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INTERNATIONAL BYTES

The International Commerce Bank of China builds e-banking platform with Octasoft software; HSBC online market service offers market data from eBRIDGE; Jordan National Bank to use Internet-based foreign exchange service from Cognotec; Bank of Scotland Treasury Services implements FX solution from Summit Systems; National Australia Bank teams with Vodafone Australia and ACI Worldwide to offer customers the ability to purchase pre-paid mobile phone recharge services at ATMs.

The International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Taipei, will use software provided by U.S.-based Octasoft to build an e-banking services platform based on XML standards.

When completed, the new platform will allow ICBC corporate customers to conduct transactions over the Internet more speedily, saving both time and money.

The bank is also making the transaction to comply with new standards--the Bankers Association of the Republic of China is expected to push XML as the standard platform for e-banking transactions throughout Taiwan.

"Electronic commerce has been our strategic focus for some time as Taiwan companies rapidly adopt Internet-based financial services, and the XML e-banking project is key to that strategy beginning this year," said Chi-Chu Chen, executive vice president, ICBC. "After building the XML cross platform for e-banking services, enterprises will only need to apply once for an authentication certificate, and then they can freely transfer or remit funds between different banks."

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HSBC, Hong Kong, will offer live market data from eBRIDGE, a subsidiary of new York-based Bridge Information Systems, to customers of its online market service at www.markets.hsbc.com.

The HSBC online market service provides foreign exchange and bond prices, interest rates, regional news and economic indicators. By using eBRIDGE's Internet Toolkit to create a market data section at the online market, the bank can optimize the delivery and display of BRIDGE financial information, analysis and Web tools.

"HSBC is constantly enhancing its client services, and the ability to provide live market data adds value to out online offering," said Tony Cripps, head of E-Commerce, Treasury and Capital Market Asia Pacific, HSBC. "We are a bank, not a technology company, so we turned to BRIDGE for both its content as well as its expertise in Internet technology and development."

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Jordan International Bank (JIB) will use an Internet-based foreign exchange dealing service developed by Cognotec, Dublin, Ireland.

The service, called AutoDeal DIRECT, allows JIB to offer its clients a browser-based automated foreign exchange dealing service with low up-front implementation costs, transaction-based charging and quick time to market. AutoDeal DIRECT also allows the bank to choose other financial institutions to act as liquidity providers to assume the market risk of their customers' positions, while retaining the user's identity and credit risk.

"Our clients are growing increasingly sophisticated and expect JIB to offer the most up-to-date services," said Basil Kekhia, senior assistant general manager and treasurer, Jordan International Bank. "AutoDeal DIRECT has allowed us to offer them a more efficient service while passing up the market risk on their positions to another institution. It is a flexible and practical solution to our needs."

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Bank of Scotland Treasury Services (BOSTS) has completed implementation of an integrated front and middle-office FX solution from Summit Systems, New York.

The system, which first went live in June, now covers all of BOSTS trading areas in Glasgow and London with a single, integrated high-volume FX solution. Summit's real-time credit risk system gives traders and managers an instant view on their exposures via the same distributed architecture that powers real-time trade position screens. The product also incorporates real-time trade feeds from Reuters Dealing 3000 and EBS, and interfaces FX to BOSTS's existing back office system.

"We wanted a single system across the dealing operation, and Summit provided the core software, enhancements and problem resolutions in a timely and efficient manner," said Angus Cameron, deputy chief executive, Bank of Scotland Treasury Services.

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National Australia Bank (NAB) has teamed with Vodafone Australia and ACI Worldwide to allow customers to purchase pre-paid mobile phone recharge services at the bank's ATMs.

By using ACI Worldwide's BASE24 software to route and authorize e-payment transactions, customers can recharge their Vodafone mobile service by inserting their ATM card at a NAB ATM, entering their PIN, selecting the option for prepaid cellular phone recharging and choosing the amount desired. The ATM will them provide the customer with a single receipt confirming the withdrawal transaction, bank account balance and the 12-digit recharge number. Customers can then recharge their phones by dialing the number.

"Pre-paid phones have always been a convenient way to own a mobile phone, with no monthly bills and no contracts to sign," said Bill Stone, head of marketing, Vodafone Australia. "Being able to recharge a Vodafone FastFone at NAB ATMs offers our customers even greater convenience."

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