The aim of the MOLSWIFT project was to replace the many formerly used electronic banking terminals with a single robust, state-of-the-art electronic banking communication tool with the highest security standards, in order to improve control, visibility, security and efficiency in the daily banking operations.
Photo of Zoltan Szucs, Nora Nemes, Zsuzsanna Ortutay and Anett György, MOL plc.
Cash Management Senior Expert
MOL Group is a leading integrated Central and East European oil and gas corporation headquartered in Budapest, Hungary. It has operations in over 33 countries and employs 26,000 people worldwide. MOL’s exploration and production activities are supported by more than 75 years’ experience in the hydrocarbon field.
MOLSWIFT project helps to future-proof this company’s automation journey
Prior to this initiative, MOL faced 1,600 payment packages and 300 manual payments each month via 25 electronic banking (EB) terminals, with 11 bank groups for 246 accounts on ten ERP systems.
All the bank terminals came with different connectivity and technical requirements, with different security frameworks and various procedures to administer user rights and access. Operating and maintaining the many different EB solutions consumed significant treasury and IT resources and standardisation became imperative.
The ‘MOLSWIFT’ project was established which has covered almost 50 subsidiaries in five countries that were already centralised from a treasury back office perspective. The aim of the MOLSWIFT project was to replace the many formerly used electronic banking terminals with a single robust, state-of-the-art electronic banking communication tool with the highest security standards, in order to improve control, visibility, security and efficiency in the daily banking operations.
“It is absolutely an honour for us to receive such a highly prestigious award and join the premier group of winning large corporates.”
While seeking solutions, MOL had to take account of the given multi-ERP and multi-banking landscape – both are a result of conscious choices and could be rationalised only up to a certain extent. Therefore, a bank-agnostic solution was required, which would be able to operate with all the different ERP systems.
Zsuzsanna Ortutay, Group Treasurer explains, “We decided that the standardisation to reduce complexity in bank connectivity via SWIFT with an in-house developed middleware was by far the best option. Within the period 1st January 2016 to 30th April 2017 (Phase 1 of the MOLSWIFT project), we connected to SWIFT as the second (but by far the largest and most complex) company in Hungary and built the channel with six core bank groups maintaining 220 accounts in seven countries. At the same time the account structure was optimised and importantly, payment process efficiency and information security was greatly improved.”
“We consider our SWIFT implementation as a corporate treasury milestone project in CEE and we are proud to receive such great recognition for that.”
The project has not been finished yet, with Phase 2 starting – new functionalities and further companies with 50 accounts at two new bank groups will be added to the successfully running solution during 2017.
Best practice and innovation
State-of-the art connectivity
In order to connect various payment platforms to a single connectivity window, MOL chose the state-of-the-art cloud connectivity SWIFT Alliance Lite2 solution.
ISO standard file format
As a participating member of SCORE, MOL has leveraged SWIFTNet and FileAct with the ISO 20022 XML version three industry-standard file formats:
To initiate electronic payments using pain.001 for all relevant payment types.
To receive payment status reports using pain.002.
To receive bank statements in MT940 form via FileAct.
Established the MT101 messaging option via FIN.
Tailor-made user interface
Significant process improvement has been achieved, thanks to the graphical user interface of the middleware. The payment approval process and approval rights management have been shifted from the banks to in-house. While complying with the operational security requirements, the solution grants a faster and more efficient procedure which avoids papers and tokens.
First class security
To ensure the highest level of information and cyber-security for the company’s complex payment infrastructure, MOL has built an extensive, unique internal log monitoring system with alerting procedures to technical and business functions on top.
“This Adam Smith Award brings not only external acknowledgment, but also internal recognition for us, being a functional area within an industrial firm.”
Ortutay concludes, “On the process side, relying on the internally built middleware, the level of payment and bank account transparency to finance management is something we never had before. On the security side, implementing the highest security standards with the tailor-made alerting system provides us with an exceptionally strong pillar to prevent, detect and respond to even sophisticated cyber-attacks.”
Key learning points
Although industry standard file formats provide a unified file base, bank-specific revision of the formats cannot be eliminated.
Stakeholders are numerous, collaboration is key – technical, business and legal teams should efficiently cooperate internally as well as with the banks and SWIFT itself.
Be prepared for CRs – the project has triggered many change requests which were not initially planned, however helped to improve.
Zsuzsanna Ortutay has been Group Treasurer of MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Plc since 2013. She joined MOL Group in 1999. For almost two decades she has worked in various finance and treasury positions. Zsuzsanna has a Bachelor’s degree from Baker University, Kansas, MSc in economics at the University of Miskolc and DESS in banking and finance at Panthéon-Assas, Paris II University.