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Single ATM software approach delivers competitive edge for China Everbright Bank

Presentation to ATMIA China by Ms Zhou Yili, deputy general manager of E- Banking Department, China Everbright Bank


Dear guests, 

China Everbright Bank (CEB) is a pioneer for ATM networks running multivendor software in China. The project has run smoothly for more than five years. We have benefitted significantly from the project, both on the business development side and the technical support side. There is no doubt that the decision to start the multivendor ATM software project in 2006 was very wise. 

The success of this project has delivered a strong consistent platform for the development of our self-service channels. As an extension of CEB’s branch cash service, ATMs face customers directly, and distribute widely. The ATM is a very important channel to promote our customer service image and further develop business. There were many difficulties that blocked the business development in the self-service channel because in 2005 there were no standards for ATMC in CEB:


A. No uniform ATM interface and service


Let’s see it from the customer’s experience. Different user interfaces, differently branded ATMs, different operating rules, different receipts, different advertisements and so forth. They were all different. The customer always got variable service and experience, which damaged the bank’s image.


B. Many versions and high upgrade costs


Every hardware vendor had unique ATMC, which meant the bank’s IT team had to learn different ATMC operating rules and how to manage a variety of ATMC versions. Repeated development, testing, piloting and so on raised operating costs and time.


C. Lack of efficient management and control


It is very difficult for a bank to efficiently manage its ATM network when faced with a wide variety of independent ATMC software on different hardware, for example, the “remote information collection of cash box and error”, “uniform software distribution” and “remote device control”. Problems could not be fixed quickly without efficient management tools. All were out of control.


D. Slow response to business requirements


With the booming development of CEB’s new business, the demands on IT support got higher and higher. New ideas and business initiatives need to be shown to customers as soon as possible. However, the quick development of self-service channels was restricted due to the lack of efficient management caused by the variety of different ATMC software in the network. 


In order to fix the above issues, CEB started to discuss and investigate an ATM multivendor approach. The leaders at CEB paid great attention to the project and made it top priority for the electronic data processing projects in CEB 2006. The project chose KAL’s software and Shenzhen Zijin’s implementation team, compliant with CEN/XFS, who kicked off in March of 2006 and completed deployment across the of whole China by November 2006. In only eight months, we completed the deployment of ATMC on the cash self-service machines in all our branches. 


The management of CEB’s self- service channel jumped into a new world. “Many, quick, excellent, economical” are the four words that describe the project from an implementation, scope, time, achievement and project cost point of view. It was awarded the “Best financial IT project in 2006” in China’s Financial IT Forum.


Here are the following achievements from the project:


A. Uniform and consistent service


After the implementation of the project, two kinds of standardisation were achieved across all brands and types of ATMs. One is external unification for the customer: uniform interface, uniform business category and processes, uniform operation rules, uniform receipts and so forth to customers. The other one is internal unification: To the administrators in the bank, operation rules, journal rules, software distribution, remote controls et cetera. All of these things are uniform.


B. Better and quicker support for business


a. Quicker response to new business


After the project, the IT team in CEB’s head office only needed to develop and test updates on the one platform for new business requirements, which saved a lot of time and resources compared to before the project, when IT teams had to develop and test on multiple ATMC versions. Head Office now develops all the special business in different branches and can offer stronger technical support to all branches.


b. Faster distribution of new business


Before the project, branches had to go on-site to upgrade the software on every ATM. It could take anywhere between two weeks and a month just to complete a single upgrade because the different brands of ATM required different ATMC software. After the project, however, Head Office can distribute upgrades remotely. The distribution of new business can now be completed in just one night. It’s a remarkable improvement.


c. Better promotion of new business


Multivendor ATMC enables an abundance of communication mediums, such as sound, picture, word, cartoon, video and so forth. This allows us to develop new advertisement and broadcast strategies. High-quality multimedia advertisements can now be broadcast in real-time on all self-service machines in CEB and be controlled by Head Office, just like software updates. Business development can take full advantage of advertising on ATMs.


C. Standardisation of management and maintenance


a. Branches needn’t manage versions any more


After the project, the ATMC version management model was changed into “bank head office—ATM”. The bank’s head office distributes updates automatically. What branches need to do is just check the results of updates, which reduces the need for, and simplifies the work and reduces the costs for the HW management department and maintenance vendors


b. More convenient maintenance from first-line administrators


After the project, many additional functions have been added into the Administration system, for example “suspicious transaction lists”, “deposit till information”, “issue check”, “journal search”. The administrator can search error accounts, journals, and suspicious transactions and so on very easily. First-line administrators are therefore released from heavy maintenance work.


c. Increased automation


The multivendor software is able to automatically check and restore error transactions, including “download key”, “check hardware and restore”, “transfer broken-point continuously” etc. And with on-time reboot on conditions of no transaction, hardware can restore more automatically with less human resources.


