The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) runs a worldwide network by which messages concerning financial transactions are exchanged between banks and other financial institutions. As of December 2001 it links over 7,000 financial institutions in 194 countries and estimates that it carries payment messages averaging more than 6,000,000,000,000 US dollars per day. In 2000 about 1,200,000,000 messages were carried.
SWIFT is a cooperative society under Belgian law, owned by its member financial institutions with offices around the world.
It was founded in Brussels in 1973, supported by 239 banks in 15 countries. It started to establish a common language for financial transactions and a shared data processing system and worldwide communications network. Fundamental operating procedures, rules for liability etc., were established in 1975 and the first message was sent in 1977.
SWIFT web site -- http://www.swift.com/.