Today Progress Software announced that SEB bank in Estonia has deployed the Apama Complex Event Processing (CEP) platform to look for payment fraud.
This is exciting news and the fact that such a production customer has gone public is a great validation of SEB's belief in the system they've built. A lot of banks are somewhat reticent to talk publically about fraud. Everyone knows it goes on of course, but banks usually prefer that this is a quiet fight, going on behind the scenes. SEB on the other hand see their use of CEP to detect fraud as a positive demonstration of their commitment to customers and card issuers to ensure that banking with SEB is as safe as possible.
A few weeks ago I visited SEB in Estonia and was hosted by Ain Rasva, the head of technology, together with the head of the fraud team. One of the key reasons they chose to invest in CEP was rising transaction rates and a realisation that conventional data management architectures were simply not suitable to look for fraudulent patterns in a timely fashion. Yes, transactions could be captured in, say, a database management system, but then queries to determine whether a pattern of fraud was emerging had to be run and re-run at arbitrary time intervals. An event processing approach is simply a better way of doing this job, both performance-wise and conceptually. With CEP, SEB can now detect a potentially fraudulent pattern of card use immediately and then start managing the case, using tools to conduct further analysis and to manage communication with the customer. This can be done now in minutes, rather than the hours it took previously. Patterns of fraud detection are constantly changing and SEB needs to be responsive to this - the fraud detection rules need to change frequently and quickly. With Apama, these fraud rules can be created, modified and tested rapidly, and this can be done largely by the fraud department itself rather than relying upon IT to effect each change.
Card payments continue to change and increase. There were 82B payments in Europe in 2009 and card payments are growing at a CAGR of 12% per year. Europe wide regulation such as the Single European Payment Area will significantly change the types of fraud that banks need to look for. SEB has placed itself in a good position to ensure that payments are conducted as safely as possible.
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