The Luzerner Kantonalbank invests in EBICS

For the first time, EBICS is now fully supported by a Swiss cantonal bank. By using EBICS, the Luzerner Kantonalbank (LUKB) causes a stir in Switzerland. EBICS should be going live at LUKB in 2014. I am pleased to see that EBICS has expanded further and has now clearly accelerated in Switzerland. In this new change of pace, LUKB has acted as the prime mover.

From my point of view, Switzerland has adopted the system so quickly because of the following reasons:

1. EBICS uses the internet as a mode of communication which, in principle, is available at every company, meaning lower transfer costs for businesses. Moreover, EBICS products can be acquired in a relatively large market, which again offers a better price/performance ratio.

2. In Switzerland there has hitherto been no coherent standard for electronic communications between corporate clients and banks. If they had decided to develop their own standard, the result would probably have been very similar to EBICS. Thus it was advisable to make use of the original.

3. EBICS is a standard which was created by banks, for banks, so the EBICS process is fundamentally suited for Swiss financial institutions. Entry into the EBICS community also opens up the possibility of suggesting ways to improve the system.

4. The most innovative of all EBICS features is surely its multibank capablities. Even if the pros and cons are discussed here at great length, the decisive factor was ultimately the improvement of services for clients, which are a high priority for the Swiss banks.

5. Equally controversial debate surrounds the "Distributed Electronic Signature" (VEU). In contrast to Germany, Swiss banks can decide for themselves whether they would like to offer their customers this service or not. That the financial institutions can choose freely either way will surely facilitate the introduction of EBICS.

6. Obviously it was a decisive factor for Switzerland that Germany and France would also implement EBICS, and that other corporations active in Europe would be curious about the EBICS project. Moreover, new international clients can be won without having to change the infrastructure of corporate clients.

I believe these are the principle reasons that LUKB opted to implement the EBICS model. Particular attention should now be turned to the Distributed Electronic Signature system. It will be very interesting to see how it develops when the first banks and their customers begin to utilise it.

Michael Lembcke