This year’s Transaction Banking Awards sees entrants innovating to overcome the challenges of uncertain markets.

Welcome to The Banker’s Transaction Banking Awards 2015 and congratulations to all the winners. 


  • Global and Middle East
    Winner: Citi
  • Europe 
    Winner: Deutsche Bank
  • North America
    Winner: Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Latin America
    Winner: Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Asia-Pacific
    Winner: Maybank
  • Africa
    Winner: Standard Chartered
  • Cash management
    Winner: Citi
  • Payments 
    Winner: Standard Chartered
  • Securities services
    Winner: HSBC
  • Supply chain finance
    Winner: Citi
  • Trade finance
    Winner: DBS

The past year was a tough one for the banking industry as a whole, navigating its way through uncertain and volatile markets. The macro environment continued to be challenging, from persistently low or negative interest rates and growing regulatory/compliance pressures, to the ongoing Greece crisis and economic slowdown in China. Even the strong, stable and secure business of transaction banking faced difficulties, such as lower margins and reduced revenues. 

Yet in spite of these headwinds, this year’s award entries reveal the plethora of innovative products and services that have been brought to market over the past 12 months, proving that banks are still investing in, committed to and – above all – value the transaction banking franchise of their business.

Customer-centric innovation, a trend identified in previous years, continues to be at the forefront of new product and service developments. Many banks are now bringing their customers in at a much earlier stage in the development cycle and as a result they are much more responsive to customer requirements. In addition, having a more collaborative relationship with customers helps banks make the right decisions on rapidly emerging technologies, and generate robust and resilient development roadmaps.

The pace of change in transaction banking is reaching an inflection point. Nowhere is this more evident than in the smaller – but growing – regional banks. They have the advantage of being nimbler and can leapfrog the global incumbents in terms of technology, as well as demonstrate a deep understanding of their local markets. The regionals are hot on the heels of the global players and are the ones to watch in next year’s Transaction Banking Awards.

Agility and collaboration, together with innovation, will be the key to capitalising on new opportunities for growth. As the dividing line between finance and technology becomes more blurred than ever before, banks of all sizes across the globe are engaging with the fintech start-up community, whether investing in bootcamps, accelerators and/or incubators. Some have even launched their own in-house ‘Dragon’s Den’-style competitions to foster internal innovation. 

Although much of this activity has focused on consumer banking, many banks are also looking to apply ‘disruptive’ technology in the transaction banking space, with blockchain being just one example. The Banker looks forward with anticipation to judging next year’s awards when these projects start coming to market. 

Lastly, The Banker would like to take this opportunity to thank the panel of external judges and recognise their effort in evaluating and scoring the awards – differentiating between such high-quality submissions is not an easy task but one they completed with impressive diligence.  

Global and Middle East

Winner: Citi

Citi stands at the forefront of transaction banking, as demonstrated by its ability to take home the highest accolade in The Banker’s 2015 Transaction Banking Awards: the best global transaction bank. 

“Being recognised by The Banker as the global leader in transaction banking is testament to the value we are creating, through our execution of a client-focused digital strategy as well as our ongoing commitment to innovation and client experience,” says Naveed Sultan, Citi’s global head, treasury and trade solutions. 

“The delivery of class-leading technology, comprehensive capabilities and unrivalled service levels will always serve as a marketplace differentiator. 

“While new regulations and technology are changing transaction banking, client focus and relationships will always drive our business. By building a deep relationship with our clients, we understand their ambitions and goals. As a result, we can proactively invest and innovate in areas that deliver the greatest benefits.” 

Transaction banking is both fundamental and strategic to the bank’s business model. It is stable, strong and balances Citi’s portfolio of businesses.

As the world’s most global bank, with a presence in more than 100 markets, its client relationships span multiple countries and regions. According to Mr Sultan, this fosters a partnership and coexistence with the bank’s clients that is driven by technology, processes and systems integration – in effect becoming, as he puts it, “an extension of each other”.

