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1985
Banking without the MOPEDS

With ANDRÉ CICHOWLAS,
Head of Capgemini Group Quality and Delivery

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Banking without the MOPEDS

What method could be more efficient than a moped to carry out the 50 million daily interbank transactions between French banks—the equivalent of France’s GNP? That’s the challenge Capgemini took on in the mid-1980s.

A banking challenge

France’s 13 leading banks faced a daunting task: to create a faster and more reliable method for managing interbank clearing systems: the mechanism that enables wire transfers or withdrawals. The process in place had grown enormously outdated. It relied on nine regional exchange centers for check images and nine computers that still processed information using magnetic strips delivered each day to 104 clearing houses by moped!

50 million
Number of daily interbank transactions

ANDRÉ CICHOWLAS
Head of Delivery at Capgemini Group

A new teletransmission network

Capgemini was selected to develop the new interbank clearing system (called SIT in French). “It was a real revolution. Previously, exchanges were centralized at fixed times on magnetic strips. We needed to create something completely new: a decentralized remote transmission network,” says André Cichowlas, who was assigned to the project as a young engineer fresh out of the École Polytechnique. “We had to build everything from scratch: develop low telecom layers in computers, for example, or produce physical components for the networks.” SIT was put into service in 1990—with a few surprises, of course. “During the trials, we noticed the SIT would shut down each day between 6:00 and 6:30 AM. It turned out that the cleaning lady was unplugging the system so she could plug in a vacuum!”


During the trials, we noticed the SIT would shut down each day between 6:00 and 6:30 AM. It turned out that the cleaning lady was unplugging the system so she could plug in a vacuum!
ANDRÉ CICHOWLAS

An international system

A new version of the system, called STET-CORE (the French acronym for Technology Systems for Exchange and Processing), was implemented in 2005 in half the time. In the years that followed, Capgemini installed similar systems around the world, notably in Japan, and worked on developing the architecture for the global SWIFT network— a banking operations processing system that handles most of today’s international transfers. Backed by its expertise developed since then, Capgemini publishes the world’s most recognized annual report on the payment industry, the World Payments Report.

To learn more about Capgemini’s financial services and banking, visit : https://www.capgemini.com/banking-and-capital-markets

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