In an article for corporate finance magazine, Treasury & Risk, Ingrid Weisskopf, head of cash products and advisory FI at Commerzbank, sets out the promise of SWIFT’s new global payments innovation (gpi) initiative for banks and companies alike.
In her article, ‘Driving a New Standard in Cross-Border Payments’, Weisskopf explains that the smooth running of corporate treasury relies on banks being able to process payments quickly and efficiently. A high degree of transparency is also crucial: treasurers need to know the current status of their transactions, and be aware of any additional banking fees. With so many correspondent banks at work in cross-border trade, however, levels of operating efficiency and customer service are often not held to the same standards across the global financial system. Even in a digitalising environment, this can lead to delays.
In order to remedy this, SWIFT has embarked on a new project – the GPI – the pilot stage of which ends this December. The initiative, which commits banks to meeting improved customer service standards when facilitating payments, goes a long way towards enhancing both the efficiency and transparency of cross-border transactions. For instance, it requires banks to provide same-day access to funds, thus boosting a company’s liquidity. As well as ensuring banks provide comprehensive confirmations of transfer and receipt of funds, it also sets the stage for cloud-based tracking services for payments, just as a parcel delivery company offers customers the ability to track their orders.
Having already attracted over 70 global banks – Commerzbank among them – the GPI “marks a milestone for corporate treasury”, according to Weisskopf, and promises to “enhance long-term trading relationships”.
The article can be read here (with a subscription).