He explains: “If a multinational corporation is using our transaction banking services in multiple markets around the world, we need to have a deep understanding of their systems, as well as financial and information flows, in order to support their commercial activities.”

Citi is focused on three major areas: improving client experience; innovation and digitisation; and investing in new technologies, such as cyber security and digital money. All three arenas have benefited from the bank’s firm commitment and significant investment during the past year, as exemplified in its awards submissions. 

Most initiatives are developed in Citi Innovation Labs, based in Dublin, Singapore and Tel Aviv, where it partners with the bank’s clients in designing, testing and rolling out new products and services. The way Citi is interacting with its clients is changing the model of engagement, according to Mr Sultan.

For example, rather than delivering PowerPoint presentations to clients, the bank’s representatives use an application called Client Interactive Solutions. “We can customise a solution for a corporate treasurer in real time based on their responses,” he explains. 

“For example, a client may want to set up a notional cash pooling structure across a number of Asia-Pacific markets. We can go through regulations and capabilities country by country, illustrating the positives and negatives of the solution in different markets so the client can make an informed decision without delay. It is much more efficient than returning weeks later with another PowerPoint presentation.

“This helps us to create true client partnerships,” he adds, “effectively moving away from a product push to a solution consultation.”

As testament to its global reach, Citi also collected the best transaction bank in the Middle East award.

“Multinational corporates are expanding throughout the Middle East region – and many are using the Middle East as an operational and treasury hub as they expand in Africa – and regional companies are going global,” says Emre Karter, treasury and trade solutions head, Middle East, north Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, at Citi. 

“Our commitment to the Middle East is reflected in the innovative cash, liquidity, payment and supply chain finance solutions we offer that enable companies to achieve their consistency, visibility, control and efficiency objectives despite the region’s diverse economic, regulatory and political environment.”

The bank created a regional relationship management unit serving as a single point of contact and gateway for its clients in the Middle East, Africa and beyond. 

In February, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, picked Citi to construct a supply chain finance (SCF) programme to pay select suppliers. It is a highly customised structure that caters to the airline’s supplier segment across the globe and will facilitate access to liquidity across businesses of all sizes. 

This was Citi’s first SCF deal in the airline sector in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and the first SCF partnership for Citi in Abu Dhabi.


Winner: Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank demonstrated its leading credentials in Europe to pick up the accolade for the best transaction banking house in the region. 

At a time when many other banks are rethinking or even reducing the number of clients they support, Deutsche Bank’s key priorities are not only to deepen existing client relationships but also acquire new clients, in addition to investing in client solutions and IT platforms. In early 2015, it pledged more than Ä1bn of new investments for its global transaction banking division.

Marcus Sehr, global head of institutional cash at the bank, says: “Deutsche Bank remains committed to investing in its transaction banking business which forms an integral part of Deutsche Bank’s 2020 strategy. We will continue to partner with our financial institution clients to build long-term relationships, to identify and execute on valuable business opportunities.” 

Since 2014, the bank has released a number of products and services customised for specific client segments and in response to market developments. For example, it launched Netsett, a global market utility developed in partnership with Xchanging that automates central accounting, financial reporting and reconciliation process alongside the net settlement of claims and premiums. UK-based Royal Sun Alliance, the first to pilot the new platform, went live in September 2014.

Deutsche Bank developed a Target2-Securities (T2S) solution for its clients in time for the first wave of countries to migrate on June 22. T2S removes existing national barriers in order to simplify and accelerate the cross-border settlement of securities transactions and reduces transaction costs. The bank offers its clients direct access to the new platform, as well as indirect access via existing national intermediaries.

Also in June, the bank went live with Swift’s Know Your Customer (KYC) Registry, a centralised repository that maintains a standardised set of information about correspondent banks required for KYC compliance.

During the year, Deutsche Bank added two apps to its Autobahn App Market: Swift MyStandards App, which provides clients with direct access to standardised and structured documentation of payment formats; and the FX Receivables App, a tool that allows clients to manage foreign exchange receivables.

