CIBC aims its banking technology at big business

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) announced that it is now offering business banking on a single Web site.

Aimed mostly at medium- to large-size corporations, CIBC is providing the service through a Web-based electronic delivery platform, one that is completely browser-based. Corporations sign on with the financial institution, which in turn provides the company with user IDs and passwords on a department to department basis.

The bank’s system is based on Atlanta-based S1 Corp.’s Open eFinance software architecture, which it customized to fit its needs. Written in Java, it incorporates HTML, XML, JSP and CORBA technology components, and is deployed on Unix-based hardware on IBM’s AIX operating system and DB2 database. The project took two years to complete and implement.

“Replacing the legacy systems with a Web-based system was complicated,” said Steve Webster vice-president, business deposits and payments at CIBC in Toronto.

The service offers an array of banking needs such as balance inquiries, file transfers, e-payments and account transfers. He added that medium- to large-size companies, as opposed to small businesses, would be more likely to benefit from the offering.

Given who its users are, and the sensitivity of the information that will be processed, security is of paramount concern and is protected using 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and firewalls, according to CIBC. On the user side, he said corporate customers sign in and are asked to enter a 16-digit user ID; on the third attempt, if the ID is entered incorrectly they are asked to consult an administrator. There is also “An eight-digit alphanumeric PIN number as an extra level of security we provide for the releasing of payments to ensure no unauthorized payments occur,” Webster added.

Webster said CIBC is the first Canadian banking institution to offer a complete array of banking under one Web site. In the U.S., Fleet Boston and U.S. Bank Core are currently using similar online systems.

The demand for these types of services is on the rise, according to a joint study conducted by Carreker Corp., and the Gartner Group, entitled A Study on Competitive Strategies for Payment Mediates in an E-Business World, released this past September.

Pierre Giraudon, managing director at Carreker, a financial software maker in Dallas, Tex., said 29 per cent of large Canadian organizations are currently using some type of Web-based cash management services and predicted that by 2003 that number will rise to 63 per cent.

Of the 550 corporate clients surveyed by Carreker, 60 per cent said they were willing to make e-payments. The study revealed continued apprehension on the consumer side toward online banking, while the corporate side appears more willing embrace the idea.

CIBC in Toronto can be reached at

Carreker in Dallas can be reached at