Promoting Innovation and Adoption of SWIFTNet
by Stéphanie Niemi, Head of Marketing, Global Channels and Cécile Desbouis, EBAM Product Manager, BNP Paribas
While many large multinational corporations have been connected to their banking partners through SWIFTNet for a number of years, over the past year we have seen considerable new interest from mid-caps as well as large corporations. No longer the domain of the largest and most sophisticated corporations, SWIFTNet is now a viable and beneficial bank connectivity option, for single or multiple banks, both domestic and international flows. This article looks at some of the most recent trends and innovations in SWIFT connectivity for corporates, and why an increasing number of companies of all sizes and in all regions are seeking to benefit from BNP Paribas’ expertise in this area.
The BNP Paribas experience
BNP Paribas has been a forerunner in promoting and facilitating SWIFT connectivity for our corporate clients. As a result of our long-term commitment to supporting our clients’ communication needs, BNP Paribas remains the 1st bank group worldwide in terms of number of SWIFTNet corporate customers. We are represented on the SWIFT board, participate actively in working groups and we are pioneers in adopting new standards in financial messaging.
We recognise that the right connectivity is simply a channel for financial messaging, and therefore to deliver the efficiency, control and liquidity management benefits that our corporate customers demand, connectivity needs to be part of a wider cash, treasury and payments optimisation project. Consequently, we first started to promote centralised payments in the 1990s using financial messaging standards such as EDIFACT, and we are now a global leader in setting up regional or global payment factories. We have now implemented payment factories and shared service centres worldwide, including SWIFT connectivity and the most recent ISO 20022 XML-based standards. Our clients are therefore benefiting from greater efficiency, visibility and control of their cash globally and across multiple banking partners, whilst reducing costs and standardising financial transactions and information flows across the business.
Supporting a wider user community
While large multinational corporations are typically early adopters of optimisation and efficiency innovations such as SWIFTNet, we wanted to extend the benefits to the wider corporate community. Consequently, we have been actively promoting SWIFT connectivity to mid-cap companies as well as large corporations, and we have seen particular interest amongst companies based in France, Belgium and Italy. To support the needs of these companies, we wanted to ensure that implementation was cost- and resource-effective, and could be completed quickly. Therefore, we have developed a ‘plug and play’ SWIFT connectivity capability, including embedded service bureau and member concentrator services. The take-up of this solution has already been substantial, and it is now in use at nearly 40 companies (out of our total number of SWIFTNet corporate customers). These companies expect both technical and implementation convenience, but also a high level of support from BNP Paribas throughout and beyond the implementation so that they can optimise their use of SWIFTNet as part of a wider cash, treasury and payments management strategy. To provide the right level of service to companies considering or implementing SWIFTNet, we have therefore established a dedicated implementation team to facilitate adoption, with a strong emphasis on post-implementation support as well as initial deployment.
Having connected to their banks using SWIFTNet, companies of all sizes are seeking to leverage their investment by extending the range of services and geographies that they are able to access. BNP Paribas is certified by SWIFT for the Bank Readiness programme*. We are now delivering services through our SWIFTNet solution across more than 30 countries, not only in Europe, North America, and the Gulf region but also in Asia, including China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore, with four more locations due to be added by the end of 2011, including Korea and Taiwan. While we see around 70% of traffic in Europe at present, volumes are increasing rapidly in Asia.