Ten Chinese Banks Have Gone Live on SWIFT

SWIFT released the names of the ten Chinese banks that have gone live on SWIFT global payments innovation initiative (gpi) since its launch in 2017. SWIFT gpi is seen as a key player in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is designed to improve the customer experience in correspondent banking by increasing the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments. China remains a largely dollarized market—as of June 2017, 98% of the payments between the US and China are performed in US Dollars, and the RMB is used for more than 2% of payments to China in most markets, SWIFT observed.

The banks are: Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Minsheng Bank, China Guangfa Bank, China Construction Bank, Bank of Jiangsu, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, China Citic Bank, and China Zheshang Bank. Seventeen other Chinese banks have committed to SWIFT gpi in China and are in the process of going live. Together, these banks represent an estimated 86% of cross-border payment traffic conducted by Chinese banks in mainland China. In addition, a number of foreign banks with mainland presence are already on the SWIFT gpi network.

Alain Raes, Chief Executive of EMEA and APAC, SWIFT, said:

The financial industry has an important role to play in realising the full potential of the Belt and Road Initiative, from building and maintaining effective infrastructures and processes to support capital flows; to working towards common standards and mitigating risks. By affirming their commitment to come onboard SWIFT gpi, the 27 Chinese banks that have signed up so far are sending a strong message to the rest of the world. The seamless connectivity, optimised financial products and services, and presence of ongoing community engagement and standards afforded by SWIFT and its gpi platform, are crucial in facilitating business between China and the rest of the world, and in doing so, set a new precedent for cross-border payments globally.

Launched in 2017, gpi already accounts for 25% of SWIFT cross-border payment traffic. More than 165 banks, representing 80% of SWIFT’s cross-border payments traffic, and including 49 of the world’s top 50 banks, have signed up to the service. To date, 50 million gpi payments have been processed, with hundreds of thousands of payments sent daily across 350 country corridors, in more than 100 currencies. In major corridors, such as USA-China, gpi already accounts for more than 40% of payment traffic.