A slew of Chinese banks have opted to join a global initiative for quicker and more transparent cross-border payments launched by international payments organisation SWIFT in 2015.
11 commercial banks in China have joined the SWIFT global payments innovation initiative, bringing the total number of Chinese lenders on board to 13, and covering approximately 80% of China’s cross-border payments.
Over 20 global transaction banks are already members of SWIFT bpi, with another 50 waiting in the wings to join.
The new initiative seeks to revolutionise international payments sector by combining real-time tracking of payments with the speed and certainty of same-day settlement.
According to Alain Raes, CEO fo APAC and EMEA at Swift, hundreds of thousands of payments have already been processed across over 85 country corridors by means of the new initiative.
Some of China’s biggest state-owned lenders, including Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and amongst the earliest members of the initiative.
“As one of the earliest banks to participate, BOC has played an important role in rule setting, pilot testing and long-term planning,” said BOC’s Wu Jianguang. “In January, BOC became one of the banks worldwide to go live. Currently, gpi business has been undertaken in 66 domestic and overseas BOC branches and 11 major currencies, with rapid growth of channels and customer coverage.”
Observers expect the enthusiasm of China’s banking sector for SWIFT gpi to play a key role in expediting the One Belt One Road initiative and expediting financial cooperation between participating states.