A Simplified, Standardised Approach to Client On-Boarding
by Hendrik De Spiegeleer, Senior Product Manager SWIFT, ING
SWIFT connectivity is increasingly becoming the norm amongst large multinationals to communicate with their banking partners. However, many treasurers and finance managers believe that the implementation is a time and labour-intensive process, which in turn creates a barrier to adoption. As ING continues to demonstrate with its streamlined on-boarding solution, this perception has become outdated, and both large and mid-cap corporations can achieve a rapid implementation with fewer resources and more predictable outcomes than in the past.
SWIFT is a core element of ING’s multichannel strategy, and one of the key ways in which our clients connect to our central services. Our integrated approach, which enables clients to access the bank via web-based banking, FTP, mobile solutions or SWIFT is absolutely key to our value proposition. Clients can therefore access the bank securely using the most convenient and appropriate channels for their business, whilst benefiting from consistent processes and security across all these channels. At present, larger, multinational, multi-banked corporations are most likely to select SWIFT as their preferred banking channel, but there is a steady number of requests from smaller businesses that recognise how SWIFT can support their international growth strategy.
A pioneer of SWIFT for corporates
Although SWIFT corporate access is now supported by most major international banks, there have been marked differences in banks’ appetite and expertise in this area. Some banks, such as ING, quickly recognised the opportunities that SWIFT presented, particularly to larger multinational clients, and placed it at the heart of, and integrated it with their connectivity strategy. Others have been more reactive, preferring to focus more on their proprietary channels and expanding their channel offering to include SWIFT as corporate demand has increased. As a result, there remain differences in the degree to which SWIFT is embedded in banks’ channel strategy, and their level of expertise.
ING’s longstanding support for SWIFT, and therefore the skills and experience that we have developed, is one of the major reasons why corporations choose ING as their partner bank for their SWIFT implementation. Some choose to connect first to ING, leveraging our expertise and track record, before adding further banks later on. However, another key reason that clients opt for ING as their SWIFT partner bank is the convenience and efficiency of our client on-boarding strategy. Underlying this strategy is our belief that the SWIFT implementation process should be as straightforward as possible for clients, so they can focus on the value of the services they are able to access through the channel with ING, rather than the channel itself.
A centre of channel excellence
This objective is demonstrated in a variety of ways. Firstly, many treasurers and finance managers who have spoken at conferences and events have emphasised how cumbersome and time-consuming the contractual process can be, which has caused companies significant delays in their implementation project. At ING, we have addressed this concern by centralising and standardising our contracts process. This means that we take a streamlined, consistent approach to contracts, modified with the details of the channel and, where appropriate, specific requirements for particular countries. Clients can therefore accelerate the contracting process, whilst gaining the benefit of a central point of contact, ensuring the process as efficient as possible.
We established a central service for on-boarding corporate customers at a channel level some years ago, and have since ramped up our skills and experience to become a centre of excellence. By concentrating knowledge and expertise, we are in a better position to share best practices and support the complex, often highly bespoke needs of our multinational clients, through every step of the implementation journey. For example, once a client has decided to connect to the bank via SWIFT, it is provided with dedicated resources to support the implementation. Thereafter, the specific elements of each project will vary depending on whether the company already has SWIFT in place with other banks, and is therefore extending its existing infrastructure, or whether it is implementing SWIFT for the first time. Whether a client chooses to outsource connectivity to a service bureau, or use SWIFT’s cloud solution, we provide the level of advice and support appropriate to each client’s level of SWIFT maturity, project scale and timelines.