Home Case Studies Evolving with the times to facilitate better communication Evolving with the times to facilitate better communication
At PNC, a modernized infrastructure streamlines transactions
Woman paying by mobile in store

Global finance infrastructure is everchanging, as is the global messaging standard for financial business transactions. Financial institutions live and breathe data in all types and forms, making it essential to avoid missteps in file communication that could result in damaged trust and loyalty from partners.

But PNC Financial Services Group Inc. was experiencing such pain points. Despite the many resources it spent formatting messages and files for its downstream partners daily, the firm’s corporate entities could not easily talk to each other across the IT system.

Exacerbating the situation, more and more customers were demanding the ability to use ISO 20022-based payment instruments. Without that processing ability, PNC risked losing several accounts. The bank was also seeing an escalation in the size of files and data and the volume of transactions from both internal and external clients — with no slow down.

With so many internal systems needing to talk to each other, and facing the need to handle ISO payments, PNC formed an internal group — the Data Access Layer (DAL) — to find a scalable solution that could modernize the bank’s existing infrastructure and accommodate the new processing demands. ITX is one of the tools this group uses which was facilitated by Ellen Agostino, Application Service Manager at PNC.

7 GB


Processes and extracts data from files as large as 7 GB



Reduces the client onboarding process by 33%

Getting all of that data to all the right places, to our clients and customers in the right format, was becoming unmanageable. Thanks to IBM, this is no longer a challenge for us. Ellen Agostino Application Service Manager PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

“The goal was to facilitate communication between our partners and save time and money. We wanted our internal entities to produce their messages and files in whatever format they wanted, and we would make it fit for the downstream partners,” Agostino says. “Our group was formed to make sure that we could enable communication between our internal and external partners.”

Deconstructing complex data formats

PNC’s goal was to automate the complex transformation and validation of data between any format and standard, allowing for the integration of transactions from both its internal and external clients. For this communication to happen, the bank worked alongside IBM to implement the IBM Sterling® Transformation Extender (ITX) solution.

Developers used caution when designing the new IT infrastructure, avoiding data extraction issues within maps that could cause long run times and create inefficiency. Using every tool within the ITX family of industry packs to make its transformations and message file transfers seamless. The capabilities of Agostino’s newly formed group began to catch fire within PNC’s internal teams.

With a newly enhanced Bank Administration Institute (BAI) process, both internal and external customers who don’t have the resources to produce data from their systems can send it over to Agostino’s DAL team. The group can automatically take the data from different sources, combine it in any format for the customer and quickly send it right back out.

“Having the ability to do ISO saved several accounts right away. This became a huge opportunity for us to increase business,” says Agostino. “Our wealth management team began to notice what we were using and the transformation capabilities we can provide, and now we are heavily integrated into that group.”

Once we were able to prove our capability with ISO using ITX, everything opened up for us. PNC can onboard ISO clients quickly with the ITX tools. Ellen Agostino Application Service Manager PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
Unmatched large-file processing

The enhanced processing capabilities have completely changed PNC’s day-to-day operations for numerous departments. Large files no longer pose an issue, as Agostino’s team can effortlessly process many multi-GB files and extract data from them daily to send downstream to partners. Onboarding clients, a process that once took over three months, has been drastically reduced to under eight weeks.

“Being new to ISO, we didn’t have the expertise we needed,” says Agostino. “Luckily, we had the ITX packs to give us all the formats and we were able to onboard clients quickly. If we had to create that type of tree on our own, we could not have done it. I don’t know if we could do it now.”

According to Agostino, the system continues to demonstrate its unmatched scalability while still being nowhere near stretched to its limits.

“Just the sheer volume of things coming through now has tested our capabilities,” says Agostino. “We went from one client to 60 and from one ISO file to 6,000 per month. There’s no question that we have improved the SWIFT transaction process immensely using the ITX Pack for Financial Payments.”

PNC logo
About PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PNC (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a financial services firm in the US with more than 52,000 employees. It’s the fifth largest bank by number of branches. The financial establishment provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to over six million consumer and small-business customers across more than 19 states.

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