Banks Endorse Measures to Enhance Transparency in International Payments



    NEW YORK, April 19 /CNW/ -- The Wolfsberg Group and The Clearing House
Association L.L.C. today issued a statement endorsing measures to enhance the
transparency of international wire transfers to promote the effectiveness of
global anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing programs. The
measures include both the development of an enhanced payment message format,
which would include more detailed information about those conducting wire
transfers in certain instances, as well as calling for the global adoption of
basic messaging principles aimed at promoting good practice with respect to
the payment system.
    Over the last 30 years, the world's banks have developed an efficient and
effective international payment system.  The smooth functioning of this system
is vital to global financial stability.  The steps outlined above will both
better protect the integrity of the system and help ensure its continued
efficient functioning.
    With the support of the global regulatory community and subject to
acceptance by the membership of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial
Telecommunication (SWIFT), the co-operative supplying secure standardized
messaging services and interface software, it is anticipated that an enhanced
payment message format will be developed.
    
    The statement, including the messaging principles, is included below.
    
    Members of the Wolfsberg Group are ABN AMRO, Banco Santander Central
Hispano, Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse,
Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Societe Generale, and UBS.
    Members of The Clearing House Association L.L.C. are Bank of America,
National Association; The Bank of New York; Citibank, N.A.; Deutsche Bank
Trust Company Americas; HSBC Bank USA, National Association; JPMorgan Chase
Bank, National Association; LaSalle Bank, National Association; UBS AG; U.S.
Bank National Association; Wachovia Bank, National Association; and Wells
Fargo Bank, National Association.

    
    Media contact: For the Wolfsberg Group
    David Bagley, Co-Chair, davidbagley@hsbc.com, (44) (20) 7991 8645
    Philipp von Turk, Co-Chair, philipp.von.turk@jpmorgan.com,
    Telephone: 212.464-1226

    Media contact: For The Clearing House Association L.L.C.
    Greg Berardi, Office: 415.239.7826, Mobile: 415.672.2377,
    greg@bluemarlinpartners.com
    Chip Savidge, Office: 212.613.9896, Mobile: 917.576.0957,
    chip.savidge@theclearinghouse.org

    Statement on Payment Message Standards
    
    We endorse the following actions to enhance transparency regarding
parties to transactions in international payments.  These actions will promote
the effectiveness of risk-based programs designed to reduce vulnerabilities
associated with financial intermediation and enable banks to avoid the use of
their facilities by individuals and organizations that the banks would not
accept as their own customers, including, most particularly, those engaged in
money laundering, terrorist financing or transactions in violation of relevant
sanctions.
    These actions are: (i) the creation of a new or enhanced SWIFT payment
message format for third-party cover payments that enables information
regarding the originator and the beneficiary to be included; and (ii) the
adoption of certain basic payment message standards within the banking
industry.
    With the support of the global regulatory community, and assuming
acceptance by the SWIFT membership, it is anticipated that an appropriate
message format change could be implemented as early as November 2008.
    The four payment message standards that should be observed by all
financial institutions are:

    
    - Financial institutions should not omit, delete or alter information in
      payment messages or orders for the purpose of avoiding detection of that
      information by any other financial institution in the payment process.

    - Financial institutions should not use any particular payment message for
      the purpose of avoiding detection of information by any other financial
      institution in the payment process.

    - Subject to all applicable laws, financial institutions should cooperate
      as fully as practicable with other financial institutions in the payment
      process when requested to provide information about the parties
      involved.

    - Financial institutions should strongly encourage their correspondent
      banks to observe these principles.
    

    The major financial institutions that have developed and will observe
these standards will also strongly encourage their correspondent banks to
observe them.  To be successful, however, this initiative must necessarily
involve the public and private sectors.  The effectiveness of these standards
requires adherence by the financial institutions originating payment messages
and encouragement of their adherence by their regulators.





For further information:

For further information: Greg Berardi, +1-415-239-7826, +1-415-672-2377,
 greg@bluemarlinpartners.com, or Chip Savidge, +1-212-613-9896, 
+1-917-576-0957, chip.savidge@theclearinghouse.org; both of The Clearing 
House Association L.L.C.; or David Bagley, Co-Chair, +44-20-7991-8645, 
davidbagley@hsbc.com, or Philipp von Turk, Co-Chair, +1-212-464-1226, 
philipp.von.turk@jpmorgan.com, both of the Wolfsberg Group Web Site:
http://www.theclearinghouse.org/

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