This year’s submissions for The Banker’s Transaction Banking Awards 2018 demonstrate how technology is being adopted on an international scale. 

In recent years transaction banking has been ambitious in its adoption of new technology. Overhauling systems and implementing new architecture is no easy feat, and it can often be held back by substantial costs. But the hard work has paid off, and now banks can show off the results of their labours. While over previous years banks have been concerned with proofs of concept and developing platforms, they are now at a stage to set their solutions live and bring the benefits of these developments to their customers. 

The winners 

This year’s submissions for The Banker’s Transaction Banking Awards 2018 demonstrate how technology is being adopted on an international scale. Every market is being revolutionised by the introduction of technology and, by linking up these international systems, they are making the worlds of trade and cash management smaller than ever. With months of testing and pilot phases completed, banks are now able to tell the stories of their first use of blockchain, adopting open application programming interface architecture, and expanding mobile wallets to cover cross-border transactions. 

The greatest concerns in transaction banking surround the need for speed. The development process of new products has been shortened from years to months, payments are now expected to move across borders in seconds rather than hours, and decisions on providing financing have to be short to keep the supply chain flowing. And all the while banks have to keep in mind the ever greater requirements around regulatory compliance and due diligence. 

The adoption of an agile working method has been crucial in facilitating this ability to work quickly and in line with regulatory pressures. Banks have restructured teams and broken down internal silos to facilitate better conversations. Taking a sandbox approach to development has allowed them to test products in the developmental phase, and throw out those that are not making the grade. Understanding that fintechs can be valuable business partners and not the competition, banks are now actively seeking collaboration to speed up the time to market for their new products. 

To best demonstrate their successes in the past year, entrants were asked to provide three examples of notable product developments, customer initiatives or solutions, and explain how these had been of benefit to customers. The result was a fascinating insight into the priorities of each bank, and what they believe is most demonstrative of success. 

The winners have all shown how they have kept pace in this diverse and expanding market, while keeping sight of the ultimate goal of providing the highest quality of service to customers. Congratulations to all the winners in the Transaction Banking Awards 2018.  

Global

Winner: Standard Chartered

Having secured successes in the Payments and Supply Chain Finance categories this year, the strength of its international operations was instrumental in seeing Standard Chartered win the Global category of the Transaction Banking Awards 2018. 

Lisa Robins, global head of transaction banking at Standard Chartered, states that the bank is embracing all forms of technology to provide the very best products and services for its clients. “There are challenges but there are also great opportunities,” she says. “The exponential rate of technological innovation provides new sources of opportunity to facilitate interaction with our clients and to service their needs effectively. We are looking at a plethora of opportunities including blockchain, application programming interfaces and other solutions. The challenge is the pace of change and our ability to be nimble and flexible – and to ensure that we have the right mindset and skillset to take advantage of the new opportunities.”

The bank’s move towards digital has seen it forge strong working partnerships with a number of best-in-class technology providers. Working with these cutting-edge companies ensures the bank’s products are built with only the most modern and strongest architecture. 

Through this, Standard Chartered has been able to develop Internet of Things services for supply chain finance. It has developed an updated version of its payments platform in the shape of Straight2Bank NexGen, and it has brought greater automation and less manual processing in securities services with the implementation of its new target operating model.

“Our society and business communities are increasingly trying new digital solutions to meet their needs, demanding faster, more seamless, transparent and customised services and solutions,” says Ms Robins. “To remain close to our clients’ needs, we have co-created innovative solutions with our clients and industry partners, collaborating to address real needs for real people – our partnership to be a core partner bank with Ant Financial for its new blockchain cross-border remittance solution will provide faster, more secure low-cost remittance services. Our smart guarantees solution ,co-created with Siemens Financial Services, will transform the traditionally paper-intensive bank guarantees business.”

Africa

Winner: Rand Merchant Bank 

Rand Merchant Bank has sought to establish itself as a purveyor of excellence in transaction services across Africa. Finding innovative ways to help clients go about their daily business has pushed for greater sophistication in cashflow optimisation. In recognition of this, the bank is developing tailored solutions that fit within the client’s business environment, rather than taking products off the shelf. 

With an on-the-ground understanding of the challenges present on the continent, the bank has been turning this into an opportunity by looking at the clients’ needs between countries and developing solutions that cover a wide spread of issues. 

