A fledgling standards group, the Banking Industry Architecture Network, is working with the global financial cooperative Swift to develop an interoperable form of service-oriented architecture, or SOA.

Bill Irving, the network's executive director, said that, though the financial industry has made great progress in setting standards for the payment messages themselves, the same is not true upstream of the way these messages are delivered between organizations.

"There's no common service definition methodology out there," Irving said.

The network has produced a handful of documents, in collaboration with a group of primarily European banks and vendors, including a "service landscape" and a "metamodel" for SOA, supplying what Irving called "a semantic definition of services."

The network plans to focus through yearend on services related to ISO 20022, an important European payment standard, to improve the clearing and settlement of those payments, Irving said.

The network made its announcement Tuesday at Swift's annual Sibos conference in Hong Kong. In addition to Swift, formally the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the network said it is working with other standards bodies — including the IFX Forum Inc., which shepherds a standard called Interactive Financial eXchange, and the Object Management Group and other organizations to develop standards for SOA, with a goal of improving interoperability among banks and between banks and their clients.

The network grew out of the Industry Value Network for Banks initiative that was started in 2005 by Sap AG and a group of collaborators. The network was incorporated as an independent, nonprofit organization in Germany in May 2008.