NAB completes SWIFT gateway overhaul

National Australia Bank claims better project management through agile methodology
Written by Tim Lohman, Contributor

National Australia Bank (NAB) has successfully deployed a major new SWIFT payments gateway, better positioning the bank for growth and sector-wide transformation in the payments space.

The gateway, deployed earlier this year, is currently handling some 85,000 transactions daily and an average total daily settlement value of more than AU$200 billion for NAB's Australian, Asian, London and New York businesses.

According to NAB's executive general manager customer payments & processing, Stephen White, the new gateway was delivered in nine months, on time and on budget, in junction with partnership with IBM, Telstra and SWIFT.

The new system, which replaces legacy and end-of-life systems, is notable for having been based upon an 'out-of-the-box' solution and industry standards, White said.

"SWIFT is the standard industry-based practice for an international gateway — they are the industry standard, so we chose the best," he said.

"[The project] uses industry standard software, and has been delivered in a manner which is reliable and for future versions and changes we have something which is standard industry practice. It has allowed us to be much more resilient and reliable."

The project was also notable for having made heavy use of the agile project development methodology. According to White, the methodology has helped the bank achieve a higher run-rate of successful projects.

"Agile is becoming more popular in the market… and has allowed us to be much clearer on objectives on projects, with partners, with suppliers, with our own people and with customers," he said.

"Agile methodology has allowed us to focus on the critical path and that brings out key dependencies, issues and risks and so makes us more clever and dynamic. We at NAB are looking to deliver projects on time, on budget and on schedule and with the right quality and that methodology is helping us in that regard."

Commenting on the drivers for the new payments gateway project, White said the project fit into a wider technology refresh and modernisation initiative under way at the bank. The initiative will help the bank better withstand new market entrants and the rapid transformation underway in the financial service sector.  

"We have been for a the last few years been undertaking a total technology transformation which is putting us in a stronger position and making us more agile for the changes to come," he said. "This is part of an overall payments transformation… and gives us a stronger platform for more agile opportunities as they come in the future."

By way of example, White said the increasing use of mobile technologies for consumer payments, as well as disruptor companies such as PayPal were also driving change in the payments space.

"There is also the NPP — the new payments platform — which the RBA is leading… that will be game changing for the industry," he said. "That along with every changing customer needs means NAB will need to develop platforms to deal with those changes."  

Editorial standards