Due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, electronic messaging platform SWIFT has delayed their ISO 20022 migration date for cross-border payments from November 2021 to the end of 2022.

The migration involves rigorous changes to standby letter of credit (L/C) and guarantee messaging.

Coronavirus impact

SWIFT said that in recognition of the operational stresses that the pandemic is putting on the global financial community, especially on smaller institutions, that it has decided to delay the compliance deadline on the L/C and guarantee messaging.

This is one of many changes that were originally planned by SWIFT for 2020 that will now be activated in November 2021, with test and training capabilities available from July 2021.

Surprise decision

The decision surprised financial institutions across the European market, including the European Central Bank.

It instructed SWIFT to draw up a blueprint designed to mitigate complications arising from its decision, which the messaging system has now done.

Several banks have said they are anyhow pressing on with readying their operational and compliance systems for the changes.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.