J.P. Morgan has expanded its Interbank Information Network (IINSM), the first live blockchain service offered by the firm. More than 75 banks (see below) have signed up to be part of IIN. It is the largest number of banks to join a live application of blockchain technology.
This network of banks will facilitate global cross-border payments including Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Emma Loftus, Head of Global Payments and Receivables, J.P. Morgan Treasury Services said: “We saw tremendous interest among correspondent banks after the pilot launched in 2017, asking if they could join.
“We believe IIN will significantly improve the efficiency of cross-border payments, particularly as more banks participate and we evolve the functionality and use cases beyond compliance-related inquiries.”
The hidden horror in financial services
While it is true that cross-border payments have improved – not least through services offered by PayPal, TransferWise or CurrencyFair – the settlement system does not always work perfectly. This does not apply only to international payments. For example, the same applies to stocks and debt instruments.
The problem lies in the ‘unsettled settlements’. To resolve these, financial institutions employ large numbers of people in back offices to reconcile the difference and obtain a closing settlement.
Even today, there are financial service company employees who have to meet in person to negotiate a resolution. Overall, ‘unsettled settlements’ are the costly, and equally irritating, equivalent of lost luggage for airlines. Addressing settlement resolution appears to be one aim of IIN which, if proven successful, might deploy elsewhere in the future.
IIN was launched as a pilot in 2017. It seeks to:
- minimise friction in the global payments process
- enable payments to reach beneficiaries faster and with fewer steps.
Using blockchain technology, IIN reduces the time correspondent banks currently spend responding to compliance and other data-related inquiries that delay payments. IIN is powered by Quorum, which is a permissioned-variant of the Ethereum blockchain developed by J.P. Morgan.
Conceptually, IIN makes available a member-accessible ledger. This will enable authorised members of IIN to exchange information about the exceptions, the ‘unsettled settlements’, which are holding up completion of customer payments. It might even provide assistance to compliance functions, if these need involvement.
“We’ve been actively exploring how emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, and an enhanced digital experience can be deployed in our Treasury Services business to better serve our clients’ ever changing needs,” said Takis Georgakopoulos, Global Head of Treasury Services. “We will lead the market with the rollout of a robust pipeline of innovations over the coming months, beginning with the launch of IIN.”
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
The settlement challenge is a huge one. Even when all appears automated to the customer (whether an enterprise or an individual), the transaction failure rate is much higher than financial institutions want or will admit. This costs everybody and is one reason why companies such as PayPal, Transferwise and CurrencyFair have flourished.
While the IIN proof of concept only had a few members, what impresses about this development in the number of banks signing up to participate (the lack of UK banks is notable). The network effect applies. The more members in IIN the greater the scope for resolving failed settlements. Key to this is that the IIN blockchain is permissioned.
The list of IIN banks includes:
- Banca Mifel
- Banco BICE
- anco Bisa
- Banco Davivienda S.A.
- Banco de Crédito del Perú
- Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires
- Banco Industrial
- Banco Mercantil del Norte
- Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz
- Banco Nacional de Bolivia
- Banco Popular Dominicano
- Banco Regional
- Bank of Montreal
- Itau Unibanco
- JP Morgan Chase
- National Bank of Canada
- Royal Bank of Canada*
- The Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Allied Irish Bank
- Banco de Investment Global, S.A.
- Banco de Sabadell
- Banco Santander
- Banque Internationale de Commerce – BRED (Suisse) SA
- Banque Thaler SA
- CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique SA
- CIM Banque S.A Geneve
- Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A.
- Credit Agricole S.A.
- Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale
- PKO Bank Polski S.A.
- Privatbank IHAG Zurich AG
- Reyl & Cie SA
- Société Générale
- The First International Bank of Israel Ltd
- UniCredit (through their subsidiary UniCredit Bank Austria)
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
- BRAC Bank Limited
- China CITIC Bank International Limited
- China Guangfa Bank
- Chong Hing Bank Limited
- Ho Chi Minh City Development JS Commercial
- ICICI Bank Limited
- Indovina Bank Ltd
- Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam
- KASIKORNBANK Public Company Limited
- KEB Hana Bank
- Mizuho Bank, Ltd.
- Prime Bank Ltd.
- PT Bank Central Asia Tbk
- PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk
- Resona Bank, Ltd.
- Shinhan Bank
- Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
- Union Bank Of The Philippines
- Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade
- Woori Bank
Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa
- Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation
- Alawwal Bank
- Bank ABC (Arab Banking Corporation B.S.C.)
- Bank Al Habib Limited
- Barclays Bank Tanzania Limited
- Barclays Bank Zambia PLC
- Commercial Bank of Africa Limited
- Commercial International Bank (Egypt) S.A.E
- Credit Libanais SAL
- DenizBank A.S.
- Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited
- Joint-Stock Company BCS-Investment Bank
- JS Bank Limited
- Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi A.S.
- MauBank Limited
- National Bank of Kenya Limited
- National Bank of Kuwait S.A.K.P.
- Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi A.S.