Rafidain Bank overhauls core banking systems

Iraq's largest bank deploys new core banking and communications in international branches, begins work to add Iraqi branches

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By  Mark Sutton Published  January 14, 2009

Rafidain Bank, Iraq’s largest bank, has gone live with new communications and core banking systems for its international branches.

The project, which includes hardware, a communications network and Misys solutions, has been rolled out for branches in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, UAE and Bahrain by Misys partner B-Plan Information Systems, to provide an updated platform for the bank to operate from.

The project is part of a modernization program for state-owned banks in Iraq, and includes the deployment of electronic clearing systems and Misys Bankmaster and Branchpower solutions. When completed, the banking system will allow Rafidain to offer more modern banking services to its customers and improve its operations.

B-Plan Information Systems will now begin work on rolling out the project to the bank’s 147 locations within Iraq. The bank aims to roll out the system to three branches per week in Iraq, although the roll out will depend on the security situation in specific locations, and the availability of technical teams that can operate safely in different areas.

The core banking system is initially being hosted by B-Plan in Jordan, with a second system due to be put in place in Baghdad within a few months. The bank will then switchover to hosting the system from Iraq, with Jordan acting as a disaster recovery site.

This method was selected in part to allow the initial deployment in a more secure location, and in part to overcome the shortage of skilled data centre and banking workers in Iraq. The bank is currently recruiting new workers and training them in Jordan, although B-Plan will continue to run the deployment until enough personnel are in place at Rafidain for a complete handover.

Roy Froud, Misys general manager for Middle East and Africa, said: “The provision of a functioning and sophisticated banking system is central to the economic development of any country. For Iraq this service is particularly vital and we are delighted to see our solutions going live for one of the country’s leading banks and helping support both its national and international operations. The progression of the roll out across the Iraqi branch network will give Iraq’s banking community a huge boost in its capabilities and its international standing.”

Shirko Abid, CEO of B-Plan, added: “The advanced solution and the broad regional experience Misys has built up over the last two decades, coupled with our strong position as a provider of mission-critical turnkey solutions was crucial to the deal. To see it now come to fruition as the network goes live is very gratifying.”

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