by Cédric Dumont, SWIFTNet Product Manager, ING
The last two or three years have seen some of the most important changes and advances in the way that corporates connect with their banks since electronic banking systems were first introduced in the early 1990s. While considerable achievements have been made, such as the SWIFT network being made available to corporates and the launch of SEPA, these are only the first steps in a path of evolution which could transform the way that corporates connect with their banks in the coming years.
Corporate treasurers and finance managers are demanding more from their banks: more flexible standardised connectivity, richer information and greater security. Banks which are at the forefront of current developments in corporate-to-bank connectivity are actively supporting their corporate customers to achieve these objectives. In this article, we will look at some of the current trends and initiatives in this area and how corporates can benefit.
SWIFT corporate access
Until 2001, SWIFT was the network through which banks communicated between themselves. Since then, corporates have also been able to connect to their banking counterparties via SWIFT, enabling corporates to exchange financial messages securely with its financial counterparties through a single channel as opposed to requiring individual connections to each counterparty bank. The first few years saw only a limited number of large companies taking advantage of this opportunity, but new initiatives such as SCORE (Standardised CORporate Environment) launched in 2007 and ‘Lite’ due later this year extend the viability of SWIFTNet access to a wider range of companies. Furthermore, the development of service bureaus and member/concentrators enable corporates to connect to SWIFT without the need to invest significantly in technology, therefore being able to maintain a focus on core activities.