Where the bank has lacked presence, it has worked collaboratively with its subsidiaries to extend the trade finance network it can provide to its clients. The African Omnibus facility allows for standardised terms, optimisation and cost savings, which are all beneficial to its clients. 

Lizelle Pienaar, head of transaction banking at Rand Merchant Bank, says: “Our clients require more visibility and control over their financial transactions to be able to make better decisions in real time while optimising their cash flows and working capital cycles. We therefore continue to deliver a functionality that provides treasurers with visibility in all of their bank accounts in one secure place, across multiple legal entities, jurisdictions and banks.” 

The development of the Balance product for cash management has been a multi-year project. The result was a product ideal for multi-banked customers and those operating across currencies and jurisdictions, a common occurrence in intra-Africa trade. Treasurers are able to view their balance across all of their banks on one screen, giving a comprehensive view of their cash positions. 

Payments at Rand Merchant Bank were overhauled with the implementation of a system that puts them into one deposit stream, reducing costs as only one payment needs to be made, and producing what the bank calls a ‘pay-as-you-go’ concept. With treasurers receiving any combination of over-the-counter, online and host-to-host business payments, having one location gives a level of flexibility that has helped the bank to attract new customers. 

Asia-Pacific

Winner: Cathay United Bank

Banks in the Asia-Pacific region are facing up to having to comply with more stringent compliance requirements, while working with countries that are in varying stages of development of their financial infrastructure. With all this in mind, Cathay United Bank (CUB) is dedicated to creating systems that can work for its clients in all parts of the region. 

Over the past year, the bank has reorganised and consolidated its individual and corporate banking product units, and set up a team to plan these services. The goal is to enhance customer retention and increase cross-selling by having a deep understanding of customer demand, and through close collaboration between management and resources. 

Francis Peng, executive vice-president at CUB, says: “By adopting a global platform to offer tailor-made local services, we target different customer segments by market size and our strengths, and deploy staff and business models accordingly. In some markets we mainly serve large corporations, in others we cultivate small and medium-sized enterprise customers. Therefore, both our products and online banking platform have to be flexible to adapt to local needs.”    

The bank is committed to these needs, with plans to expand its online corporate banking platform, Global MyB2B. This serves as a single point of access for a number of services, including account aggregation, trade finance and cash management. Understanding the varying needs of the region, the bank has developed the platform as a standardised service but one that can be customised to the various market requirements.  

Looking to the future, CUB is aiming to expand the reach of its financial services to include fund flow management and the ability to conduct financial analysis between external supply chains and demand chains. To meet these ambitious goals the bank is working to leverage emerging technologies, with a focus on blockchain and data mining, and find out how to best utilise them within its banking segments to bring the best results for the bank and its customers alike.

The bank will continue to seek out the customers in need, and implement the best products for them based on the analysis of available big data. 

Central and eastern Europe

Winner: Sberbank 

Sberbank is working towards clear goals as part of its 2020 strategy to turn the Russian lender into a digital marketplace, a move that is helping the bank to differentiate itself in the central and eastern Europe transaction banking space. 

This drive towards digital has seen the bank create a series of online processes. Customers are now able to register businesses and open new accounts digitally, a first for a bank in Russia. Online set up takes just 30 minutes to complete. 

To complement this service, the bank has also created a corporate card for instalment purchases. The card extends the payment period at partner companies from the standard 50 days to 365 days, enabling customers to better manage their cash flows. Customers are also able to obtain additional benefits from partner companies, such as discounts. 

Sberbank has also taken huge steps forward into the real-time payments space, developing systems that will process payments within a minute of them being made. The bank’s payments system also works on a 23/7 timeframe, and is available to the user regardless of their location. There are plans to push this service towards being operational 24/7 in the coming years. 

Additionally, Andrey Shemetov, head of global markets at Sberbank, says changing market conditions are pushing through innovation in cross-border payments. “Fast-paced and competitive markets force businesses to find more productive ways to operate on foreign exchange markets,” he says. “That is why we provide our clients with multiple ways of managing their foreign exchange cash flows using Sberbank’s trading expertise and large liquidity pool. Our customers need access to up-to-date trading methods with real-time pricing, electronic execution and integration with their IT systems.”

Customers can access this information through the bank’s Sberbank Markets system, enabling them to manage the whole of their foreign exchange operations from one location. The  bank has big ambitions for electronic trading, including implementing artificial intelligence and improving customer experience. 

