18 April 2014

Bank readiness certification - an essential tool for multi-banked Corporates

To give corporate customers insight into the readiness of their banking partners, and allow them to take advantage of the benefits of their SWIFT connection, SWIFT manages the bank readiness certification programme. Certification gives corporate customers a clear view on the SWIFT capabilities of their banking partners around the world.

As from April 2014, the bank readiness certification programme offers two levels of certification: Entry and Advanced. Marcus Treacher, Chairman of the SWIFT Corporate Advisory Group (CAG) explains the change: "Corporates expect an increasing number of banks to be ready on SWIFT, particularly in growing markets such as Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Use of the SWIFT network at domestic level is on the rise where the requirements are different than at international level. The new readiness certification programme structure is adapted to cater for the way SWIFT is used by local banks."

The key difference between the two levels of certification is the need to implement the MT 942 for banks who want to benefit from Advanced certification. To-date, this was the only certification possible and 48 banking groups have reached this certification level. Responding to feedback from the community, the new Entry certification level will not require MT 942 capabilities. Benoit Desserre, Head of Payments and Cash Management, Societe Generale explains "In France, some large banks have expressed the desire to be certified but the initial level did not match their business realities as the MT 942 was not essential for their clients. Their voice has been heard as the new Entry level will allow them to get certified."

Norton Lau, Senior Manager - Global Alliances & SWIFT Services, ANZ explains how both levels make sense for ANZ branches around the world "Corporate clients want to have visibility in how banks are adopting SWIFT for Corporates. The new Entry readiness level allows ANZ to extend our certification to ten countries for our entities across Asia Pacific. We believe it is essential to implement SWIFT's best practices as this reinforces our leading position in the Asia Pacific region."

Tom Durkin, Global Head of Integrated Channel Solutions, Bank of America Merrill Lynch stresses the importance of the certification: "Companies need to work with a bank that has the experience, expertise and value-added functionality that will help enable them to achieve their goals. These criteria should be paramount when corporates fine tune their banking relationship selection process".

On-line tool

Certified banks are listed on the SWIFT for Corporates website along with detailed information on the offering each certified bank provides. Corporates now have a complete overview of the specific capabilities of individual banks and in which country these services are available. Subscription to the certification programme is straightforward, requiring compliance with a clear set of mandatory criteria. Banks are encouraged to participate in the readiness programme to promote their SWIFT for Corporates offering. To find out more about the Bank readiness certification programme and to see the most up to date list of certified banks, visit the Bank Readiness certification programme page.

“Entry” bank readiness certification criteria

In order to achieve the new “Entry” level certification, a bank must match the following criteria’s:

  • Register to the Standardised Corporate Environment (SCORE)
  • Receive payment instructions using FIN MT 101
  • Send statement messages using FIN MT 940
  • Send or receive files over FileAct
  • Provide testing facilities & scripts to corporate clients
  • Provide operational documentation to corporate clients
  • Have SWIFT-knowledge and trained sales staff
  • Offer basic commercial documentation
  • Provide a dedicated SWIFT-page on the bank website