In October, Brad Volmer, assistant treasurer of Sun Microsystems Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., attended his first SWIFT International Banking Operations Seminar (SIBOS). He had plenty of corporate treasury company. More than 285 corporates attended SIBOS in September, up from just 80 a year earlier–and even that number was unprecedented for what had long been a gathering of international banks. This year, a special two-day forum featured corporate uses of SWIFT–and "most corporate sessions were standing-room only," Volmer reports.

Anyone who doubted that throwing open SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide International Financial Telecommunication) to direct membership by nonfinancial companies was a revolutionary move, would have seen clear evidence at SIBOS of the sea change in thinking it has spawned. "We went to talk to banks about our services for them," reports Jonathan Eber, director of product management at New York-based ACI Worldwide, "but we ended up talking about services for corporate treasuries. They challenged us to extend our product set beyond financial institutions."

It's not just large multinationals either, notes Colin Day, vice president of market insights for SunGard's banks and corporations business. "Middle market and purely domestic companies are showing interest. It seems to depend more on the number of bank accounts than on revenue size."

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