Following the success of its global payments initiative (gpi) for high-value, cross-border payments, financial messaging services provider SWIFT has decided to extend the same benefits for low-value retail payments, says Kiran Shetty, CEO and regional head, SWIFT India and South Asia. In an interview with Mithun Dasgupta, Shetty says during the merger of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank into Union Bank of India, the company worked on minimising the challenges and ensured a smooth transition of cross-border transactions of the three banks into the amalgamated entity. Excerpts:
The pace of digital adoption across channels/touch points has accelerated amid disruptions. How is SWIFT India partnering with banks to provide them its solutions?
Today, implementation of the digital banking ecosystem has been expedited due to remote working conditions and online banking, necessitated by the pandemic. To support banks and businesses during these challenging times, SWIFT has been delivering new efficiencies and removing friction from paper-heavy trade processes. By reusing existing SWIFT rails, a group of banks has trialled an initiative that dematerialises trade documents and simplifies highly manual and complex letter of credit process, driving seamless connectivity for cross-border trade and bringing about improved customer experience to their clients.
What are the innovative products you have in payments solutions?
Fast, real-time, seamless, and transparent cross-border transactions are the need of the hour. These requirements are constantly driving the industry to innovate and evolve its payment solutions. Recognising the need of the financial community for a standardised platform that enables smooth and fast cross-border transactions, SWIFT launched SWIFT global payments initiative (gpi) in 2017. SWIFT gpi has transformed cross-border transactions in over 200 country corridors by significantly improving the international payments process, thereby benefitting more than 4,000 bank and financial institution members.
Following the success of SWIFT gpi for high-value cross-border payments, we have decided to extend the same benefits for low-value retail payments to the global financial community. We are piloting a service, ‘gpi for low value payments’ to help banks improve the experience of SMEs and consumers who want to make low-value cross-border payments. Through SWIFT gpi, almost 92% of cross-border payments are credited to the beneficiary’s account within 24 hours and 40% within 30 minutes.
SWIFT India has been helping Union Bank of India with its digital payment solutions for Indian as well as cross-border trade and compliance across branches. During the pandemic, how has the bank been leveraging SWIFT’s solutions to offer services and improve customer experience?
Union Bank of India (UBI) has been a member of SWIFT since 1991 and our Indian entity has been partnering with the bank for over five years now. UBI has deployed our cross-border payments and compliance solutions across its network, which spans over 9,500 branches. During the merger of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank into UBI, we worked on minimising the challenges and ensured a smooth transition of the cross-border transactions of the three banks into the amalgamated entity.
Besides Union Bank of India, which are the banks that have partnered with you and how are you helping them?
In India, SWIFT India Domestic Services (SWIFT India) is a joint venture created by SWIFT SC (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the global banking cooperative, in partnership with 11 Indian banks. Our member banks are: Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank.
Besides strengthening security of the financial community, through our solutions we hope to help drive digitisation of trade finance processes.