It also achieved a number of industry ‘firsts’ in delivering on renminbi solutions for European clients, such as the first two-way cash sweep in Shanghai under the People’s Bank of China’s nationwide cross-border scheme for Koninklijke DSM, a Dutch life sciences company. 

North America

Winner: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) picks up the award for the best bank in North America for the second year in a row, an impressive feat in itself. In its home market, the bank is going from strength to strength through continuous innovation.

It strives to put the client at the centre of everything it does, an aim frequently emphasised in its awards entry. As Dub Newman, the bank’s head of North America, global transaction services (GTS), says: “Together, we operate with the clients’ best interests in mind. As a result, our clients benefit from a seamless delivery of trusted advice and solutions that address all aspects of their banking needs.” 

He stresses that the bank’s success is due to the high level of teamwork across the bank – GTS works closely with other lines of business, including capital markets, investment banking and wealth management.  

“In today’s environment, where there is much to react to, we are delivering proactive solutions for our clients’ critical needs and opportunities,” adds Mr Newman. While BAML’s client base is mainly large corporates in the US and Canada, the bank also has more than 3 million small business clients and almost 23,000 middle-market companies with revenue of $50m to $2bn.

Last year, BAML introduced the CashPro Service Centre, which provides treasury clients with self-service account management and service request access 24/7 through CashPro Online, its cash management portal. It was designed using direct client feedback, which indicated a need for improved visibility and control in their banking relationship. Currently available to US-based clients at no extra charge, the bank plans to expand the solution globally.

In September 2014, the bank officially released digital disbursements, a solution created to replace cheques by routing payments to a payee’s bank account using either a mobile phone number or email address as the identifier. Clients do not need to store consumer bank account information, which reduces the risks associated with cheque fraud or a data breach event.

Allstate Insurance was one of BAML’s first clients to adopt digital disbursements and uses it to provide its Fast Mobile e-Payment claims service. Claim payments are made directly to Allstate customers’ bank accounts in a single day.  

“When you have a claim, you want to receive your payment quickly. Fast Mobile e-Payment simplifies and accelerates the payment process. It’s another good example of how Allstate is innovating on behalf of customers,” said Matt Winter, president of Allstate, in a statement when the solution went live at the beginning of the year.

Latin America

Winner: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

“It’s an honour to be named best transaction banking house in Latin America,” says Juan Pablo Cuevas, head of global transaction services in Latin America at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML). 

“This [award] is tremendous validation that we have the right strategy to support our clients doing business in the region. Latin America is very important to our franchise, and we look forward to continuing to support commerce across the region for many years to come.”

Throughout the past few years, BAML has focused on transforming the way it serves clients in Latin America, pursuing a strategy of creating a premier cash management network through what it calls “strategic alliance banks”. Instead of having a presence in every country, BAML promotes partnerships with local financial service providers to build technology and information connectivity that will benefit clients with local needs. Through a higher level of connectivity, clients can gain visibility into their accounts across the region.

While already established in the key regional markets of Brazil and Mexico, and with representative offices in Chile, Colombia and Peru, in the past 12 months BAML has expanded this network to include strategic alliance banks in Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Today it covers 17 countries in Latin America through direct and indirect relationships.

In the past year, BAML has introduced a number of liquidity solutions to help its clients optimise working capital. For example, Multi-Bank Cash Concentration automates the concentration of funds between client accounts held at third-party banks and their BAML account. This solution is currently offered in Mexico and Brazil with other countries offered on a cross-border basis, subject to country regulations. 

It launched its Cross-Currency Cash Concentration (Mexican peso to US dollars) solution, which allows clients to sweep funds from a Mexican peso account with BAML Mexico into a US dollar account at the Bank of America North America.

BAML has also created new products to remove specific pain points in the Brazilian market. For example, Brazil Invoice Reconciliation automates the reconciliation of accounts receivables, filling a gap in the receivables market left open by most popular receivables product in the country, Cobrança/Boleto.