Mr Shemetov adds: “We are very excited about what the future will bring.”

Latin America and the Caribbean

Winner: BBVA

BBVA has clearly sets out its intention for greater technological innovation as one of its key strategies to give the bank a competitive edge. 

Quick off the mark with blockchain, BBVA has already used Ripple technology to facilitate pilot payments with corporate clients. The technology has reduced payment times between Mexico and Spain from two days to an astonishing 45 seconds. 

The bank’s experiments in blockchain also extend to its trade finance business, through the first presentation of documents under a letter of credit using Wave’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) completed in November 2017. This brought the overall time to complete the transaction down from about 10 days to just two-and-a-half hours, with the full sending, verifying and authorising of the documents completed within the timeframe. 

Combined with this, BBVA has overhauled its application programming interface architecture to allow anti-money laundering and account liquidity to be checked in parallel in both Spain and Mexico. Using a single-file format, the mapping tool can receive and send files in numerous formats, creating a seamless experience. 

Jose Luis López-Sors, head of global transaction banking for the Americas at BBVA, says: “Our clients demand flexibility and adaptability to changing financial circumstances in order to optimise their processes while reducing their operating costs. BBVA is responding to these demands with innovations in DLT and immediate payments that offer a significant improvement in execution time and bring us closer to a cashless world.” 

Trade finance expertise extends to more than the latest technology as the bank keeps in mind the needs of its clients. With a focus on mid-sized corporates, it works to bring in export credit agencies to facilitate more transactions within the region across corporates of varying sizes. 

To best serve its Latin American clients, BBVA has developed facilities specific to their needs. Local-centralised reverse factoring is targeted at those companies operating in numerous countries with a centralised payments centre. By sending payments to one location, they can be dispersed to the bank’s offices in the corresponding countries and make payments to the suppliers, often receiving an early payment discount in the process. 

Middle East

Winner: National Commercial Bank 

Meeting the specific needs of clients is high on the agenda for Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB), and the past year has seen it develop a number of innovative solutions. The bank has taken steps forward in its trade finance operations, seeking to improve its existing products to cover a wide operating base. Its e-Trade platform was modified to permit usage to all partners, and it now provides a receipt of documents to make checking easier. 

The bank also responded to the request of an airline customer to develop a point-of-sale system that would automatically connect to a GPRS network when within range, allowing payments to be processed during the flight. The process removes the need for customers to make cash payments, and for airline crews to manage the various currencies used. 

Ziyad M Al-Joudi, transaction banking head of NCB, says: “With a 5.9 million customer base and 400 branches, NCB has adapted a strategy to position itself as a leading digital bank in the Middle East. Transaction banking will continue to focus on the best digital product offering, substantiated by a well-defined coverage model. Bespoke solutions are set to be one of NCB’s main priorities to support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.” 

Vision 2030 is an ambitious plan to help move Saudi Arabia towards becoming a cashless country. In the short term, the aim is to increase the number of non-cash transactions from the current total of 18% of all transactions to 28% by 2020. 

The past year has seen NCB working with technology companies to bring the banking services of the Middle East up to date. As part of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 focus, the bank is a member of Swift’s gpi network as well as real-time gross settlement system Ripple, as it seeks to streamline cross-border payments and allow the end-to-end tracking of transactions. 

Customers using the bank’s own AlahlieCorp online banking platform are able to make payments through their desktop, iOS or Android device, giving them greater fee transparency and the ability to use the funds sent on the same day.

Nordics

Winner: Nordea 

As a region that is well known for its adoption of digital banking and for moving towards cashless payments, Nordic banks understand the challenges that both they and their clients have faced in transitioning to this new environment. To ensure it is on top of any changes, Nordea has made innovation part of its DNA, something that has helped it to keep hold of the Nordic Transaction Banking Award for another year. 

Erik Zingmark is head of transaction banking at Nordea, and he believes the arrival of digital, coupled with regulatory change, has pushed the bank to find a new way of approaching its business. “Our area of banking continues to be at the forefront of innovation and development in all aspects, from the way consumers are altering their shopping habits, to facilitating instant payments, to advances in liquidity management,” he says. “We have made changes to our structure and processes and introduced agile ways of working to focus our efforts on increasing the customer experience through smart digital offerings, whether this is supporting consumers by enabling the payment device of their choice, working towards instant payments across borders, facilitating trade through blockchain technology or developing state-of-the-art tools to aid treasurers.” 

