What does it take to excel at trade finance on a regional or global scale?
BEST BANK FOR TRADE FINANCE
French bank BNP Paribas maintains more than 100 trade centers around the world, staffed with experts in trade finance. The bank serves more than 40,000 corporate clients in a wide range of industries and handles 14 million trade transactions annually. BNP Paribas provides advice and operational capabilities to help corporations implement strategies to optimize working capital. Its trade-finance solutions include structured trade and supply-chain management, as well as Web-based platforms. BNP Paribas also provides databases and services to help corporate clients search internationally for trade partners. It offers integrated solutions under its One Bank for Corporates offering, with a single point of contact.
BEST TRADE FINANCE INFRASTRUCTURE INITIATIVE
CCRManager is a Web-based platform that enables banks to manage the distribution of trade-finance assets internationally to other banks, credit insurers and fund managers. Users can list trade assets, negotiate deals and manage supporting documentation in a secure environment. The platform went live in May 2017. It was developed with the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and major global financial institutions. CCRManager hopes to attract new investors to trade finance through the platform’s efficiency and pricing transparency in the secondary market.
BEST BANK FOR COMMODITY FINANCE
Utrecht, Netherlands-based Rabobank is a specialist in trade-finance and structured-inventory products. The trade-and-commodity-finance unit focuses on agricultural commodities, energy and metals finance—areas where Rabobank has long been active. The bank’s product knowledge and global network enable it to serve the largest international clients at every stage of the trade flow. Rabobank confirms and discounts about $60 billion of export letters of credit yearly.
BEST TRADE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
BNY Mellon processes trade documents across six continents with the help of scanning and digitization. BNY Mellon offers an Internet-based letter of credit (LC) information-delivery and document-management system. This enables banks and corporations to electronically transmit documents to BNY Mellon from any of their processing locations. Users scan their LC documents and transmit their images to the bank for examination using this application. Bank clients offering commercial LC services are able to use BNY Mellon’s overnight document-examination service to improve turnaround times.
BEST TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE PROVIDER
Trade-credit insurer Euler Hermes, based in Paris, is a subsidiary of German insurer Allianz. Euler Hermes insures companies against the risk of nonpayment by customers. It maintains a risk-information database on more than 80 million companies. The coverage includes both commercial and political risks. Euler Hermes provides scores for 241 countries and territories on an online interactive country-risk map. The insurer also offers accounts-receivable management solutions worldwide.
BEST BANK FOR EXPORT FINANCE
Citi has long-standing relationships with more than 60 export-credit agencies around the world and is the leading provider of export- and agency-finance solutions. These include agency-supported working capital financing and structured trade. Citi is experienced in originating, negotiating, structuring and syndicating trade-finance transactions. This enables it to help companies to expand their export reach to higher-risk markets. Export-credit agencies offer guarantees to cover banks’ credit and commercial risks.
BEST BANK FOR STRUCTURED TRADE FINANCE
ANZ, a leading corporate bank in Asia, offers customized structured trade- and commodity-finance products. The bank offers such specialized products as pre-export finance and lending based on reserves that are still in the ground.
ANZ’s structured trade-finance offering is geared for use by producers, processors, traders and industrial end users. Working capital requirements can be met through onshore or offshore warehouse financing arrangements that allow inventory stockpiles to be maintained in strategic locations.
BEST BANK FOR TRADE FINANCE IN EMERGING MARKETS
Société Générale has trade experts on the ground in 51 countries, including 19 in Africa and 13 in Central and Eastern Europe. The bank’s 3.5 million African clients include more than 150,000 corporations. SG offers products designed specifically for the African continent, including regional cash pooling, investment banking and renminbi settlements, as well as solutions for small and medium-size enterprises.
In the CEE, SG is the third-largest bank in the Czech Republic, number two in Romania and the second-largest private bank in Russia, where it is the majority shareholder in Rosbank.
BEST BANK FOR TRADE FINANCE IN FRONTIER MARKETS
Standard Chartered Bank
London-based Standard Chartered Bank, one of the world’s biggest providers of trade-finance services, receives the bulk of its earnings from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The bank has introduced a number of innovative trade-finance products to help strengthen frontier markets.
