Success Story: BNP Paribas Fortis

Axway enables automation of bulk payment transfers

  • Headquarters

    Utrecht, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Replace inefficient, unreliable magnetic tape system with automated, scalable, high-performance file transfer solution

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Single window
    • ƒFast return on investment
    • ƒƒInteroperability and ease of integration into environment 
    • Centralized monitoring

“We were looking for a cross-border file-transfer solution that could be adopted by our in-country correspondents worldwide while being easy to integrate into our environment. The combination of the SWIFTNet FileAct messaging service and Axway integration products was definitely the solution that best fitted our needs.”

BNP Paribas Fortis adopts SWIFTNet FileAct to Automate its Bulk Payments Transfers

BNP Paribas Fortis is the banking arm of Fortis, a Belgo-Dutch banking and insurance group. In late 2003, BNP Paribas Fortis initiated a bulk-payments project. This was to replace the magnetic tapes used for low-value cross-border payments, such as pension payments, with its correspondents. 

Tape transfers are inefficient and unreliable compared to electronic file transfer. Tapes can also easily get corrupted and damaged, and the transfer process often has to be repeated.

BNP Paribas Fortis was also facing potential risks related to outdated technology that was no longer supported. In addition, the fact that the SWIFT Interbank File Transfer (IFT) service had been discontinued in 2003 had forced BNP Paribas Fortis to explore alternative file-transfer solutions.

BNP Paribas Fortis initially planned to work with a handful of correspondent banks, but the solution needed to be scalable in order to allow for an increasing number of correspondents. 

BNP Paribas Fortis also needed appropriate tools to detect and correct file-transfer problems almost instantaneously.

Benefits for BNP Paribas Fortis

Using a combination of SWIFTNet FileAct and Axway’s Synchrony Transfer (formerly Axway XFB) products provided BNP Paribas Fortis with these benefits: 

  • Having migrated to SWIFTNet FIN, BNP Paribas Fortis and its correspondents already had the infrastructure in place for single-window access to other SWIFTNetbased services, including cross-border bulk payments transfer in various proprietary or domestic formats.
  • Adding more services over SWIFTNet was a straightforward business decision, as it did not mean any additional investments except those needed because of additional message traffic. At BNP Paribas Fortis itself, the migration of pension payments to SWIFTNet FileAct required neither line bandwidth nor software license upgrades. ƒƒ
  • The SWIFTNet FileAct messaging service ensured secure, reliable communication with correspondents worldwide, while the Axway products enabled interoperability between various internal platforms. ƒƒ
  • The integration of BNP Paribas Fortis’s payments applications with SWIFT and Axway products did not require any extensive on-site consultancy. A few days of configuration time was sufficient. ƒƒ
  • Whether operator-driven or automated, Axway Sentinel provides end-to-end tracking of file transfers for both technical and business users. Receipt of SWIFTNet FileAct delivery notifications provides a guarantee of successful file delivery.

The Axway and SWIFT Solution

BNP Paribas Fortis opted for a solution based on SWIFTNet FileAct real-time and store-and-forward services within closed user groups. Using SWIFTNet FileAct, BNP Paribas Fortis can exchange various message formats with no impact on its existing payments applications. With store-and-forward, correspondents are able to retrieve files from SWIFT when they are ready. 

The bank selected SWIFTAlliance Gateway to access SWIFTNet FileAct, as it had already been deployed for other SWIFTNet services. Being able to protect the payments applications and files from IP attacks by installing SWIFTAlliance Gateway in a demilitarized zone between firewalls was also a key deciding factor.

BNP Paribas Fortis was already using Axway’s Synchrony Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution for internal file transfer. MFT is a scalable data broker that supports a large range of information formats and various transport protocols, including the XFB Connector for SWIFTNet. BNP Paribas Fortis selected Axway’s Synchrony Sentinel for SWIFTNet to monitor the file-transfer activity. This provides centralized, automated supervision and control over the critical components of the file transfer. Synchrony Sentinel tracks transfers, notifies operators of statuses and alerts, and allows for immediate reaction. Synchrony Sentinel also reconciles SWIFTNet FileAct delivery notifications, providing end-to-end tracking of file deliveries.

“Axway proposes a complete offering around SWIFTNet services, covering all types of transfer, transformation, and routing in all businesses, with a global exchange vision,” explains Eric Boudet, Axway.

In the coming months, BNP Paribas Fortis plans to move more cross-border Automated Clearing House correspondents to SWIFTNet FileAct. 

Solution Overview

  • SWIFTNet FileAct ƒƒ
  • SWIFTAlliance Gateway ƒƒ
  • Remote Adapter ƒƒ
  • SWIFTAlliance WebStation ƒƒ
  • Axway’s Synchrony MFT (formerly Axway File Broker — XFB) ƒƒ
  • Axway Sentinel for SWIFTNet


  • IBM mainframe, AS/400 ƒƒ
  • IBM RS6000 — AIX ƒƒ
  • VPN box and IP router

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