Looking beyond the customer base, Nordea has worked to ensure that all members of its team are engaged with the changes by providing them with information to understand the bank’s cultural transformation. 

Nordea’s mobile commerce team have developed functionality for both commercial and retail customers – whether it is the adoption of ApplePay or the development of the Siirto payment app. Siirto offers a payroll service that allows salaries to be paid directly to mobile wallets. Customers can then make direct payments to other Siirto users with only the recipient’s name and an e-mail address needed for identification. 

The world of digital will not slow down any time soon, and Nordea is focused on keeping pace with the changes to automation, digitisation and the progress of self-service models. As platforms and ecosystems become ever more connected, customers will be expecting more from their banking partners. To meet these challenges, the bank has a roadmap for collaboration with third-party developers. 

North America

Winner: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

In a year that has been typified by geopolitical difficulties, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has focused its attention on ensuring its clients are still able to continue doing business as usual. 

The bank expanded the reach of its digital disbursements product by teaming up with PayPal. The partnership allowed for direct payments to be made in local currencies internationally, from Mexico to as far away as the Philippines. Used instead of an automated clearing house or wire payments, the method fits the needs of clients ranging from insurance providers to gig economy businesses. 

BAML’s work on the receipts of payment has taken shape through Intelligent Receivables, which assists the matching of payments invoices through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and character recognition. By working with emerging software-as-a-service company HighRadius, the bank was able to develop a system which identifies the payers and attaches their payments to previously received remittances, finds the associated payments details and makes the payment with the corresponding data file sent to the client. 

Using cutting-edge technology has allowed the bank to implement its CashPro Assistant tool, which uses AI and predictive analytics to help both its commercial and corporate clients to analyse their accounts. By linking directly to Microsoft Excel, the application automatically populates with data to enable detailed analytics and forecasting. 

Despite various challenges, the bank’s business strategy remains focused on the delivery of the best possible service, while keeping security to the highest levels. The bank has worked on making payments seamless and giving visibility on flows as cash management moves into a real-time environment. 

 “We are honoured to receive this recognition from The Banker,” says Faiz Ahmad, head of global transaction services at BAML. “This past year has been a period of volatile geopolitical events and a changing competitive landscape.

 “We are steadfast in our commitment to proactively manage our portfolio of capabilities to control risk, help clients comply with regulatory initiatives, leverage new technologies to improve operational efficiency and continuously deliver added value to our clients to help ensure a positive client experience.”

Western Europe

Winner: Commerzbank 

Navigating an increasingly complex banking space has become essential for banks if they are to keep pace with client demand. This comes alongside clients’ expectations for digital banking services to be the standard, not a luxury. 

Commerzbank has stepped up the plate by seeking out the best possible technology partners to explore how to use technology to enhance speed, transparency and ease of use of its services. 

The bank has worked with the R3 blockchain consortium to find solutions to assist with trade finance, and sees developing its technological knowledge as a way of expanding its reach out to its client base. The bank has already used the technology to compete a foreign exchange transaction on R3’s Corda platform. 

Bringing the rest of its operations up to the same standards, Commerzbank has made use of mobile technology with its cash management app. Available to all users of its Global Payments Plus app, it gives treasurers a comprehensive overview of their domestic and foreign transactions on up to 15 accounts, with the added benefit of being able to access this information when away from the office. The app does not store any of the data, providing enhanced security. 

Foreign exchange has also been given an overhaul with the arrival of FX Live Trader. Clients can consolidate trades with single-click trading for foreign exchange spot, swaps and non-deliverable forwards. Clients can access foreign exchange structured products through the Commander Kristall platform. This gives clients detailed analytics, facilitating the ability to check volatility, rates and portfolio risk. 

Nikolaus Giesbert, divisional board member of trade finance and cash management at Commerzbank, says that what the bank has achieved so far is setting the blueprint for its future success. “Digitalisation is set to transform banking,” he says. “And we are confident that Commerzbank 4.0 – our strategic programme – will offer us the right propulsion to perform in the digital age. To become a truly digital enterprise, we are investing some Ä700m each year into digitalisation and IT services. By 2020, we expect that more than 80% of our core relevant processes will have been digitised, making banking simpler.”

Cash management

Winner: Citi 

Cash management was the most hotly contested category of The Banker’s  Transaction Banking Awards 2018, receiving more entries than any other field. It is a great achievement, then, for Citi to scoop the award.  

