Raymaekers: banks will be able to improve their customers’ cross-border payments experience

A total of 45 banks including Barclays, Citi, Deutsche Bank and many others have signed up to a new payments innovation initiative headed by Swift, which is due to launch early next year. Announced in December, the initiative aims to dramatically improve the customer experience in correspondent banking by increasing the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments.

The Swift initiative will focus initially on business-to-business payments. Its stated goal is to help improve the relationship between corporates and banks by providing same day use of funds, transparency and predictability of fees, end-to-end payments tracking and better payment information. Swift says the initiative will help corporates grow their international business, improve supplier relationships, and achieve greater treasury efficiencies.

“At Citi, we welcome the launch of the global payments innovation initiative – we see this as a key initiative in evolving how cross border payments are transacted,” said Mark McNulty, global head of financial institutions payments and clearing at Citi treasury and trade solutions. “The time is right for the industry to embrace this initiative and come together to affect meaningful change in payments that we believe will significantly enhance the experience that we deliver to our clients.”

“We welcome and support the global payments innovation initiative coordinated by Swift,” added Yumesaku Ishigaki, global head of transaction banking at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. “We believe the global payments innovation initiative brings our customers more secure and advanced service in cross-border payments, embracing new technology. We will remain closely involved in this initiative.”

The pilot of the new initiative will start from early 2016. Swift is keen to emphasise the collaborative nature of the project, which involved creating a new service level agreement rulebook which it says provides an opportunity for smart collaboration between banks. Following the corporate cross-border payments pilot programme, Swift says it will add more innovation and technologies to the initiative, and it will also create more service level agreements to cater for other client groups. The organisation added that this would further reduce the costs and frictions arising from compliance, liquidity and processing efficiency considerations involved in cross-border payments.

“Designed for the corporate treasurer, this initiative will enable banks to dramatically improve their customers’ cross-border payments experience,” said Wim Raymaekers, head of correspondent banking at Swift. “Leveraging SWIFT’s global community and the innovative application of its proven technology, the new service should find rapid adoption and make a hugely positive impact on the global payments landscape.”

The banks that have signed up for the initiative are:

ABN AMRO Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of China, Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Banco Santander, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Commerzbank, Credit Suisse, Danske Bank, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Ecobank, FirstRand Bank, HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ING Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, JPMorgan Chase, KBC Bank, KEB Hana Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Maybank, Mizuho Bank, National Australia Bank, Natixis, Nordea Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Raiffeisen Bank International, RBC Royal Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Sberbank, SEB, Société Générale, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, TD Bank, UBS, UniCredit, United Overseas Bank and Wells Fargo.

“Correspondent banking is facing a revolution,” said Pascal Augé, head of global transaction and payment services, Société Générale. “Corporate treasurers desire best possible predictability of their fees and a quick cross-border payments service from their banks. Through Swift’s global payments innovation initiative, banks will be able to deliver more transparency and efficiency. The quality of the Swift platform, which guarantees security and resilience of processing, ensures a very sound base that we can build from, and explore new technologies. We are proud to be a part of this initiative which will help banks to face these challenges.”

“The Banking community must strive forward to find a more efficient alternative to today’s correspondent banking model,” added Natalia Blatter, UBS Switzerland, CIC Transaction banking. “We have to address our corporate clients’ growing need for more transparent, faster and cheaper cross-border payments while at the same time balance increasing regulatory requirements and business profitability. We are very excited to see SWIFT launching the innovative global payments innovation initiative which has the potential to leverage existing infrastructure for cross border payments in a modern way.”

“The global payments innovation initiative will facilitate stronger industry cooperation worldwide which will result in increased levels of service and customer focus,” said Claudio Camozzo, co-head of global transaction banking, Unicredit Italy. “The global payments innovation initiative’s compelling value proposition of greater speed, transparency and predictability, combined with the security and compliance benefits of banks, will help financial institutions consolidate their position at the forefront of their core business in global transaction banking, and enable them to successfully navigate the changing landscape. UniCredit fully endorses this initiative focused on delivering an improved customer experience.”