Sberbank of Russia Migrates to OpenWay’s WAY4 System

The Customer

The Savings Bank of the Russian Federation (Sberbank) boasts more than 165 years of business heritage and is one of the oldest and largest banks in Central and Eastern Europe. It is a publicly traded commercial bank with 20,000 branches operating in 11 time zones. Sberbank’s portfolio of more than 14 million debit and credit cards and a 30% share of the Russian market make it one of the world’s leading issuers and acquirers. Sberbank is now actively developing its international card acquiring network, which currently extends to 1,174 cities across 79 of Russia’s regions.

Business Challenges

Following the rapid growth in demand for debit and credit cards in the late 1990s, Sberbank found that its processing centre was obliged to handle more than 14 million credit and debit cards at 1,000 bank offices, 10,000 ATMs and 40,000 POS terminals.
At this time, Sberbank was also consolidating its regional banks, processing centres, international payment systems and the network of ATMs and POS terminals.

The bank was looking for a unified system that could cope with high production volumes as well as constant changes in transaction processing.

This new system had to be implemented within two years.

WAY4 Solution

Sberbank chose OpenWay’s WAY4 new-generation payment processing solutions, has collaborated with the company for several years. In 1999, the WAY4 system was installed to manage issuing and acquiring at Sberbank’s Northwest Bank and in 2000 Povolzhsky Bank followed suit. 

Sberbank liked the flexibility of the WAY4 system and the fact that they could adapt it to the unique needs of the Russian market and inevitable future changes. They were also impressed with the single platform’s capacity to support the full cycle of payment cards and were confident that the 24/7 support from OpenWay’s team in St Petersburg would enable them to make this major transition while continuing to deliver a high level of service to their customers. 

Sberbank chose WAY4 to replace the old legacy system and installed WAY4 CMS to support their card portfolio. The system is able to perform transaction routing and card authorisation and allows the bank to issue, acquire and personalise EMV smart cards. It can handle inter-office and inter-bank payment and clearing operations as well as automated dispute resolution. Other tools include an integrated, real-time system to diagnose and manage risk.

Project Stages

The project was carried out smoothly in several stages.

The contract between Sberbank and OpenWay was signed in September 2002.

Business processes were analysed and followed by a trial transition of card issuing at one of Sberbank’s regional banks.

Interfaces were created between the WAY4 processing platform and outside systems to ensure a gradual and smooth migration process.

The next stage was the step-by-step migration of all Sberbank’s regional banks. It included the migration of data and configurations for all debit and credit products and the introduction of EMV technology, while at the same time ensuring the continuation of Sberbank’s loyalty programmes. 

By December 2002, the WAY4 system was installed and configuration of the system began.

In July 2003, the first regional bank and 1 million cards had successfully migrated.

By August 2004, all Sberbank’s processing centres, regional banks and the entire card portfolio had fully migrated – exactly two years from the start of the project.

The Results

The project was completed successfully on time and within budget. WAY4 enabled the bank to optimise and consolidate the management of its vast issuing and acquiring payments infrastructure. 

As a result of this professional partnership, Sberbank now has the technology and solutions to keep pace with its development and growth strategy. 

Sberbank’s transition to the new WAY4 platform went as the bank planned and exactly according to schedule. It was practically painless for the bank infrastructure with no disruption of services to its customers. This was especially important for Sberbank's reputation as Russia’s market leader in payment cards.

Thanks to their WAY4 solution, Sberbank is now able to focus on developing superior products and services, introducing EMV technology, and speeding up the introduction of new products on the market while carefully considering the present and future needs of each client and market segment.

This is made possible by:

  • Extending sales and self-service channels
  • Enabling mobile banking functionality
  • Providing services for web banking and electronic commerce
  • Designing integrated loyalty programs
  • Empowering the product team to create and develop new consumer and corporate products and services
  • Expanding the choice of products and services offered
  • Establishing a comprehensive and integrated accounting system
  • Establishing new financing programs 
  • Delivering a speedy interface to third-party service providers