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ATB Financial reaps the benefits of Universal Confirmations

ATB Financial reaps the benefits of Universal Confirmations

26 October 2020 | 4 min read

Since going live with its Universal Confirmations project, Canada-based ATB Financial has witnessed significant operational benefits, reducing payment investigation cases by almost half, as well as delivering a better experience to its customers.

For Canada-based ATB Financial, its Universal Confirmations journey began in 2019 after attending a SWIFT community webinar about the initiative. 

“At ATB we make things as easy as possible for our customers and our colleagues, so for this reason we wanted to explore and analyse the benefits of the SWIFT Tracker, and to enhance the visibility on payment statuses,” said Ade Ogedengbe, Senior Product Manager at the bank.

A hybrid implementation

ATB Financial opted for a hybrid approach to Universal Confirmations, harnessing both an automated solution using MT199 messages, and the Basic Tracker, Ogedengbe explains. “For each incoming MT 103, we send an automated MT 199 confirmation with a 15 minute interval, so that's pretty much near real time for credited payments. For payments that are placed on hold, at the end of the day we send an automated or load confirmations for these.”

The Basic Tracker, meanwhile, is used as a backup for in case of exceptions, rejections or technical glitches which require manual intervention. ATB Financial also uses the monitoring tools within the Basic Tracker to measure their Universal Confirmations compliance levels, “an important consideration for anyone implementing Universal Confirmations”, said Ogedengbe.

Reaping the benefits

The results have been extremely positive, says Christine Bruneau, Leader Wire Operations at ATB Financial. “One of the most manual tasks completed by our operations team is wire tracing investigation. And this is really an area where we've seen great improvements due to our Universal Confirmations implementation,” she said.

Trace and investigation has never felt better. With the Basic Tracker, our team can focus on operational excellence and customer satisfaction.

Christine Bruneau, Leader Wire Operations, ATB Financial

The Basic Tracker has become the “go to tool” for the ATB team. “It can provide us an almost real time indication of the status and the wire location. This enables us to improve our customer experience with the ability to give an almost real time response without further action.”

The numbers speak for themselves. “It's allowed us to expedite by about 30%,” said Bruneau. “The ability to see the current status and location of the wire provides us insight into the best course of action, and it'll yield the best investigation results.” New investigation cases for both incoming and outgoing transactions has dropped by 49% too, she added.

Key stats

  • 35,000 auto confirmations sent
  • 95%+ rule book compliance 
  • 49% drop in new investigation cases for both incoming and outgoing wires

Lessons and takeaways

What lessons did ATB take away from their project? “We found that utilising the tools provided by SWIFT, such as the SWIFTsmart online learning was absolutely key for understanding requirements,” said Christine.

Once implementation was completed, monitoring automated processes to ensure messages were being sent as expected was key. “Although there is monitoring from SWIFT, the compliance results are based on transactions from two weeks ago, so monitoring helped us to navigate in the very early stages and adjust our internal processes,” said Christine.

Until this point, wire investigation was less predictable and more time consuming. The Basic Tracker transforms the entire experience for my team and in turn value delivery to the customer. 

Christine Bruneau, Leader Wire Operations, ATB Financial

The bank also found that with the tracking information at their fingertips, they’re now able to use the UETR to provide visibility to their customers for inbound payments too. “This gives our team the ability to assist our customers in areas before that we had no visibility on and it's been a great thing,” said Christine.

Looking ahead

With its Universal Confirmations project under its belt, ATB Financial is now looking to benefit further from payments tracking with a full SWIFT gpi implementation. It’s aiming to start by the end of the year. 

“We're really excited to see the future as a full SWIFT gpi member with the enhanced functionality at our fingertips. We couldn't have done it and it wouldn't have been possible without dedication of and expertise of our key members that really embraced the process to learn and understand,” said Christine.

Find out more

Want to hear more about ATB Financial’s Universal Confirmations journey? You can watch the recording of our session from Sibos 2020 for free using the link below.

Watch session