With today’s customers demanding ultra-fast and convenient banking services via mobile devices, the Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries (BBAC) has transformed its core banking infrastructure with Fusion Equation. This has paved the way for more convenient digital banking services and enhanced the core banking system that underpins the bank’s customer-facing services and strengthened its regulatory compliance. BBAC now benefits from cutting-edge functionalities enabling new digital banking services that customers can access anytime, anywhere from the device of their choice and has freed resources so it can focus on business-critical operations.
The challenge banking is facing is changing rapidly in the digital age, with people increasingly choosing to open accounts and manage their money online.
To deliver innovative, compliant banking services both in-store and online, BBAC set out to upgrade its core banking solution – paving the way for digital innovation while ensuring full compliance with regulatory standards.
The solution to satisfy recent changes to SWIFT regulations and build modern, digitally-enabled services, BBAC modernised its core banking infrastructure with a smooth upgrade to the latest version of Fusion Equation. To compliment the upgrade, BBAC is integrating its core banking system with Fusion Teller to drive more efficient in-branch operations.
The result following its upgrade is that BBAC can meet customer expectations for fast, convenient, and secure online and in-branch banking services. The upgrade also opens the door to cutting-edge product development – helping the bank to stay ahead in a rapidly changing sector without compromising regulatory compliance.
BBAC has evolved its core banking infrastructure with Fusion Equation, paving the way for the development of more convenient, digital banking services.
Meeting evolving expectations
Today’s customers increasingly expect ultra-fast, convenient, omnichannel banking services. To stay ahead of competitors and market disruptors, banks must develop attractive products and services that meet these evolving expectations.
With over 60 years’ experience as a regional leader in the Middle Eastern banking sector, BBAC is no stranger to innovation. Recently, the bank set out to expand both its physical and digital presence.
Toufic Abi Farraj, Head of IT Department at BBAC, said: “The world of banking is changing fast. Now, many of our customers expect to be able to access their accounts online and via mobile devices, quickly and conveniently. To ensure that we can deliver reliable and secure digital touchpoints for our customers, we set out to enhance the core banking system that underpins our customer-facing services.”
While BBAC was keen to extend its digital offerings, the bank aimed to do so without threatening the quality of its in-branch services. Toufic Abi Farraj continues: “Many of our customers still like to visit us in person, so we are determined to continue to develop our in-branch services in line with our expanding digital portfolio. We also looked to enhance the operational efficiency of each of our branches by improving the teller system that our staff use to serve customers.
“What’s more, with major regulatory bodies such as SWIFT introducing new changes, we viewed the upgrade of our core system as an ideal opportunity to strengthen our regulatory compliance and fully prepare for future changes in our industry.”
Superior customer experience
Since upgrading Fusion Equation, the bank is taking advantage of cutting-edge functionalities to enable new digital banking services that customers can access anytime, anywhere from the device of their choice.
“With a feature-rich, reliable and ultra-secure core banking system, we can offer customers more convenient ways to manage their finances,” said Toufic Abi Farraj.
“Fusion Equation is helping us to expand our existing customer base and appeal to younger generation customers who prefer to service their bank accounts online and/or via mobile devices. Reaching out to this growing demographic with new digital services will help us to increase our market share in the years ahead.
“We also expect to see a significant improvement in the operational efficiency of in-branch activities. With Fusion Teller at their fingertips, our branch staff can offer relevant, personalised support for every customer without having to spend lots of time searching through customer records. Lifting customer service in-branch in this way will help us cater for customers who prefer a more traditional, hands-on banking experience.”
To develop the capabilities that will help it bring modern, convenient and compliant banking services to customers both online and in-store, BBAC upgraded its core banking system to the latest version of Fusion Equation. The bank is also integrating Fusion Teller across all branches.
“We appreciate our strong relationship with Finastra, and truly value their expert assistance and professionalism. With Finastra’s help, we have established an open, future-ready core banking platform,” said Toufic Abi Farraj.
With the latest version of Fusion Equation in place, BBAC aims to simplify and standardise core processes, helping to optimise operations, increase efficiency, and keep up with the rate of change in the market. What’s more, harmonised and standardised systems will make it easier for BBAC to adapt to any future changes and mitigate business risk generated by compliance issues.
Toufic Abi Farraj explains: “Fusion Equation 4.3 delivers a much more modern, and intuitive user interface, which empowers our staff to complete the work more efficiently – boosting overall productivity. From a product development perspective, the open APIs built into the platform will enable us to integrate our core system with other third-party services, enabling us to develop a host of new offerings for our customers.”
BBAC is also a long-standing user of Fusion Trade Innovation, which it uses to drive more reliable and efficient trade and supply chain finance operations for business customers.
Successful upgrade journey
BBAC utilised the Fusion Advance service, a proven upgrade methodology which has allowed Finastra to successfully complete many complex and diverse upgrade projects over the last two years.
The bank finalised a two-phase process, with the major upgrade finished by mid-year and the final phase successfully implemented in just over six weeks. Finastra worked with BBAC through on-site local support, underpinned by a flexible and scalable remote team, who were available 24/7 during the upgrade.
The team followed industry best practice and used innovative automated tools to ensure an effective and streamlined upgrade, which freed bank resources to focus on business-critical operations. Through the Fusion Advance approach, BBAC worked with the Finastra Global Services team to ensure that the upgrade was delivered to a high quality, and also slightly ahead of schedule, giving the bank time to mitigate the risks and complete testing before the regulatory deadline.
Toufic Abi Farraj said: “We completed the upgrade of our core banking system on time and on budget- enabling us to fast-track product innovation. The expertise and the comprehensive support of Finastra Global Services enabled us to upgrade our system seamlessly without causing any downtime.”
BBAC’s partnership with Finastra goes back over 35 years: it was the first bank in Lebanon to implement Finastra solutions. Banks across the Middle East soon followed suit once they recognised that Finastra offerings could transform their banking services.
“Finastra provided excellent guidance throughout our upgrade journey,” said Toufic Abi Farraj. “We are really excited to embark on the next chapter of our partnership with Finastra and continue enhancing our systems and services to deliver more value to our business and our customers and take our Digital Transformation journey to the next stage.”
Toufic Abi Farraj concludes: “With Finastra supporting us every step of the way, we are able to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the banking industry and develop the innovative digital solutions that our customers love.”