Mark Smith, head of global liquidity, treasury and trade solutions at Citi, says: “Cash management is constantly changing given the dynamic economic and regulatory environments and unprecedented technological speed of change across the globe. At Citi we are focused on complementing our leading global network and capabilities with new investments and best-of-breed fintech providers that offer specific and meaningful enhancements to our overall proposition.” 

The bank has put this into action with its innovative digital offering. The bank’s Hybrid Earning Credit Rate account has been developed to assist in offsetting fees globally, thus lowering expenses and improving yield. Customers are also able to earn interest on excess balances as part of this automated account. 

 Manish Kohli, global head of payments and receivables, treasury and trade solutions, at Citi, says the bank is taking into account client needs. “Whether corporates or financial institutions, clients are demanding an intuitive digital banking experience that enhances cost, speed, transparency and the convenience of their payments,” he says. “To address this, earlier in 2018 we launched Citi Payment Insights, a new service providing institutional clients with real-time payments visibility, the ability to action payments on demand and other self-service capabilities.” 

Further to the comment made by Mr Kohli, the Payment Insights solution is integrated with Swift’s gpi platform, new application programming interfaces, cloud computing services and the bank’s own big data to create the best experience for clients. 

Also in 2018, Citi introduced the WorldLink Payment Services ACH Expansion, an expansion on the company’s existing WorldLink cross-currency payments solution. With increased functionality, the service now allows customers to send cross-border automated clearing house (ACH) payments into 10 additional markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The ACH capabilities are now available in 68 countries and 38 currencies, providing a standardised and cohesive system across jurisdictions. 

Payments

Winner: Standard Chartered 

As payments move into real-time cross-border transactions, it is an increasingly complex system banks have to work with to meet customer expectations while maintaining security levels. 

Standard Chartered has worked to enhance its Straight2Bank systems, adapting its processes to meet the needs of specific markets. In Kenya, the bank developed its Straight2Bank Wallet to provide banking services to the widest range of customers possible, ensuring that payments could be made with an SMS, removing the need for a smartphone. Even so, the security standards are still to the bank’s exacting standards. The improved controls in the system have also cut down the threat of fraud and theft. 

Meanwhile, in Asia the bank worked around issues being felt by a client in China who was having difficulty managing multiple payments options. By working on Straight2Bank Pay, the bank established a single payment gateway that standardised all of the different channels to improve the reconciliation process. The bank modified its Straight2Bank Wallet to enable online sales collections and provide the client with intraday statements. As the platform already existed, there was minimal time and expenditure needed to modify the product to meet the client requirements. 

Even with so many developments, the bank has launched its new banking portal, Straight2Bank NextGen, which simplifies the user interface while allowing greater levels of customisation. Built on open banking architecture, the system will also be adaptable to future changes in the payments space. Clients can access all of the information they need via one page, further enhancing productivity. 

Alan Lin, global head, cash and transaction banking, at Standard Chartered says: “The payment landscape has [come on in] leaps and bounds over the past few years and institutions are looking for the most innovative solutions to achieve greater cost efficiency and real-time experience. We have successfully co-created various innovative solutions with corporate treasurers and e-commerce business managers by using the most advanced technologies. The journey is exciting and Standard Chartered is committed to continuously innovating with our customers.”

Securities services

Winner: Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank has helped clients to navigate the changing world of securities services by making the best use of data and providing an environment where information is both more secure and better utilised. 

The bank has boosted its online systems with the implementation of chatbot Debbie. Taking just six months to develop, the service was launched in June 2018. Using application programming interfaces to process questions and find solutions, the chatbot can provide responses to queries within seconds. Understanding native language questions, the chatbot is sophisticated enough to learn and remember customers previous queries and the steps it took to find the information. 

Facilitating the safe storage of documentation was addressed with the eVault platform. Released in March 2018, the platform acts as a third-party custodian and can be used by both online and bricks-and-mortar originators. Following the trend for paper documents to become digital, creating eVault has given the bank’s custody group a safe and efficient option for storing the customer’s electronic assets. Recognising that not all regulatory entities use digital documents, the bank is committed to the next step in expanding the acceptance of the documents.

On a more granular level, the bank is working to find better ways to use its wealth of data, while ensuring compliance with regulations by both clients and the bank itself. Deutsche Bank is using this data to visualise intraday patterns for clients that may not otherwise be apparent. This detail can provide clients with the advantages of understanding their overall costs and highlight areas where they may be able to make savings. 

