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Do you know if a bank operating in a particular country can have a BIC/SWIFT that does not contain the alpha-2 code of that country?

I'm reviewing a web service searching for the BIC/SWIFT for a bank by its bank code and country code, but in my opinion, it BIC/SWIFT containing other country code should be invalid - i.e. for Nordea branches in Denmark & Finland I receive NDEASESSXXX (apparently a BIC/SWIFT for a bank in Sweden as the 4th and 5th letters are "SE") instead of NDEADKKK or NDEAFIHH. So I wonder am I correct that a bank operating in some country (even if it is a branch of a bank from another country) must have a BIC/SWIFT containing the ISO alpha-2 code of the country in which the particular bank (branch) is operating?

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SWIFT BIC is structured as below

  • 4 Chars of Bank Code - This is issued by SWIFT
  • 2 Chars of Country Code - This is ISO Country codes
  • 2 Chars of Location/City - In some countries [like US] the local body governs these codes. For example CITIUS33; BONYUS33; so 33 represents Newyork. Other countries are not strict and use whatever they please.
  • 1 Char of physical terminal. Generally not quote as part of BIC
  • 3 Chars of Branch. This is decided by each bank. In today's world this is used more for functional identification in a bank.

for Nordea branches in Denmark & Finland I receive NDEASESSXXX (apparently a BIC/SWIFT for a bank in Sweden as the 4th and 5th letters are "SE") instead of NDEADKKK or NDEAFIHH. So I wonder am I correct that a bank operating in some country (even if it is a branch of a bank from another country) must have a BIC/SWIFT containing the ISO alpha-2 code of the country in which the particular bank (branch) is operating?

This depends on a particular Bank and how they are set-up. They would want all the traffic to a particular BIC and have internal routing mechanism to route it correctly to the right branch. So it is no mandatory to have country code where you are operating, more so in today's electronic world.

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