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SWIFT Targets $15 Billion a Year Lost Revenue Opportunity

Participants named in workers' remittances pilot; U.S. banks largely absent.

BS&T has learned the names of 16 banks committed to participating in a SWIFT global pilot starting next month that aims to increase banks' involvement in the lucrative worker remittance market.

At least a couple of major U.S. banks are expected to join the 16 that have allowed their names to be released, before the test of new SWIFT communication formats for interbank remittance processing starts.

U.S. banks are estimated to have just 3 percent of the global remittance processing business, while banks worldwide have are variously estimated to have between them only between 10 percent and 30 percent of that growing business. Remittance processing, now mostly done by money transfer operators, such as Western Union, is reckoned to be worth about $15 billion a year in revenues.

Half of the initial group of 16 pilot banks come from South America, predominantly Columbia. The initial group includes: Banco do Brasil (Brasilia, Brasil); Banco Davivienda/Bancaf (Bogota, Colombia); La Caixa (Barcelona, Spain); Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong, China); ICICI Bank Ltd. (Mumbai, India); Russlavbank (Moscow, Russia); Standard Bank of South Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa).

The others are: Wall Street Exchange Centre LLC, (Dubai, UAE); Financiera Cambiamos, (Bogota, Colombia); Giro y Finanzas, (Cali, Colombia); Macrofinanciera, (Bogota); Banco BHD S.A. (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic); Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito, Codesarrollo, (Quito, Ecuador); Banco de Guayaquil, (Guayaquil, Ecuador); Banque Centrale Populaire, (Casablanca, Morroco); and FirstRand Bank Limited, (Johannesburg, South Africa).

It has not been determined which region or "payment corridor" will be tested first.

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