Fiona Gallagher, global head of securities services at Deutsche Bank, says: “Clients are demanding more actionable information, when and how they want it. Our chatbot innovation is an example of how we are leveraging robotic process automation to provide clients with timely updates on the status of their securities trades. Our data analytics innovation sees us working closely with data analysts to uncover the intraday liquidity behaviour of our clients and extracting the intelligence needed to support them in meeting increasing regulatory and treasury optimisation requirements.”

Supply chain finance

Winner: Standard Chartered

As supply chains expand globally and become more complex, companies are looking for greater insight from their banks on each part of the chain. In a world that is becoming increasingly demanding in its expectations of corporate accountability, having a supply chain that can withstand scrutiny is paramount. 

In response to this, Standard Chartered has focused on ensuring the accountability of the chain with digital enhancements to support suppliers and buyers until the deal is completed. 

Farooq Siddiqi, global head of trade finance, transaction banking, at Standard Chartered, stresses that the bank has an ethos of following the whole chain. “Corporations are increasingly looking to ensure that their supply chain is sustainable and equipped to deliver growth. Banking the ecosystem, our innovative supply chain proposition, continues to be an important part of our strategy to ensure the deeper financing of our clients’ ecosystem of buyers and suppliers. It also reinforces our ‘Here for good’ brand promise to connect business communities and drive commerce and prosperity across Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” he says. 

 To support the whole supply chain, Standard Chartered developed the supplier financing product Vendor PrePay. Recognising the gap in financing for the smallest companies within the chain, the bank assists clients in accessing liquidity for their key suppliers at an early stage. Due to the relationship with the existing client, the bank can provide more favourable rates than would have normally been extended, and to keep things flowing the bank has also moved to digitise the process, with a matching tool to settle payments. 

Standard Chartered has also looked to the Internet of Things to bring in the next generation of distributor finance programmes. In 2018, the bank conducted a proof of concept to track and monitor where the financial assets were, with an alert triggered once the product moves on. Through keeping track of the location of products with real-time data, it increases visibility and reduces risk. To enable physical products to be tracked in this way requires an onboard device to be installed, which relays details of the GPS coordinates to the mobile device of the user. 

Trade finance 

Winner: HSBC 

With an enviable presence across continents, HSBC has been able to position itself across the length of the trade finance chain. Operating in 67 markets, the bank stands out through the number of touchpoints it has in both developed and emerging markets. Thanks to this strength, HSBC facilitates both sides of 74% of the letters of credit it issues, and processes $1m of trade turnover every minute. 

Natalie Blyth, global head of trade and receivables finance at HSBC, says having this network scale has been instrumental in creating strong products. “Our extensive network allows us to pilot technologies developed for both emerging and mature markets, providing scalability and control,” she says. “Working in collaboration with fintech companies, other banks and regulators, we have created market-leading digital solutions that are convergent, flexible and modular, enabling us to meet our clients’ needs.” 

 This year HSBC was part of the groundbreaking R3 blockchain transaction with Cargill. Using R3’s Corda blockchain, the bank was able to issue a letter of credit for shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia. This transaction would normally take up to 10 days, but with blockchain it was finalised within 24 hours. 

The bank is particularly proud of its involvement in We.trade, alongside eight other European banks, to simplify the customer experience of cross-border trade. The platform will connect parties involved within a transaction, which it is hoped will help small and medium-sized enterprises forge new trading relationships. This ties in to the bank’s strong belief in simplifying the digital process as the industry finds itself at a turning point, moving away from paper-based documentation. 

HSBC is also working to incorporate its ethos on social responsibility into each aspect of its business, and is the only bank that is part of the Apparel Impact Institute, which works to ensure sustainability within the apparel industry. 

HSBC has big ambitions for the future, with a focus on emerging technologies including AI and blockchain. With an understanding that a bank is not best placed to develop these products alone, HSBC has forged numerous collaborations with tech companies R3, IBM, Kyriba and Tradeshift, to name but a few. 

Judging panel

Francesco Burelli, independent consultant 

Eric Li, research director, Coalition

Kimberley Long, Asia-Pacific editor, The Banker

Joy Macknight, deputy editor, The Banker

Wim Raymaekers, head of banking markets and gpi, Swift

Didier Vandenhaute, partner, PwC

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