Shared IT service for banks pays €30m back to users

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) has given its bank members a rebate worth more than €30m

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) has given its bank members a rebate worth more than €30m. It follows an increase of almost 11% in the number of financial messages sent between banks during 2014.

In 2014, traffic increased by 10.95% and Swift recorded its most recent peak traffic day on 30 September 2014, when it processed 26 million messages. In total there were 5.6 billion messages sent between banks using Swift in 2014.

The financial messaging shared service was established in 1973, when 239 banks shared the communications service. More than 10,000 financial services businesses now use it and millions of messages are processed every day.

The rebate, which is about 10% of what the banks paid to use the service, is an example of how banks can co-operate on non-competitive processes and gain operational efficiencies.

Swift chairman Yawar Shah said strong traffic growth combined with "innovative operational efficiencies" allows the shared service to give back to its user community.

“In addition to the 10% rebate, Swift users have also realised additional cost savings in the form of substantial structural price reductions," he said. "It is through these strategic pricing programmes that Swift will continue to reduce costs for its customers.”

Swift demonstrates how even companies engaged in cut-throat competition can share core business processing resources to cut costs and even jointly innovate.

Speaking to Computer Weekly in November 2014, HSBC Global Banking and Markets CIO Sumeet Chabria said finance firms can share many systems without harming competitiveness.  

"If customers want bespoke products, we have to customise – but where the industry is moving to simplified business models there can be common platform sharing between banks. I am open to that,” he said. He added that joint ventures are another option.

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