SWIFT codes are used to identify banks and financial institutions worldwide. They are used by the swift network to transmit wire transfers (money transactions) and messages between them. For international wire transfers, swift codes are always required in order to make transactions secure and fast.
These codes were initially introduced by the SWIFT organization as “swift codes” but were later standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as “BIC” meaning “Business Identifier Codes”. Most people think B.I.C. stands for “Bank Identifier Codes” (“bank” instead of “business”) but that is incorrect since non-financial institutions can also join the swift network.
A “BIC code” can be seen by many different names, like “SWIFT code” (most common), “SWIFT ID”, “SWIFT-BIC”, “SWIFT address”, “BEI” (that comes from “Business Entity Identifier”), or even “ISO 9362”, which is the standard format that has been approved by the ISO organization. The acronym SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.
In depth analysis of a swift code
Swift codes are broken down into sections, in the same way telephone numbers are broken into sections, and every section reveals some information about the institution that was assigned this code. They consist of eight or eleven characters. Whenever an eight-character code is used, then it is referring to the headquarters (main office) of the institution.Here is how an 11-character code is broken down and what each section of characters represents. Let's take this imaginary 11-character swift code:
It can be broken down to these sections:
AAAA – BB – CC - DDD
Section 1 (the first 4-characters “AAAA”): This code is used to identify the institution’s global presence (all branches and all divisions around the world). For example, “CHAS” is used for “JPMORGAN CHASE BANK”
Section 2 (5th and 6th characters “BB”): This two-letter code represents the country of this particular institution’s branch and follows the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 standard for representing country codes. For example, “US” for “UNITED STATES”, “GB” for “UNITED KINGDOM”, CA for “CANADA”, etc.
Section 3 (7th and 8th characters “CC”): These characters represent a location code (e.g. “FF” is the code for “Frankfurt”, “KK” is the code for Copenhagen, etc.) and also the second character (8th in the B.I.C.) sometimes carries this information:
- If it is equal to “0”, then it typically is a BIC assigned for testing purposes (as opposed to a BIC used on the live network).
- If it is equal to “1”, then it denotes a passive participant in the SWIFT network.
- If it is equal to "2", then it typically denotes a “reverse billing” BIC, meaning that the recipient of the message has to pay for the message.
Section 4 (9th to 11th characters “DDD”): These final three characters form a “branch code” that refers to the particular branch of the institution. If this section is omitted, then we have an 8-character swift code that is assumed to refer to the HEAD OFFICE of the institution. Also, a typical naming convention is that in the case we are referring to the main offices of an institution, this branch code is “XXX”.
Globalization with Reason
An interview with George Monbiot, by Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy
George Monbiot, the leading environmental activist and writer, has been involved in many global campaigns of resistance to corporate and state power. But what positive social and political vision animates his work? Where does it contrast with that of globalisationâs advocates like Maria Cattaui, Peter Sutherland, and George Soros? And how does he see the future of the internationalist movement in the light of the âwar on terrorismâ? (v. long)
Caspar Henderson â openDemocracy has opened a debate on globalisation
Globalization from Below
March 18 2001
Globalization from Below
by Patrick Bond
(Review of `Globalization from Below: The Power of Solidarity,' by Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello and Brendan Smith, Cambridge, MA, South End Press.)
There are more than a dozen new english- language books aimed mainly at an audience of international-justice activists, strategists and intellectuals. I've got the pleasant task of reading these in my role as coordinator of a seminar of 20 masters and doctoral students which starts next week in Johannesburg.
Because it raises issues so well and so forthrightly, honestly considers competing arguments, I chose to make one book-- Globalization from Below--required reading (as I will do again in a similar seminar at York University in Toronto this summer)
Cooking the Books
What drives companies to 'cook the books' â or lie about their earnings
just how widespread this problem might be. How much of the global economy is based on 'smoke and mirrors' book-keeping
a genuine weak spot in the financial system that could ultimately lead to a meltdown? These are interesting questions for people to ask and it is especially useful for to identify such weak spots. Book cooking is a topical issue in the wake of the implosion of the amazing disintegrating known as Enron.
Both inside and outside the financial world people are asking the question 'How many more Enrons are out there?' we first look at the pressures behind book-cooking with a glimpse at the Wonderland of Accounting