Bankers Talk Trade Finance at BAFT

The Bank to Bank Forum is a traditional fixture of the European chapter of the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT). Nearly a century old, the association advocates free-market solutions for trade services. This year the Forum is being held in Madrid from January 16 through 18 and is expected to gather more than 250 bankers and trade executives.

Worldwide trade is shrinking, and thus finance and export credit too. According to Dealogic, global guaranteed export credit agency (ECA) financing volume dropped 32%, to $19.5 billion, on 79 deals in the first half of 2016, from $29.1 billion on 159 deals in the first six months of 2015.

With financial innovation growing in size and importance, conference sessions this year give large room to fintech solutions. Under the tag of “Back to the Future,” speakers and participants will discuss how to secure a safe evolution to services enabled by new technology, or in other words, how to look at new ways to provide classic services needed by companies with trade and operations overseas.

The 10-year-old gathering of European bankers and their major customers will focus on the outlook for European banks in the post-Brexit environment and also look at the likely impact on world commerce of the newly elected US president. Other topics include eternally useful trade finance topics such as compliance and de-risking.

BAFT claims some 230 to 250 institutional members, mostly global banks and banks with trade and international business, with separate North America, Europe, MENA and Asia councils that serve as regional boards. BAFT advocates on behalf of its members in areas of trade, transaction banking, payments, compliance and innovation.