At long last there are signs of a modest upturn in the global core banking software market. However, like the economic upturn as a whole, not everyone is benefiting, with those in the ascendancy being relatively few.

In the three main categories – universal banking, treasury and capital markets, and private banking – there are now between one and three clear market leaders, picking up the bulk of the deals. Unsurprisingly, virtually all of these are focused companies with one flagship core product. Meanwhile, the many other systems that have been brought under single roofs by market consolidation are mostly falling away.

Martin Whybrow, managing director, IBS Intelligence, comments: “It all adds up to a fragmented picture, with some causes for optimism, a still tough market, and only a relatively small number of suppliers that are buoyant. Nevertheless, that’s a happier conclusion than for the previous few years. The majority of the deals in 2014 were in the lower end space, but a number of the top end banks have started analysis, once more, of core systems. It seems a next wave might be on the way.”

Tanya Andreasyan, senior editor, IBS Intelligence says: “We have seen a renaissance for some of the smaller, local and regional suppliers. They seem to be gaining from the more piecemeal approach to core system renewal by some of the large, international banks. Many such banks have given up on their grand plans of past years to standardise all international operations on a single core. In part through painful experience, they are increasingly opting instead for a more pragmatic approach of picking the best system for the local market and, sometimes, giving autonomy back to the country operation for selecting this.”

For over two decades, IBS Intelligence has been charting the core banking software market activity across the globe, with the results collated in its annual Sales League Table. It is compiled each year from submissions from banking system suppliers with details of the names of the banks and financial institutions that have bought their systems in the calendar year. IBS Intelligence then verifies each submission and counts new-name deals in the core banking/back office software space (front office deals, licence renewals and extensions to the systems and geographies at an existing customer are excluded).

This information is distilled into the Core Banking Systems Market Dynamics Report 2015. Covering the years 2009 to 2014 inclusive, it analyses the market by year, by continent, by country and by vendor, thereby highlighting the trends, the winners and the losers. The comprehensive data is provided in tables and graphs, with expert country-by-county commentary. It covers well over 1800 deals in 160+ countries and provides a complete picture of what has been going on.

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