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Russian banks join Chinese alternative to SWIFT payment system

Russian banks join Chinese alternative to SWIFT payment system
Several Russian banks have joined the China International Payments System (CIPS), to ease operations between the two countries, according to a senior official at the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

“As for the cooperation on payment systems, a range of banks are already connected to CIPS, allowing to facilitate payments routing procedure,” Vladimir Shapovalov, who heads a division dealing with foreign regulators at the CBR’s international cooperation department, said earlier this week during the international Russian-Chinese forum.

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Meanwhile, the regulator hopes that Chinese counterparts pay more attention to Russia’s own SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) alternative, SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages), as it can further boost bilateral trade, the official added.

Russia is actively demonstrating the SPFS network, which was created in 2014 in response US threats of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT, to foreign partners, including China after its export version was finished late last year. The first system transaction involving a non-bank enterprise, was made by Russian oil major Rosneft in December 2017. Some 500 participants, with major Russian financial institutions and companies, have already joined.

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On Thursday, the CBR announced that the Russian alternative to SWIFT made “significant progress” as it already complies with international standards and foreign players can be integrated in it. Some foreign banks already joined the SPFS, according to the CBR deputy governor Ksenia Yudaeva.

SWIFT is an international payment network that allows information about financial transactions to be sent and received around the globe. Over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries are connected to the network.

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