Corporate use of SWIFT continues to spread. In the past year, $58 billion Dow Chemical has moved roughly 60% of its bulk A/P payments onto SWIFT. All treasury transactions now go through SWIFT, reports Andreas Unterste, director of financial operations, compliance and technology in Dow's treasury, and all the bank information that treasury and accounting need is imported through SWIFT. Large multinationals like Midland, Mich.-based Dow are moving more of their bank communications onto SWIFT. The requirements for accessing SWIFT through the Score model are being relaxed to permit more corporations and governments to join.

The growth of service bureaus–third parties that provide SWIFT connections–and a new Web-based connectivity option, Alliance Lite, are cutting up-front costs and speeding implementation, making it easier for smaller companies to take advantage of SWIFT's benefits. And important new messages are being introduced to simplify and automate bank account administration and enquiries about payments.

Actually, corporate growth is outpacing overall growth for SWIFT, reports Lise Gjertsen, SWIFT's regional manager for corporates in the Americas. At the end of the first quarter, 441 corporations had registered with SWIFT. Most are based in Europe, but the majority of the traffic is destined for North America, she says. While early adopters like GE, Microsoft and DuPont built and own their complex SWIFT connectivity infrastructures, most companies now are using a service bureau or bank concentrator to provide and maintain the pipes, Gjertsen notes.

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