Headquartered in Tokyo, with retail operations in Japan, Mizuho Bank has
major commercial operations all over the world, including London, Paris, Hong
Kong, Los Angeles, Chicago, Singapore and New York. Commercial customers
include brokers and major corporations such as General Motors and Toyota –
anyone who does foreign exchange transactions.
One of Mizuho Bank’s core business systems provides key financial market
data for bank analysts and senior management. The application brings real-time
access to the bank’s transactions and a whole range of market data from
established providers such as Reuters and Bloomberg. Mizuho Bank uses the
data to perform analysis and make decisions to minimize risk to the bank while
This is one of the systems that Mizuho Bank had to re-build after the September
11 attack on the World Trade Center, where its New York office was located.
The system is overseen by Sanjay Nagaraja, vice president and department
head for the Risk Management Services group.
The risk management division is responsible for monitoring the activities of the
traders and understanding the risk to reward ratio to control risk to the bank. For
example, if the market turned in an unexpected direction, the downside to the
bank would be minimized. Market and transaction data is captured, input into a
model and output into analytical data that measure the risk to the bank at any
given moment in time. The risk management group also supports proactive
compliance to Federal mandates.
Integration Can Be Costly
One of the biggest challenges in a system like this is that the data feeds come
in from various data sources and platforms. It can be costly to provide the
required infrastructure to integrate them into one platform for analysis. In order
to re-build the application quickly, Mizuho Bank needed to choose data
connectivity technology that already provided the interoperability they needed.
A Single Platform for Analysis
They use the DataDirect Connect for ODBC product and DDE (Dynamic Data
Exchange) to bring all the data from these heterogeneous data sources and
platforms into a single platform for analysis. Implementing the database
connectivity piece of the application took about a week.
The risk management application provides quantifiable risk measurements to
maximize the profitability of the bank. Additionally, it helps Mizuho Bank comply
with Federal Reserve Bank rules and regulations. The application is written in a
variety of languages, including C, C++, and some native DBMS code. The frontend is written in XWindows running on a Sun Unix platform, and in Visual Basic
running on Windows platforms. It pulls raw data from the bank’s trading
transactions and market data such as the price of the Japanese yen to dollars,
treasury prices and so on. Most of the bank’s major applications run on
XWindows, but they are also a Microsoft shop.
Using DataDirect Connect for ODBC and SequeLink Socket, the data is collected in real-time across heterogeneous platforms and sources into a single platform
for analysis. Market data goes into SQL Server and transactional data goes into
Microsoft Access. Connect for ODBC pools the data from these sources and
dumps it into Oracle so that Mizuho Bank analysts and sr. management gain
real-time access to the data.
No Worries About Technology Integration
Nagaraja summarized the benefits of using the DataDirect drivers in this way,
“Connect for ODBC gives Mizuho Bank seamless integration across multiple
disparate platforms and databases. We don’t have to worry about technology
integration because the DataDirect technology does it seamlessly. And when
there’s a new technology out there working on a completely new platform, we
can bring it in quickly and not worry about how to integrate it because we know
there are products like Connect for ODBC out there that can help us bring them
all together. We can enjoy the merits of the individual technologies without the
expense and complication of integration methods.”
They were using a native database product before to provide the required
database connectivity; however, they were not happy with the performance or
the expense of the infrastructure required to support it. Said Nagaraja, “The
DataDirect product gives us simplicity, ease of use and maintenance, as well as
great performance.” He qualified the performance benefit at a 58% increase
over other alternatives, and the cost benefit, due to less integration required, at
a 35% increase.
Mizuho Bank’s customers benefit when the bank can maximize its returns on
investment, in which this application plays a crucial role. And Mizuho Bank
benefits when it can maximize return on its IT investment, as it did with
DataDirect technology. Nagaraja predicts the bank will expand the application
and the use of DataDirect technology as new business goals and opportunities