ING has had a long and proactive commitment to supporting clients that choose to use SWIFT for bank connectivity. In 2017, the bank reached an important milestone, with almost one in four of all SWIFT corporate clients worldwide now connected to ING. In this interview, Hendrik De Spiegeleer discusses how the bank has achieved this milestone, and its plans for the future.
What factors would you say have contributed to clients’ successful implementation of SWIFT with ING?
When we started as an early pioneer in promoting SWIFT for corporates twelve years ago, there was only a relatively narrow spectrum of customers for whom it was relevant, notably large, multinational, multi-banked corporations. Implementations were quite lengthy and complex, and the integration burden was often high. Today, SWIFT’s appeal and value proposition extends to a far broader range of corporations, particularly as they can take advantage of ING’s centralised, streamlined approach to onboarding and integration, and a choice of implementation options to meet each customer’s specific functional requirements. In the past, sales teams may have found it difficult to talk to customers about SWIFT; today, SWIFT is an integral element of our channels strategy and a crucial choice for many of our clients, particularly those that work with multiple banks.
You mention that a broader range of clients are now attracted to, and derive value from, implementing SWIFT. How has the client profile changed?
Early adopters of SWIFT for corporates were large, global, multi-banked corporations that typically had the most complex and sophisticated connectivity needs, but these customers typically also had access to more substantial IT resources than their smaller peers to support the initial implementation and ongoing maintenance. Today, not only are we seeing corporations of all sizes adopting SWIFT, but as a variety of implementation options now exists, combined with a quick and straightforward approach to onboarding through ING, there is no longer the need to dedicate significant IT support or to develop specialist expertise.
Few, if any, clients now choose to install the SWIFT gateway on their premises, with the majority preferring instead to outsource SWIFT connectivity to a service bureau. This includes the 50-60% of clients that connect through SWIFT’s cloud solution Alliance Lite2, reflecting a wider movement towards cloud-based solutions. Increasingly, SWIFT connectivity is integrated within treasury management and ERP solutions, so the implementation and integration burden is significantly reduced.