All aboard as SWIFT gpi momentum builds

4 February 2019

Sibos 2018 offered an opportunity for its first wave of users to reflect on and share their key learnings

With many early adopters of SWIFT gpi going live in the last quarter of 2018, Sibos offered many opportunities for regional and local banks to benchmark their onboarding projects against their peers’. Before the event, 80 banks were already live, with a further 50 due after November’s standards release, meaning best practice is rapidly emerging.

The Sibos session, ‘SWIFT gpi onboarding – How to make it a success’, explored how Azerbaijan’s Kapital Bank leveraged the gpi platform to enhance their cross-border payment services.

SWIFT gpi is helping us grow our business, and retain customers through better payment services. Thanks to SWIFT gpi, we are building an excellent reputation in our local market.

Khayala Mammadova, Kapital Bank’s financial institutions relationship manager

The three stages of onboarding

Onboarding to SWIFT gpi involves three stages: initiation, implementation, and testing.

In the initiation phase, the bank reviews the business rules’ impact on internal systems and designs a project plan. This can take as little as 1-2 months, but may be longer depending on the level of functionality banks want to make available to clients.

In the implementation phase, the bank either conducts an internal IT project to make its payment applications gpi-compatible or works with its application provider if they are using one of the 15 third-party vendors identified by SWIFT as offering gpi-ready applications.

In the testing phase, banks work with SWIFT and key counterparties to meet the necessary quality levels prior to going live with gpi.

Support at every step

As noted by Steve Dumont, head of messaging product management for core platforms at SWIFT, SWIFT provides support throughout the entire onboarding journey. This starts with online training, including tools to explain gpi’s business rules, tracker and directory, but perhaps more important is the SWIFT sparring party system for testing.

“Before going live, you can test all the scenarios in which you will use gpi, for example when instructing another bank, or being instructed to reject or accept a payment message,” said Dumont. As part of the onboarding programme, SWIFT also provides access to an onboarding manager to guide banks from signature to go-live, plus integration solutions and APIs to ease adoption.    

Analysing Kapital Bank’s experience

SWIFT gpi is a key plank in Kapital Bank’s strategy to grow its franchise through quality service.

We joined SWIFT gpi to improve the quality of our cross-border payment services for clients, and our operational efficiency.

Khayala Mammadova, Kapital Bank’s financial institutions relationship manager

“In terms of treasury and cash management, we can now do better forecasting and liquidity management,” said Kapital’s Mammadova.

Mammadova emphasised the importance of selecting the most suitable test cases from the 135 scenarios provided by SWIFT and focused on major counterparties and currencies, e.g. USD and EUR in Kapital’s case.

She also highlighted the various options available for tailored implementation of the SWIFT payment Tracker, which provides real-time visibility on a payment’s progress through the correspondent banking chain. Initially, Kapital chose to implement the payment Tracker using MT 199 messages for compatibility with its vendor-supplied core banking system, but the bank intends to switch to APIs in the near future.

Mammodova is sure that SWIFT gpi will be the industry standard for cross-border payments.

Kapital Bank plans to use SWIFT gpi Stop & Recall service to further reduce its operational costs, increase customer satisfaction and enhance risk management.

“By being gpi-compliant, Kapital Bank can be the preferred partner for international payments routed via Azerbaijan,” she said at the conclusion of her presentation.

Learn more about SWIFT gpi

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