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FSTC POC: Web Services for Cash Management System Integration

FSTC Issues Results of Web Services Proof of Concept

New York, NY, USA. September 26, 2003.

The Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) today announced the results of a proof of concept to develop a set of Web services for cash management system integration. The test was aimed at validating the use of Web services technologies for cash management application and data integration for bank-to-bank and bank-to-customer connections. FSTC brought together Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wachovia, NEC and its consulting arm Niteo Partners, and Sun Microsystems in this five-month initiative to test aspects of interoperability, security, and the reliability of Web services technologies when applied to multi-bank reporting services in treasury management. The project produced a set of Web services, reference implementation, and next generation treasury portal to demonstrate the utility of the services developed.

Some of the key results of this project include:

  • A reference implementation generated from the test, comprised of a re-usable architecture and set of technical specifications that can be developed into commercial offerings, provides project participants a valuable set of baseline Web services and a detailed set of supporting technical and business documentation for planning and developing banking applications in .NET and Java environments.

  • The assessment that more work in technical standards and interoperability is needed, particularly for applications and bank interactions that require end-to-end security and reliability to meet expected service levels.

  • The realization that additional industry efforts are needed to address issues of including attachments and the transport of non-XML data using SOAP messaging.

The first phase of the project also concluded that interoperability at the interface level is very immature. In addition, having multiple open source and commercial technologies use a common Web services description language (WSDL) file is problematic as the automatic code generators carry numerous bugs. Fortunately, implementations can typically be made to conform with some re- programming of the generated code.

Also, project participants found through this hands-on activity that security, including key management, must be examined and tested carefully in banking applications since security interoperability is very immature in open source code and commercial offerings. XML signature and encryption packages proved difficult to use across heterogeneous technology platforms.

The project further recommended that financial institutions should remain optimistic about the benefits pledged by these technologies for partner, customer, and enterprise integration, and that the transition to Web services technologies requires a careful examination of the underlying service architecture required to provide manageable, secure, and reliable financial applications.

"The value and core technologies produced in this first phase project are now being leveraged into a number of next phase activities," said Mike Versace, director of financial services for Niteo Partners, the consulting arm of NEC in North America. "These include a closer examination of the business economics for these technologies to replace existing financial data exchange methods used today for corporate and retail banking applications. This process will include the deployment of phase one services in a live customer pilot, and adding additional business services to the architecture to support identity assertions, payments, fraud reporting, and other financial transactions."

"FSTC provided the perfect collaborative setting to tackle the interoperability challenges of bank-to-bank cash management," said Zachary Tumin, executive director of FSTC. "Our members are pleased with insights from the initial phase of the project and plan to further explore the use of Web services in financial services applications."

About FSTC

FSTC is a financial industry research organization comprised of banks, financial service firms, industry partners, national laboratories, universities and government agencies. Its goal is to bring forward interoperable, open-standard technologies for the financial services industry that makes possible new products and services. FSTC projects push the envelope of financial services technology, focusing on areas where industry collaboration is possible, and needed, to enable new products, reduce costs and risk, or expand market reach. FSTC provides a unique forum for financial institutions and vendors to work together on taking ideas from concept to pilot to the marketplace. For more information, visit


Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See also: FSTC Completes Industry Assessment of Liberty Alliance and SAML Technologies. Report Identifies Opportunities for Financial Institutions to Extend Trusted Relationships with Customers and Employees Out to Third Parties."

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