As financial institutions implement the new payment standard, they need to understand customers’ challenges, build a compelling business proposal, and have a clear strategy for going live.

After a successful year-long trial period, the financial services industry must work together to embrace the live operational mode of SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi) – and ensure it becomes the new payment standard for correspondent banking. This rallying call comes from Deutsche Bank’s new white paper, “SWIFT gpi: time for action”.

As of today, 120+ banks have committed to going live with SWIFT over the next 24 months, of which 40 are expected to go live by end of 2017. Based on its own implementation experiences, Deutsche Bank advises banks to:

  • Begin with co-creation workshops to understand customers’ challenges. Not only can workshops identify pain points and solutions – essential to building a business case internally – they can also unearth potential service enhancements that complement SWIFT gpi’s core offering.
  • Build a compelling business proposal. The case for SWIFT gpi’s implementation is unlikely to succeed if it revolves only around short-term revenue generation. Instead, it should emphasise the long-term: the need to protect bank’s revenues in an increasingly competitive market.
  • Refine the implementation strategy. If successful, the next step is to create a cross-departmental (and cross-regional) internal working group. The group’s objectives should be to develop a strategy based upon co-creation workshop findings and to also engage technology vendors and SWIFT itself for implementation support.
  • Prepare for implementation and go live. Once SWIFT has signed the implementation agreement, the bank must alter its internal systems and processes to become compliant with SWIFT gpi’s business rules and technical specifications before entering the testing phase. The final step in this (on average) six-month process is to transition into fully live operational mode .

Commenting on the whitepaper’s release, Christian Westerhaus, Global Head of Clearing Products, Cash Management, says: “The growing client demand for simpler and efficient cross-border payment services has rendered SWIFT gpi a crucial development for correspondent banks to remain competitive. But there are opportunities for banks to differentiate themselves – through SWIFT gpi – with unique service enhancements that leverage each bank’s existing strength. SWIFT gpi, therefore, is an essential evolution for the industry.”

By establishing the industry’s first cloud-based ecosystem that connects all parties in a payment chain, SWIFT gpi improves the speed, fee transparency and traceability of corporate payments. The initiative is seen as a crucial development that helps financial institutions to provide an effortless payment experience for clients.

Paula Roels, Head of Market Infrastructure & Industry Initiatives, Cash Management, adds: “While uptake has been steady so far – enough to make SWIFT gpi the default standard for three quarters of cross-border payments – there is always more that can be done.”

“International and regional banks should recognise that SWIFT gpi is far from an industry fad – and should consider joining the early adopters,” she adds. “As a keen SWIFT gpi supporter and a member ofthe Vision Group comprising large transaction banks, Deutsche Bank calls upon others in the space to work together to drive the initiative forward.”

Read the full whitepaper here.