ECB releases statement over Swift ISO blueprint

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • Comments from the ECB and Swift appear to show some support and collaboration in the face of the ISO 20022 delay.
  • Swift’s blueprint publication has led to reassurance for the ECB, which was concerned about the impact of the delay on internal bank planning.
  • “The ECB appreciates the timely publication of SWIFT’s draft blueprint on ISO 20022 high-value payments with a cross border leg,” said a spokesperson.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has issued a response to the cross-bank payment network Swift over its plans to delay the implementation of ISO 20022.

The new ISO, which will alter the way that some messages are transmitted between institutions making cross-border payments and increase the amount of data, was supposed to take place in November 2021.

However, it was recently delayed in a surprise move for those involved in global banking.

It was reported that banks were now concerned that they would have to alter their adaptation plans, many of which were geared up for the original deadline.

The ECB then wrote to Swift asking it to take some action to help banks that are facing challenges dealing with the delay.

Swift responded with a blueprint designed to help those making high-value payments with a ‘cross border leg’ in the Eurozone.

Now, however, there has been a further exchange of perspectives between the two organisations.

Ulrich Bindseil, who serves as the director general of market infrastructure and payments at the ECB, was quoted as saying that the organisation “appreciates the timely publication” of the blueprint.

“The ECB appreciates the timely publication of SWIFT’s draft blueprint on ISO 20022 high-value payments with a cross border leg,” he said.

“The blueprint shall allow Eurozone market participants to reassess their plans for those payments in the interim period between November 2021 and November 2022.”

“It covers further details on Swift’s mitigating measures as well as proposed timelines for testing and implementation to facilitate the Eurozone market participant assessment,” he added.

Stephen Lindsay, who is the head of standards at Swift, added some further context to the organisation’s decision.

“The blueprint we have published further details the scope of each measure and sets out a timeline for delivery,” he said.

“The usage guidelines will be available at the end of June, pilot validation and translation software in September, and a test FINplus ISO 20022 messaging service for payments by the end of November.”

He explained that Swift intended to continue its collaboration with a range of organisations to help ensure that the changeover goes ahead in an effective manner.

“We will continue to work closely with the ECB, EBA Clearing and the Eurozone banking community to ensure coexistence remains as smooth as possible for euro high-value payment system participants,” he added.

Developments like this one from the ECB and Swift happen often in the online money transfer field.

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