When Shakespeare wrote Richard III in around 1591, he meant something different when he wrote these famous lines, but “True hope is SWIFT” is the essence of this Guide. Corporates have struggled for many years to connect to their banks in an efficient, consistent way. Telexes, faxes, electronic banking systems – each have represented a step forward, but each brings limitations. Few corporates today are fortunate enough to have a single channel for communicating with all of their banking partners; fewer still can send files in the same format to each bank. Each system has its own functionality, its own security requirements and user setup and receives and transmits files or messages in a particular format, often differing across country or region.
The ability for corporates to communicate to their banks through SWIFTNet (see Section 1 below) is in many respects a giant leap forward, but to date, it has left only a light impression on corporate treasurers’ consciousness. There is a definite increase in the number of corporates seeking to connect to their banks through SWIFTNet, but this growth has been steady rather than meteoric. Markus Straussfeld, Director, Cash Management Sales, HypoVereinsbank (Member of UniCreditGroup) explains,
“The largest corporates were the first to move to SWIFT with the highest value or highest volume of payments. Now, smaller companies see the advantages, providing a solution to a problem they have had for some time, namely finding a single application to connect to all their banks.”