Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has signed for a new remittance service from Swift to support cross-border person-to-person payments.
The bank will use Swift's Workers' Remittances 1.0 for its existing global P2P cross border payments in countries such as the US and South Africa.
With more than 17,000 domestic and overseas institutional clients, servicing 170 million individual customers, ICBC is also looking to expand its workers' remittance business with the service.
Mrs LiLi, deputy general manager, operation management department, ICBC, says: "ICBC would like to use Swift's Workers' Remittances 1.0 to extend our remittance business in the US and South Africa, Swift's Beijing office is now providing assistance to ICBC on locating pilot partners in these target regions and with pilot preparation."
Swift says the remittance market is huge, estimating over 200 million migrants initiate between one and 1.5 billion cross-border payments each year with industry revenue exceeds $15 billion annually.
The co-operative says its new system is designed to enable banks to clear and settle these payments in a more efficient and transparent way, using its global network and standards.
Following the completion of a pilot in April, six banks are now certified for the Workers' Remittances live service and a further 24 are in implementation.
"Banks active in the remittance market generally have tended to develop specific proprietary or bilateral services," says Michael Whyte, senior market manager, banks and low-value payments group, Swift. "While these are effective, they can be expensive, and that's why banks asked Swift to offer a solution that would not only bring scalability to bilateral bank services, but also support any type of retail banking payment while remaining commercially and brand neutral."