Swift CEO, Gottfried Leibbrandt, notified the organization’s 25-member board that he wished to step down from his position by June next year.
His departure in 2019 will mark a 7 year tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of the global financial services provider. Mr. Leibbrandt joined the organization back in July 2012.
The CEO went on to summarize his tenure at SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) as follows:
Swift is in very different shape than it was seven years ago. There’s always going to be a time to hand over the reins and write a new chapter. I think this is indeed the right time.
Emergence of Ripple and XRP Was a Game Changer
The past few years have seen plenty of fintech startups tackle cross-border payments using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. One such firm is Ripple Labs that was founded in 2012 to develop the current payment protocol that is the signature of the firm.
Ripple went on to provide the following payment services for global banks and financial institutions.
The services provide a more efficient option for cross-border transfers that is not only cheaper, but faster and more secure than other available options such as SWIFT.
SWIFT’s 2016 Loss Through Phony Orders
The urge and need to further secure the SWIFT system was amplified when in 2016, cyber criminals stole $81 Million by sending phony instructions via SWIFT to a Federal Reserve Bank in New York. The theft involved the criminals requesting the bank to send funds owned by the Bangladesh Central Bank to accounts located in the Philippines.
The criminals had sent out a total of 35 fraudulent transfer instructions but only 5 went through until a spelling mistake raised some eyebrows at the Federal Bank in New York. Most of the money transferred went to four personal accounts held by single individuals. Mr. Leibbrandt reacted to the cyber heist by hiring several developers and kick starting a modernization program at SWIFT.
One result of the modernization efforts was the new SWIFT gpi (global payments innovation) system. The gpi payments system was developed to ensure that payments on the SWIFT platform are fast, trackable and deliver confirmation when the beneficiary account is credited.
The team at SWIFT explains how the tracking is done at gpi.
The Tracker database, in the Cloud but securely hosted at SWIFT, gives end-to-end visibility on the status of a payment transaction from when it is sent and until it is confirmed.
SWIFT gpi banks can log in to the Tracker to check the status of the payments they have sent, those in progress and those that have been received.