In addition, BAML has developed a digital signature solution for Brazil foreign exchange contracts to remove paper from the process and increase efficiency. The bank sends an email to each designated signer at a company when a foreign exchange contract requires their signature. Each signer accesses the bank’s web-based digital portal and digitally signs the foreign exchange contract with their eCPF and PIN, which is fully compliant with current Brazilian regulations.


Winner: Maybank

Maybank has made impressive gains in expanding its transaction banking capabilities, including cash management, supply chain financing and trade finance, across the Asia-Pacific region.

One of its key objectives is to have an intimate understanding of its clients’ needs. It believes that by building deep and trusting relationships, founded on a common regional footprint and expansion agenda, it will fulfil its mission to “humanise financial services”.

True to that aspiration, the bank’s strong focus on delivering innovative and customised solutions to its clients runs through its submissions for The Banker’s Transaction Banking Awards 2015, winning the Malaysian bank the award as best transaction bank in Asia-Pacific.

John Wong, Maybank’s group head of transaction banking, global banking, says: “We are committed to bringing sustainable value to our clients by providing them with solutions designed to accelerate their business working capital cycle. Our mission to humanise financial services drives us and underpins our desire to strengthen the relationship with our clients by giving them that extra personal touch. 

“Our ability to provide multiple delivery channels, in-country business experts, established regional infrastructure and extensive physical touch points across the region further reinforces our vision to be the leading financial services provider across Asia.”

Maybank provided a number of case studies in different awards categories to demonstrate its customised solutions. For example, the bank detailed how it set up a regional cash management solution for a large privately run airline in Indonesia tailored to the client’s decentralised model of business management. The client achieved better account reconciliation due to timely and detailed account reports and bank statements viewable on bank’s regional cash management platform, Maybank2E-Regional Cash, as well as ‘just-in-time’ payments with the bank’s near-real-time batch payment window.

In another case study, Maybank’s tailored supply chain finance solution met Malaysian automobile manufacturer’s specific risk mitigation needs and liquidity management objectives and provided financing at competitive rates, while introducing new sources of funding into the supply chain.

Maybank Shanghai also granted a Chinese agribusiness firm a Rmb300m ($47m) facility to meet its import requirements via its Singapore-based trading arm. 

Through this solution, Maybank converted the customer’s financing from offshore US dollars to offshore renminbi, eliminating foreign exchange risk while enjoying very competitive rates. 

Maybank launched two new cash management products in the past year: Islamic Liquidity Concentration Services, Malaysia’s first sharia-compliant sweeping and pooling solution; and Admission & Implementation Module, which serves as a one-stop shop for clients’ admission applications-related updates and queries.


Winner: Standard Chartered

The past year has been a difficult one for Africa. The continent has been hit hard by the Ebola outbreak and tumbling commodity prices, adding to an already challenging business operating environment. 

Yet Standard Chartered has continued to invest in technology and infrastructure across the region to meet its clients’ current needs and prepare them for future growth. The UK-based bank’s solid commitment to the region is the reason it picks up the award for best transaction bank in Africa for 2015.

“Through our transaction banking offering, Standard Chartered is simplifying operations and enhancing the way companies do business in Africa,” says Philip Panaino, Standard Chartered’s regional head, transaction banking, Africa. 

The bank deepened its footprint in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana and Uganda through its augmented Straight2Bank Liquidity platform rolled out in July 2014. By including these markets, clients are better able to manage their liquidity in a consistent manner across their network.

Additionally, it continued to work closely with its clients to develop customised and/or local solutions. For example, in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda the bank introduced a tax solution that provides clients with a quick and secure payment method across these markets.

Mr Panaino highlights two Standard Chartered products – Straight2Bank Wallet and Vendor Pre-Pay (VPP) – that he believes are transforming the banking landscape in Africa.

A global initiative, Straight2Bank Wallet allows corporate clients to make payments (and receive collections) through mobile wallets. Clients can use mobile money ecosystems to pay and receive funds electronically and conveniently 24/7.

In the past year, Standard Chartered has rolled out its automated supplier financing solution VPP, which integrates an account payables system into a supply chain solution, to incremental markets. The bank is reportedly seeing growing engagement from its African client base.  

