The innovation of the new banking group starts with Reply

The European Central Bank has given its approval to the constitution of a new cooperative banking group, which is now among the top four groups in Italy. The new architecture aims at re-engineering and rationalizing the current banking system, providing a single front-end for front-office and back-office applications. The process of evolution and implementation of the new banking information system within the tight deadline dictated by the ECB represented a stimulating challenge that Technology Reply could not avoid.


The new cooperative banking group supplies products and services to a network of over 140 co-operative banks throughout Italy and has more than 4 million customers in over 2,500 offices in more than 1.700 Italian cities. It is a complex reality, born from the merger of hundreds of small Italian cooperative credit banks to support the territory, and today among the top four Italian banking groups. Today it is a group that is undergoing a process of digital transformation that touches all areas, which began two years ago and is constantly updated, and which aims to create a model for process management, pointing at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes for the affiliated banks. The group has chosen to entrust the reins of this process of innovation to Technology Reply, due to its consolidated experience and its long-standing knowledge of the most innovative technologies.


The banking group’s new information system is finally a reality. The third re-engineering of the system has a new look, modern and functional, with a more attractive graphic layout compared to the previous applications, and with a renewed architecture defining a new web-based presentation level and reorganizing underlying application layers.

It concerned the rewriting and reorganization of more than 1.000 services and 1.500 frames stratified in over 20 years. Starting from a non-exhaustive preliminary analysis phase, it was possible to implement the behaviour of the different applications, reaching the challenging project deadlines dictated by the ECB. This was possible thanks to the commitment and skills of the Technology Reply employees, who were able to work proactively and in synergy with the Client's internal teams, offering a 360° support in crucial areas where innovation was indispensable.

The challenge was to tackle digital change, from design to delivery, to bring together and satisfy the needs of over 140 affiliated institutes in a single solution, guaranteeing communication and interoperability of the applications and IT systems involved. Capturing the value trapped in millions of lines of code written over more than 20 years with outdated technologies, and converting what previously were stand-alone or web-based applications into a single web solution are some of the challenges posed by the ongoing digital transformation of our client.

Reverse engineering and code reengineering were, therefore, the main activities of the development. The various applications, implemented in multiple languages (Cobol, VB, C++, Java 4), have been rewritten in the new presentation dashboard using Java 8, JSF-PrimeFaces and Spring-WebFlow, used for the management of application flows. Some functionalities and flows have been organized in modules allowing access to more applications, an activity that has seen proactively involved some of our resources from design to implementation. The portal presents itself with a modern graphic identity, easier and more intuitive navigation, and dynamics suitable for everyone. This is a fundamental element within a wider project of reform of the entire banking information system. For example, the web-oriented architectural evolution has made it necessary to redesign the way applications interact with physically connected devices such as the check reader, cash dispenser, graphometric signature tablet and barcode readers. The Visual Basic libraries and drivers that directly interacted with the different HW devices were exposed through the REST API by a new application installed on the various user terminals and made available to developers through a high-level Javascript library.

The rework of the masks in charge of the various streams inevitably brought out the need for coordinated work. The Reply team supported the Client's IT department in the definition of standards and guidelines to be followed during implementations; it contributed to the creation of reusable components that could be adapted to the different needs and interaction methods users were used to with previous applications. The decoupling between front-end and back-end is achieved using a proprietary API Gateway of the Customer (integrated within the Application Server). Queries to databases and calls to Cobol host transactions have been converted to REST services available via API. The application has also been equipped with a workflow engine interface that allows the reorganization of specific application paths to processes. Considerable efforts have been made to eliminate the complexity of the previous operations by transforming them into reusable atomic services (avoiding code redundancy). Reply has also contributed to the centralization of the configuration of the different applications (physical devices, print flows...) with the removal of local initialization files, centralization of authorization and profiling aspects, in favour of an intrinsic reinforcement of safety, the creation of a converter for the generation of masks from a proprietary language to the new JSF paradigm. Reply also has given support in the Maven configuration of the different projects, and Jenkins configuration to create a structured automatism for Continuous Integration to reduce delivery times.

Reply Value

Technology Reply has proved its reliability, demonstrating to be able to obtain the best possible result for each of its customers. The team, made up of over 25 employees carefully selected by the Customer, has confirmed Technology Reply's ability to organise itself rapidly in order to provide a large number of resources with the required skills. The new information system and the strong contribution to the definition of the new architecture was our response, condensing the attention to technological innovation, to the quality of the final product, with an eye also to aspects such as teamwork and perfect integration with the Customer's IT department.