Getting corporates on to the SWIFT network is one of the trickier tasks facing the Brussels-based messaging network, since its bank shareholders find the idea of direct corporate membership of the network anathema. To counter bank fears of disintermediation, SWIFT has adopted Closed User Groups (CUGs) as the safest way to attract more corporate business.
So the announcement today by BNP Paribas that the SWIFT Board has allowed it to connect its corporate clients to the IP-based SWIFTNet network – which will replace the old FIN store-and-forward network completely from 2004 – is a significant one. It will allow corporates to instruct their banks and receive information from banks securely, and in real time.
“For many years, treasurers have been demanding access to the SWIFT inter-bank network,” explains BNP Paribas. “While a small number of treasurers of large multinational companies have been able to use the SWIFT format for communicating with banks, they employed different networks and levels of security. SWIFTNet changes all this, it employs a `single window’ connectivity providing a single communications infrastructure. Access to SWIFTNet ensures unprecedented reliability, security and rapid interaction with the SWIFT network for corporates communicating with their banks.”