Author: Gordon Platt

SECTIONS:


GLOBAL WINNERS

Best Trade Finance Bank
Citi
Best Trade Finance Program
EBRD's Trade Facilitation Program
Best Trade Finance Multilateral Institutionor Export Credit Agency
Export-Import Bank of the US

BEST TRADE FINANCE BANK: Citi

Citi’s global footprint, innovation and on-the-ground relationships with corporate clients make it the trade finance provider of choice for 2014. As the international trade business changes, and clients’ needs become more complex and challenging, Citi has stepped up to the plate with a full array of flexible and efficient financial tools to meet the short- and long-term capital needs of its customers. Citi’s operational scale and global network are augmented by the bank’s long-standing relationships with official export credit agencies, development finance institutions, and multilateral agencies. New global capital rules for banks are making it difficult for many of them to continue offering trade finance. Citi is taking the lead in using aggregation and securitization to work with its correspondent banks and investors to find a solution. Citi provides its customers the ability to manage trade payables and receivables, and to conduct other trade-related transactions, through its CitiDirect online banking system. Its supply chain finance offering supports payment flows to more than 65,000 suppliers. Supplier Finance Mobile is a new capability giving suppliers real-time, on-the-go access to information about their transactions via browser-based mobile connections. With its Integrated Freight Processing portal, Citi has simplified the complexities of managing transportation invoices and payments. The service streamlines and automates the entire audit, approval and payment process by converting all invoices into electronic data and routes them through an electronic workflow that matches invoices against bills of lading or purchase orders. This helps to resolve disputes and execute payments on a timely basis. The system offers online tracking plus receivables financing. More than 10,000 transportation service providers conduct business on the platform.

BEST TRADE FINANCE PROGRAM: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme, which has been operating since 1999, provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to factoring companies and other financial institutions. The program supports international trade within Central and Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the southern and eastern Mediterranean regions. The TFP works with more than 100 issuing banks in 22 countries, and 800 confirming banks worldwide. TFP guarantees cover the political and commercial payment risk for up to 100% of face value of transactions by issuing banks in the countries where the EBRD operates. The guarantees are available for letters of credit, bid and performance bonds, and trade-related promissory notes. Last March the EBRD signed a $75 million trade finance line with Morocco’s BMCE Bank to help the country’s small and medium-size enterprises engage more widely in international trade. It will support export and import facilities for transactions with tenors of up to three years for guarantees and 12 months for cash advances. This will enable BMCE to extend the maturities of its own trade finance products.

BEST TRADE FINANCE MULTILATERAL INSTITUTION OR EXPORT CREDIT AGENCY:  Export-Import Bank of the US 

In fiscal year 2013 the Export-Import Bank of the US (Ex-Im Bank) supported $37 billion in exports, including a record 3,413 transactions for small businesses. These exports created or sustained approximately 205,000 US jobs. Ex-Im Bank, a federal agency, offers export credit insurance to small-business exporters, which enables them to sell on open-account terms and extend credit to foreign buyers. It can also help them obtain working capital to fulfill export orders. As manufacturing makes a comeback in the US, the Ex-Im Bank is helping companies to sell “Made in USA” products to growing middle-class markets around the world. US companies are helping meet the need for infrastructure in emerging markets, such as electricity, clean water and transportation. Among the markets with the largest percentage increases in purchases of US goods last year were Panama, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Peru, Chile and Colombia, according to the US Commerce Department. In a decision that will support 3,400 US jobs, Ex-Im Bank in December authorized a $694 million loan to Roy Hill Holdings of Australia, contingent on the purchase of US mining and rail equipment from Caterpillar, GE and Atlas Copco. That same month it also approved a $641 million loan to Star Refineri to finance the export of US refinery equipment to Turkey, supporting another 3,000 US jobs.