In Bangladesh, for example, it executed the first structured finance transaction in the country and was also the first to introduce duty financing, whereby corporate clients can obtain trade loans to pay various types of import duties and taxes. The bank is also active in Islamic finance and offers shariah-compliant trade products.
Corporations in North America select J.P. Morgan for their trade-finance needs because of the bank’s full range of products and high-quality service. Companies can oversee all of their trade-related activities from the bank’s Trade Channel, a Web-based platform for managing trade payables and receivables. J.P. Morgan manages trade-related activities from purchase order to payment, 24/7, in multiple languages. In addition to traditional trade services, the bank is a leader in export and agency finance as well as supply-chain finance.
Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions provides integrated cash management and trade-finance services in 23 Latin American countries, including 12 in Central America and the Caribbean. The bank offers a full range of digital and mobile-enabled platforms, tools and analytics.
Citi facilitates trade by reducing risk, unlocking capital for suppliers and buyers and managing multiple-currency cash flows. It has supported deals in a wide range of industries in the region, such as aviation, oil and soft commodities. Citi also has a large technology-investment budget.
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank
With operations in 17 Caribbean countries, CIBC FirstCaribbean has international banking centers in the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, and the Turks and Caicos. The bank was formed in 2002 from the merger of CIBC West Indies Holding and the Caribbean operations of Barclays. Canada’s CIBC has operated in the region since the 1920s. CIBC FirstCaribbean offers trade-finance and supply-chain finance solutions.
French global bank Société Générale supports small and medium enterprises and large corporations as they do business in Europe and around the world. One of the leading banks in Europe, Société Générale has leveraged its international network of branches and subsidiaries to deliver trade-finance products in 51 countries. It maintains extensive trade-service networks in France and abroad, using specialists supplemented by corporate-relationship officers. In May 2017, Société Générale opened a new trade-finance desk in London to further develop its business with large corporations. The bank’s expertise in structured products and customized services is one of its strong points.
The Nordic region is highly competitive, with six big banks battling for trade-finance business. Nordea has the largest customer base in the region and has an average trade-finance market share of 33%. It runs its trade business out of Nordic capitals and offshore international units. A global operating model ensures that the same high standards are upheld throughout the organization. Trade Finance Global, the bank’s business-management system for trade finance, enables Nordea’s customers to manage their global trade transactions with a single log-in.
CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
Italian global banking group UniCredit is among the largest international banks in the CEE region (#3 in assets), with a presence in 14 countries. The bank specializes in the discount and purchase of receivables in the CEE. It also offers a global trade management product suite to optimize working capital throughout a company’s supply chain. Companies can access the bank’s online trade module through UniCredit Bank Austria’s BusinessNet platform. This enables them to view and settle their trade-finance transactions electronically.
Standard Chartered Bank
With major trade-finance operations in both Hong Kong and Singapore, Standard Chartered is a leading trade bank in the Asia-Pacific region, where it is present in 22 countries. The bank offers more than 35 trade products that can be integrated with its cash-management and foreign-exchange capabilities. Standard Chartered is a leader in commodities and renminbi clearing. It is also the largest international bank in India and has shared service hubs in Chennai and Bengalru, as well as in Kuala Lumpur and in Tianjin, China.
Amman, Jordan-based Arab Bank has a leading share of the trade-finance market in the Middle East and North Africa. The bank’s historical and extensive presence across the region enables it to analyze and benchmark country risk, operational risk and credit risk to price trade transactions appropriately. Arab Bank’s trade and cash-management businesses are managed by a centralized business line at the head office to ensure consistency of service. Its online platform, which is continuously upgraded, connects a unique network of 600 branches on five continents, including key global financial centers.
South Africa–based Standard Bank is the largest African banking group by assets and earnings. It has a presence in 20 countries in Africa and a strong position in the growing Africa-China trade corridor. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) owns 20.1% of Standard Bank’s shares. Also operating under the Stanbic brand, Standard Bank’s trade-finance operations focus on key commodity sectors, including oil and gas, mining and metals, natural resources and agriculture, as well as power and infrastructure.