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Hubs. Time to make them work

Payments hubs have been a talking point for a number of years now. Once envisioned as the 'silver bullet' for payment system consolidation, the reality has become somewhat different.

I've talked to a lot of different banks over the past few months, including some at Sibos, about the status of the hub projects they have undertaken. The overwhelming message I'm hearing is that many banks have built their hubs from the 'technology up', so to speak.

They have consolidated systems and data because the technology will let them do it, rather than to meet their specific business functionality. They then have to bolt on additional components to let them actually manage the payments and add value to the entire processing chain.  This has resulted in unnecessary complexity and has decreased resilience and manageability of the environment.  I hear of banks having to rethink or even abandon their hub projects because it has either proved too difficult, too expensive or the business benefit has simply not materialized

Now, don't get me wrong, this certainly isn't the case everywhere - there are some banks who have delivered the hub concept successfully and are providing real value to the business. But they do seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

I know there has been debate in the industry recently about the future of hubs, but I don't think they are going away. And nor will the debate. But, I do think there will be a rethink about how these projects should be approached and the business side of the bank will need to have greater input to make sure the finished solution really does make a difference.