D. Simplified ATM purchase


Since the project, CEB have much more flexibility and choice regarding ATM purchases. All ATMs which are compliant with CEN/XFS will work. CEB don’t need to take application development into consideration. So both the bank and HW vendors are more and more clear about work and responsibility. Issues can be fixed more easily than before. The process of purchase is simpler and more universal. CEB takes back control the risks on HW purchase and operation.


The quick and healthy development of CEB’s self-service machine channel in the past five years would not have happened without the ATM multi-vendor project. 


Meanwhile, CEB has never stopped innovating on new business and service models based on CEB’s excellent system platform, which made the development of self-service channels co-operate with other channels well:


A. Centralised monitoring from head office


CEB formed a central monitoring team in the head office in August 2010, which is responsible for the real-time monitoring of about 5000 cash machines in 33 countrywide branches. Any issues like “new device”, “HW error”, “full of notes”, and “lack of notes” can all be followed by the team in head office, and then fed back to local branches, which enhances the management efficiency of the self-service channel. The operating ratio of cash machines in CEB today has reached 97%.


Centralised monitoring from head office enhances the efficiency of hardware troubleshooting and pushed branches and maintenance vendors to fix problems in time through the performance review chart in the admin system. A knowledge share platform was developed and works very well in CEB on which all issues and solutions about ATM operations were shared.


B. Call-out automatically in case of card confiscation


Quick responses to card-swallowing incidents are of particular importance in terms of the customer’s perception of the self-service channel. Since Nov 2010, CEB now attempts to call all customers whose card has for some reasons been confiscated by the ATM. If a customer’s card is swallowed, the self-service monitoring team realise immediately and alert the customer by telephone. 


In the four months we have been running this service, we discovered that 95% of card-swallowing issues were because customers forgot to take their cards. When our monitoring team contacted customers immediately, they thought this was excellent service, and gave a high-score when reviewing the service. CEB is the first Chinese bank to offer this service, and we will continue to offer improved customer services to enhance CEB’s service brand.


C. Co-operate with customer-service channel


As an E-banking channel, self-service channels cooperate with other channels closely. After the successful deployment of the ATM multi-vendor project, the information about hardware status, cash boxes, swallowed cards, hardware addresses etc, can all be monitored real-time on a centralised platform. Customer service staff can provide customers with a one-stop service because they can collect all the related information from the platform when customers call 95595 for help. 


Before the project, customer service staff could only direct customers to the local branch for help. What’s more, additional services can now be offered too. For example, if a customer calls 95595 and asks whether there are any ATMs near Chang’an Mall, the customer service staff can check the location of ATMs and the status of ATMs and cash boxes, all at once. If an ATM is not working normally, or out of cash, then the customer services staff can tell the customer how to reach the nearest in-service ATM. 


Additional services improve customer satisfaction and wouldn’t be possible without the strong support from the multivendor platform. Plus, we are now looking to offer video customer services on ATMs as well.


D. Paperless receipts across the whole CEB


After the ATM multivendor project, another great improvement in CEB is paperless receipts. Paperless receipts were first piloted in the Chengdu Branch and Beijing Branches. With the booming growth of ATM business, CEB encountered the following problems when using printed receipts as the customer’s proof of ATM transaction: 


  1. high costs of receipt printer consumables. 
  2. high costs of receipt storage. 
  3. high failure rates of the receipt-printing module affecting ATMs operating ratios. 
  4. bad for the environment.

The mission of this project is to develop paperless receipt software, on which the e-receipts from all the branches can be uploaded to a specific E-receipt server. The E-receipts are stored in the server by category according to certain rules. ATM administrators can search the transaction receipts of any ATM at any time through indexing by ATM number and date, which enhances the efficiency of receipts management.


CEB benefits a lot from E-receipt uploading. First of all, business departments can take advantage of the abundance of customer info and can data-mine customer’s transactions to optimise channel functions and further improve the customer experience. Secondly, with user-friendly interfaces and explanations for every operation, all the related information can be read easily even without a professional background. Error transactions can be handled with higher efficiency as well. Third, based on the e-receipt, the verification of accounts can be done automatically between ATMs and the core system, and produce an account reconciliation report every day. Bank staff no longer has the pressure of accounts verification.


E. Boost non-cash machines multivendor project


Cash machine multivendor projects in CEB are very successful. The multivendor platform enhances the customer’s experience, improves CEB’s operational efficiency, helps self-service channel make more money, and maintains CEB’s pioneering position within the highly competitive banking industry. 


The successful story of cash machines tells us CEB need a uniform platform to solve the problems of hardware from different vendors, so CEB can concentrate more on business development. An excellent platform can offer strong support to a bank’s business, so we now plan a non-cash machine multi-vendor project for 2011, where all non-cash machines will be managed by head office centrally and the value of non-cash machines will be raised as well. 


The plan is the non-cash multivendor project will boost CEB’s self-service channel, to make it more efficient, dedicated and as close to perfection as possible.


This is our introduction of CEB’s ATM multivendor software project and our business development plan based on a multi-vendor platform. Please feel free to raise any questions.


Thank you.


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