The bank is also facilitating commercial growth in particularly challenging African countries. Earlier this year it signed a risk participation agreement with CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, which will support new working capital lending of up to $50m to businesses in Sierra Leone. Last year it arranged a $60m three-year syndicated term loan facility for FBC Bank to boost the Zimbabwean economy.

Outside the traditional banking sphere, Standard Chartered launched its crowdsourcing Consumer Price Tracker (CPT) for Nigeria and Ghana. Hundreds of local residents in cities across the two countries have been recruited to capture prices of local products using their smartphones. Alongside its Business Sentiment Indicator for Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, the CPT helps to shed light on the business, investment and economic outlook for these African markets.

Cash management

Winner: Citi

Citi, the winner of this year’s cash management award, clearly demonstrated its supremacy in this discipline and achieved high scores from all of the judges. As one judge said: “Citi is certainly the leader in the cash management space for innovative solutions and global reach.” 

The bank’s continued investment in its treasury and trade solutions (TTS) division underscores the bank’s commitment to delivering sophisticated technology tools for its clients. TTS has made impressive advances over the past 12 months, at a time when efficient cash management remains of the utmost importance for corporates and financial institutions. 

This year, Citi launched Treasury-Vision Liquidity Manager, which helps clients gain greater visibility into their pooling structures in order to understand where they are optimising their liquidity across Citi’s network and also where they have room to improve. 

It builds upon the capabilities of the TreasuryVision Global Portal by providing an interactive analytics dashboard to help clients view their account data across Citi liquidity structures, via CitiDirect BE online banking platform.

“With TreasuryVision Liquidity Manager… we can easily see how our accounts are linked and check if bank fees are correct in terms of target balancing indices… During the pilot, we were extremely pleased with how Citi listened to our recommendations and then modified the solution to meet our needs,” says Gyongyi Kis, assistant manager in treasury at advanced automotive technology supplier Denso Europe. 

As shown by this client testimonial, Citi values customer input during product development. The bank’s Innovation Labs in Dublin, Singapore, Tel Aviv and Miami engage clients through consultative troubleshooting and involving them early in the development cycle. 

This year Citi also released its Integrated Payables Solutions platform, consisting of a suite of analytics, advisory and payment services to help organisations optimise working capital and maximise efficiency across their supply chain. Clients can use the solution to analyse their payments and cash flows, as well as identify problems and new opportunities to create value within their business systems.

Ebru Pakcan, Citi’s global head of payments and receivables, TTS, says: “I would like to thank The Banker for acknowledging the efforts our team has made to provide the precise cash management solutions that our clients require to further grow and evolve their businesses. 

“As the market and landscape continue to develop, Citi TTS is committed to developing and delivering innovative cash management solutions focused on helping clients to achieve their goals around process efficiency, working capital management, liquidity optimisation and increased visibility, centralisation and control.”


Winner: Standard Chartered

At a time when many banks’ payments businesses are coming under increased competition from fintech start-ups and other non-bank players, Standard Chartered is developing innovative ways to serve its clients. Scooping this year’s payments award, the bank has focused on three key client pain points: speed, centralisation and reach. 

“As market evolution and accelerating digitisation continue to impact daily commerce, we’re committed to supporting our clients in their growth agenda,” says Gautam Jain, the bank’s global head of client access and product development for transaction banking. 

“We’re focused on simplifying payments for clients looking to move funds quickly and efficiently between trade corridors in our footprint markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and we continue to build on our expertise in order to do so.”

In order to support its clients’ business-critical payments, such as payroll, tax, dividends, pension, insurance payments, utilities and other statutory payments, Standard Chartered developed customised – sometimes localised – solutions that deliver relevant and comprehensive payment options to support treasurers in managing and tracking time- and regulatory-critical payments. 

One example is the bank’s China e-tax solution, which connects the Chinese ministry of finance, tax bureau and participating bank. The solution provides clients with a convenient, secure, accurate and rapid way to settle their tax obligations, where previously they had to file and make payments separately.

