Banking & finance

ICC releases guidelines for creation of BPO customer agreements

  • 7 October 2015
Trade facilitation

Following a request made by a number of banks to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the ICC Banking Commission and SWIFT have published guidelines to assist banks in the creation of customer contracts or agreements for use with their BPO-related services or products.

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist banks in developing contracts or agreements with their customers for the provision of BPO-related services or products (BPO customer agreements). The provisions governing the bank’s BPO-related services or products may either be set out in a BPO-specific contract/agreement, or in a contract/agreement that covers BPO-related services in addition to other services.

Vivek Gupta, Global Head of Trade and Supply Chain Product at ANZ shares his view: “As a pioneering bank in leading and executing on a genuinely 4-corner automated BPO, ANZ supports the guidelines and foresees this facilitating further the take-up of the BPO by local and international Banks.”

Petra Burckhardt, Global Head Product Management Trade, Commerzbank Transaction Services and Financial Institutions adds: “Commerzbank very much appreciates the release of the ICC Guidelines for the Creation of BPO Customer Agreements for three reasons: the guidelines support banks to issue own BPO agreements with their customers, they help to enable and motivate more banks to get BPO ready which is crucial for handling BPO business for our corporates in the 4-corner model of the BPO. And, most importantly, the new ICC guidelines now include the corporate world which will provide more confidence and trust in the BPO in the international market.”

BPO adoption is accelerating in the tier 2 bank space and many of those banks need expert guidance on the legal side. These new ICC guidelines are our response to this market need.

Harriette I. Resnick, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co, and member of the working group comments: “JPMorgan has actively supported this important initiative as a member of the ICC Banking Commission’s Working Group and Legal Committee. We believe the Guidelines, together with the URBPO, will provide the business and legal communities with a framework for understanding the BPO product and the key issues to be considered in developing a customer agreement.”

The document does not provide a suggested text of a contract or agreement. The drafting of a BPO contract or agreement is like any other bank document and should remain within the domain and control of the concerned bank. However, what it does provide is a suggested list of categories, and the individual components within those categories, that should be considered when drafting a customer contract or agreement.

It should be noted that BPO-related services or products are specific to each bank and fall within the competitive space in which the banks will operate. It is not for the guidance paper to provide full details of the kind of services or products that a bank may wish to offer. However, in its appendix you will find a list of bank product descriptions that were drafted in May 2009 for the SWIFT Trade Services Utility documentation.

Andre Casterman, Chair of the BPO initiative at the ICC says: “BPO adoption is accelerating in the tier 2 bank space and many of those banks need expert guidance on the legal side. These new ICC guidelines are our response to this market need.”

Gary Collyer, Managing Director of Collyer Consulting Global Ltd and chair of the ICC/SWIFT working group which produced the new guidelines added: “It was clear from the outset of this project that a number of banks were willing to adopt the BPO but were seeking guidance in how to structure their customer agreements. We hope that the guidelines that have been produced will aid that process, focus the attention of the appropriate personnel in each bank to the key features to be considered and further enhance the usage of the BPO as a key method of settlement in international trade.”

Download the guidance paper from the document centre.