private Banking
  • Business Banking
  • Financial Crime Mitigation 
  • Islamic Banking
  • Microfinance
  • Regulatory Compliance 

Market Presence[4]

FLEXCUBE has over 800 installations worldwide. FLEXCUBE’s customer base are customers in every segment, including a few global banks.  

Finacle Core Banking Solution has more than 480 installations worldwide but is restricted to the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region. Its major customer base is universal banks in the small-to-midsize segment. 

Temenos Transact has over 800 installations worldwide. Its customer base is distributed across banks of all sizes, and the largest number is universal banks in the small to midsize segment.

Sales[4]
Oracle leverages its expansive worldwide network of offices to effectively selling and supporting FLEXCUBE to more than 150 countries. It also has a partner network across the globe. 

EdgeVerve’s go-to-market strategy is hub-based, with the company providing its services in 96 countries by leveraging its local partner network. 

Temenos has sales in 148 countries. And in areas where Temenos doesn’t operate directly, partners provide both installation and post-sale support. 

Componentization[4] 

FLEXCUBE has about 21 market components and 2,000 business services related to core banking - providing extensive parameterization of the core system and enhancing flexibility. The Oracle Cloud Marketplace has 50 third-party APIs for core banking and more than 1,500 supplementary APIs for banks to leverage. At 128, FLEXCUBE has the highest number of exposed microservices. The number is steadily increasing while transitioning into cloud-based components. 

Finacle has 36 independent market components and more than 1,200 business services that support several cloud-native components. The Finacle App Center is the app marketplace, with 60 third-party APIs diversified across many categories. 

Temenos’ app marketplace, called Temenos MarketPlace, has 122 third-party APIs. 

Our Recommendation / FLEXCUBE Advantage / Focus FLEXCUBE / FLEXCUBE First [8] 

Oracle Core Banking Product FLEXCUBE is our recommendation due to the following differentiators: 

  • Cloud-enabled / microservices-based architecture containerized: Java or similar modern language (not proprietary) to enable continuous development and DevOps for developers. 
  • Cloud-based microservices deployment: Applications in the cloud are smarter, scalable, and can dramatically improve application development. 
  • Componentized architecture: Components allow banks to more easily transform and take advantages of rapidly emerging ways of working and makes the operating model more flexible to accommodate new business requirements 
  • Multi-tenant (support for complex organization structures) allows institutions to provide infrastructure to third parties. 
  • 100% API exposure providing API management capabilities and RESTful API connectivity to facilitate integration and allows FIs to expose functions or data from applications. Critical for developer communities/portals. 
  • Embedded analytics and AI capabilities (ML for BI) to give FIs the ability to customize to the needs of the user/consumer. 
  • Open banking support as well as connectivity standards (e.g., IFX, ISO 20022, etc.). 
  • Extensibility through coded plug-ins or configurable parameters (development tools). 
  • Internationalization features: multi-language, multi-currency, multi-time zone.
  • Customer experience: Drives enhanced customer engagement and value with next-generation digital capabilities and user experiences. 
  • Process Automation: Improves insight generation and enhances straight-through processing with intelligent decision-making and automation using technologies like machine learning and natural language processing.
  • Third-party integration: Enables rapid and secure integration and collaboration with third-party firms and ecosystems through externalized business services and open architecture. 
  • Progressive Transformation by offering multiple transformation paths with best-in-class, off-the-shelf capabilities and reintegrated components. 
  • Multiple deployment options across on-premises, cloud, and multiple deployment models. 
  • Excellent partner ecosystem to support customers.

References
[1] https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/core-banking-systems
[2] https://www.capgemini.com/se-en/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/07/core_banking_transformation_measuring_the_value.pdf
[3] https://www.goodfirms.co/banking-software/
[4] Gartner - Magic Quadrant for Global Retail Core Banking
[5] https://docs.oracle.com/cd/F20443_01/index.htm
[6] Finacle Core Banking Brochure
[7] https://www.temenos.com/products/
[8] https://www.oracle.com/be-nl/industries/financial-services/banking/flexcube-universal-banking/