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TOWERGROUP VIEWS SWIFT INITIATIVES AS CATALYSTS FOR TRANSFORMATION IN GLOBAL BANKING

Needham, MA, December 13, 2005 - On the eve of 2006, "transformation" continues to be a significant challenge facing the global banking community as
underscored by SWIFT's adoption of it as the theme of its annual conference, SIBOS 2005. This challenge applies not only to SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) and its membership - but ultimately to the millions of customers who rely on financial institutions to
facilitate global commercial activity.

New TowerGroup research examines three key initiatives for the global banking industry:
- Achieving SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) to streamline payments across the European Union
- Developing and implementing a global trade services utility
- Improving connectivity between banks and corporations

With regulation, customer preferences, globalization, technology, and an increasingly competitive environment all serving as powerful drivers for the
global financial services industry to evolve, SWIFT and its membership must take measurable steps to rise to the challenge of transformation. A key criterion to achieving transformation is the ability to define it. According to TowerGroup, transformation should be defined from multiple points of view, just as transformation must be implemented at all levels - ranging from resolving industry-wide issues to reengineering a bank's back offices to
providing enhanced customer services.

>From a payments perspective, SEPA is SWIFT's key priority. According to TowerGroup, SWIFT's approach to payments transformation goes beyond SEPA to embrace new options and solutions. New TowerGroup research also looks at corporate access and trade services - two of the critical elements of the
SWIFT strategy that go beyond payments and that are intended to deepen the relationship between banks and its wholesale customers.