Clients are looking for efficiency through centralisation, so Standard Chartered developed an alternative cross-border international payment service called International ACH. The solution facilitates multi-currency payments supported by central oversight and control, helping treasurers deliver working capital efficiency. Clients can make cross-border payments through a ‘local ACH’ from a single location. 

The bank also introduced seamless foreign exchange processing with access to more than 130 payment currencies. The integrated capability has an upfront pricing function on its electronic banking system, Straight2Bank Web, providing clients with a ‘self- service’ foreign exchange tool with streaming/live foreign exchange rates and the ability to book the presented rate at any stage of the payment cycle.

A major advancement in the past 12 months has been Standard Chartered’s ability to leverage mobile technology to support corporate clients making payments to mobile wallets. Through collaborating with mobile network operators (MNOs) and integrating with their systems securely, the bank can provide direct access to mobile payments and collections services for institutional clients. The final status of the transactions can be viewed, ensuring clear visibility and accountability throughout the payment and receivables flow.

Securities services

Winner: HSBC

Over the past 12 months, HSBC has succeeded in winning and implementing large securities services mandates, particularly in Europe. In addition, its China proposition has seen a number of firsts in qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) and renminbi-qualified foreign institutional investors (RQFII) servicing.

Cian Burke, global head of securities services at HSBC, explains the bank’s strategy: “We are focused on working with institutional clients who can benefit most from our securities services offering and that of our wider banking proposition. Our extensive custody presence across the globe means we are able to provide our clients with local knowledge, experience and connectivity, while also giving them the security of partnering with one of the world’s strongest banks. 

“Testament to this is our foothold in Asia and the Middle East, which continues to strengthen and present exciting growth opportunities, such as capital markets in China, India and Saudi Arabia opening up to foreign investment.” 

In an industry struggling with low interest rates, falling profits and new regulations, the bank continues to invest in its products and services. It is selectively developing new capabilities, while underpinning a client-led approach.

HSBC has worked on a number of projects that illustrate the institution’s client depth and geographical breadth, as well as its commitment to its transaction banking business. For example, over the past year HSBC worked closely with clients, HM Revenue & Customs and industry advisors in the UK to develop a flexible and integrated solution for a new fund vehicle, the Authorised Contractual Scheme (ACS), also known as the Tax Transparent Fund, effectively using its custody, fund accounting and transfer agency capabilities in an automated manner. 

The solution enables clients to restructure their investment portfolios to create efficiencies, cost savings and growth opportunities, while supporting complex daily reporting and tax requirements. The bank was mandated by a major UK life company and successfully launched an ACS in April. The bank is now assisting other UK life companies in reviewing the use of ACS, as a majority of the sector moves towards this new investment model. It also won a mandate from a UK-based fund management firm.

In addition, the bank has provided clients with first-mover access to China through QFII, RQFII and Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect. It has the largest allocated quota among all QFII custodian banks in China and RQFIIs as of May 2015, according to data from China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

According to one judge: “The QFII, RQFII and Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect are all substantial steps forward. HSBC submitted the most comprehensive entry in the securities services category.”

Supply chain finance

Winner: Citi

Most corporates find supplier on-boarding the most difficult part of rolling out a supply chain finance (SCF) programme, which spurred on Citi’s efforts to remove the pain points from the on-boarding process.

For suppliers, the bank assigns a dedicated on-boarding specialist who serves as a single point of contact for the entire process. These specialists use a cloud-based customer relationship management system that provides several benefits, including: data consolidation in a single location accessible 24/7 to the on-boarding teams; simplicity in uploading, navigating and managing new supplier data; and prioritised and organised sales activity. 

In its awards submission, Citi provided recent case studies to illustrate its proficiency in tailoring SCF programmes to client needs. For example, Mondelez International selected Citi as its partner to ensure standardised documentation, technology interfaces and supplier on-boarding processes for a consistent global solution. The programme covers Mondelez’s entities and suppliers in local and foreign currencies. It now extends to Europe, Africa, North America and 10 countries across Asia, in addition to an existing programme in Latin America.

