Thailand’s largest bank by assets, Bangkok Bank, has become the first Asian lender to join the community of The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) – the not-for-profit association of leading banks and vendor.

According to the executive director of BIAN, Hans Tesselaar, Bangkok Bank’s collaboration will "ensure" BIAN’s efforts to have a "truly global scope".

Tesselaar, said: "Asian financial institutions are embarking on a wave of core system renewals and upgrades, as new foreign entrants are forcing domestic enhancements. Celent predict spend on core systems in APAC to exceed $2bn in 2013.

"Integration costs can be as much as triple the purchase cost of software, meaning these banks could be spending up to $6bn on integration, which is in this moment of time, unnecessary. It is imperative that Asian banks collaborate with their international peers when planning these core banking projects and adopt open standards for SOA."

EVP of Bangkok Bank, Ian Guy Gillard, added, "The bank adopted a service-oriented architecture over 15 years ago with the objectives of improved agility, reduced cost and improved consistency. In the past five years, we have implemented newer technologies based on web services to expand and update the infrastructure supporting our SOA.

"We view standardisation across the industry – amongst both financial institutions and vendors – as the key to realising the promise of SOA and simplifying the integration effort of major projects."

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Alongside Bangkok Bank, India-headquartered financial consultancy services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has also joined the BIAN community.

Austria headquartered Erste Group as well as financial services consultancy firm Axxiome have also joined BIAN’s virtual community.

Group CIO for Erste, Christian Gosch, said: "To stay competitive in the long run, banks need to leverage investment in core banking infrastructure with peers and embrace open standards – ‘coopetition’. BIAN is building these standards for easier software selection and far less costly integration.

"Treating core banking infrastructure as a commodity will allow us to put more emphasis on innovation and areas where IT can bring competitive advantage."

The latest member additions bring BIAN’s total network membership to 34, comprising 15 banks and 19 systems integrators and software vendors.

BIAN has also formed its first academic partnership with Singapore Management University (SMU). The university plans to "interconnect the leading core banking solutions using the BIAN service landscape".

SMU has designed a multi-year programme – SMU Teaching Bank for Financial Services Technology Education (SMU Teaching Bank) – aiming to have a teaching bank built from the ground up, using a variety of vendor products, to demonstrate real change scenarios such as a core banking system replacement or a bank merger.