On an average day, General Electric's treasury workstation processes about 7,500 wire transfers. When things heat up at the end of a quarter, that number doubles. The importance of wire transfers to the $182.5 billion company had led treasury to mull what would happen if one of its primary banking partners experienced a money transfer system failure. Then, the unthinkable occurred. "It was a Monday morning in June 2008," recalls GE deputy treasurer Dennis Sweeney.

The previous weekend, the money transfer bank had upgraded its software. Something was amiss, however. "When we got to the office we realized a predicament–a queue of wire transfers we had sent the bank via SWIFT were stuck in the funds transfer complex," Sweeney says. "We halted sending wires to the bank, so as not to exacerbate the problem while the bank tried to bring its systems online. However, they could not confidently predict when or if they could bring their system back up, and the clock was ticking."

GE's treasury had to decide whether to get the fund transfers–involving 3,600 payments–to customers via some other means. It had already contacted Bank of New York Mellon about acting as a backup. "First we pulled together a team of IT and cash management subject matter experts and brainstormed for a while; then we decided on the redirection approach we had originally considered," Sweeney says.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including PropertyCasualty360.com and Law.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.