“Over the past 13 years, our consultative approach to understanding clients’ supply chain financing goals has enabled us to build a business that supports more than $55bn of annual payment flows globally. By focusing on clients’ objectives we ensure that we design solutions that consistently deliver value to buyers and their suppliers,” says Citi’s global SCF head, treasury and trade solutions, John Monaghan.

Global Flows Analytics is one such customer-centric solution. It mines Citi’s global transaction flow data to yield actionable intelligence and enable clients to visualise their supply chains and optimisation opportunities. Users can perform real-time scenario modelling, benchmark themselves against industry peers and quantify the potential benefits of adopting a multi-product, end-to-end supply chain strategy.

In addition, the bank’s Innovation Lab in Dublin developed the Citi Supplier Finance Mobile app, which allows suppliers to inquire about the status of payments and discount requests from almost any mobile device. 

The information is delivered through a browser, which means users do not need to download an app or even have a smartphone. No user ID or password is required, so users can get the information they need more quickly. Moreover, users can access this information even if they are not clients of the bank. They simply need to complete five fields to initiate an enquiry: region; type of reference number; transaction reference number; currency; and transaction value.

“Supplier Finance Mobile is a differentiator, providing suppliers with easy access to the status of pending financing requests,” says one judge.

Trade finance

Winner: DBS

Trade finance forms a major component of DBS’s transaction banking business, driven mainly by globalising corporates expanding in the Asia-Pacific region to capitalise on dynamic Asian trade flows. 

The business achieved sustained growth in 2014, despite a complex economic environment with low interest rates, new regulations and political challenges in Asia, as well as the slowdown of the Chinese economy. DBS achieved a 5% year-on-year combined revenue growth in trade finance in 2014.

Judging panel 

  • Marco Bogliani
    independent advisor 
  • Francesco Burelli 
    partner at Innovalue
  • Enrico Camerinelli 
    senior analyst at Aite Group
  • Patricia Hines 
    senior analyst at Celent
  • Joy Macknight
    transaction banking and technology editor at The Banker
  • Wim Raymaekers 
    head of banking markets at Swift
  • Bernd Richter
    partner at Capco

Specifically, DBS continues to see impressive growth in renminbi trade finance in Singapore. Renminbi transaction volume increased by 60% (year to date in September 2014) and turnover has increased by 67%. The bank has also experienced strong growth in China: DBS China saw an increase of 21% in renminbi cross-border trade settlements turnover, as well as a 38% growth in number of clients, from the fourth quarter of 2013 to third quarter of 2014, compared with the fourth quarter of 2012 to third quarter of 2013.

With the further easing of the renminbi cross-border trade by People’s Bank of China, DBS has rolled out a range of renminbi hedging products, including non-delivery forwards, offshore delivery forwards and swap options; it is in the process of launching another hedging solution via a premium forward option to provide clients with an alternative hedging solution by the end of 2015.

DBS has strengthened its due-diligence process in relation to on-boarding clients, screening of transactions to ensure the financing of genuine trade through the enhanced Know Your Customer and Know Your Business processes. This shows good diligence on the part of the bank, according to one judge.

In Hong Kong, DBS has developed innovative trade structures such as renminbi back-to-back factoring. These solutions combine onshore domestic accounts receivables purchase in China with offshore financing for payables in Hong Kong.

As part of its import and export trade services across Asia, the bank has added new product capabilities and propositions including: a courier tracking service on export document status; single view electronic trade access and authorisation for parent/subsidiaries relationships; and connectivity across the whole network as well as process streamlining to speed up document checking.

Commenting on winning the trade finance category, Yin Fong Lum, global head of product management for cash management and trade finance, global transaction services, at DBS, says: “We are particularly encouraged that while our footprint is broadly Asian, we have been recognised as being the best globally in the world of trade finance. This reflects our commitment to our customers, and we will continue to build on our people and platform to intermediate trade flows between Asia and the rest of the world.” 


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