Boosted by an exciting new fintech collaboration, Euro Exim Bank has all the tools to accelerate your import and export business, writes Graham Bright, Head of Compliance & Operations
Euro Exim Bank is a global financial institution headquartered in Saint Lucia in the West Indies, holding a Class “A” license, with a representative office in London.
We are currently expanding our operations, with offices being established in Singapore, Chennai and Dubai. This aims to take advantage of the continued rise in trade between the Middle East and the Far East and build sales resources in Africa and India.
Euro Exim Bank is built around an experienced team of trade finance experts who have an unrivalled knowledge in financial messaging, trade systems and much more besides. The bank rapidly generates first drafts, completes complex KYC (Know Your Customer) processes and sends instructions within tight timeframes.
The trade flows we handle can be complex, and the ecosystem comprises many participants from different industry sectors, each with their own standards, systems and processes. Navigating a safe passage through the myriad of players can be challenging for new market entrants, so companies need assistance with simplified processes and guaranteed payment corridors – this is where Euro Exim Bank excels.
The bank is actively expanding its operational footprint to enable corporates easier payment terms, paying global suppliers both quickly and seamlessly without the need for complex payments infrastructures or fragmented correspondent bank relationships.
New markets are emerging all of the time and Euro Exim Bank is ahead of the curve in understanding the various shifts in global trade. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is set to affect a significant number of countries by facilitating the movement of goods from manufacturing centres in Asia to meet demand in Western Europe. China also has a growing economic presence in Africa; it is financing and building a range of infrastructure projects and is eyeing further opportunities to establish and supply local markets with greater ease than ever before.
The most effective long-term strategy for international trade will be to embrace document digitisation and promote standards, interoperability and interconnectivity between all parties in the trade flow. One of the examples of how we are doing this is through our collaboration with Ripple. Ripple is an innovative technology company with a financial network capability (RippleNet) that embraces blockchain-based financial settlements to handle real-time, frictionless transmission of payments across a secure de-centralised DLT infrastructure, covering both fiat and non-fiat currency. Additionally, Ripple is the custodian of the well-known XRP cryptocurrency, which is traded on many international exchanges.
Euro Exim Bank has implemented the Ripple xCurrent service speeding up and securing real-time payments, and ODL (on-demand liquidity). This enables pay-outs in local currency without the need to exchange into dollars or the need for traditional correspondent banks.
Euro Exim Bank has embraced technology and continues to automate and improve the capabilities of its internal Simplex end-to-end workflow trade finance platform. The barriers for many smaller participants and new entrants onto the global trade arena involves costly and uncompetitive access to funds, lack of trust and confidence, and a lack of business appetite. Liquidity in small local banks, corruption, and lack of knowledge in dealing with complex instruments are also common barriers to entry.
However, our use of the Ripple xCurrent service for payments, and ODL for solving liquidity problems, switching from local currency to XRP and paying out in local currency at the receiver end, not only resolves the time issue of delivery and authenticity, but also solves the issue of switching into and out of USD or EUR, negating high costs and often wild currency fluctuations.
This is significant for economies like Africa, as cash challenged companies no longer need to wait days for their money to traverse correspondent banks with associated funding and dispersal from local accounts. Funds reach an ultimate destination and are credited to a beneficiary account in real-time, with the benefits of speed, low cost, immutability and transparency with full audit trail.
DLT/blockchain solutions: meeting anti-fraud, anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer demands
With advances in mobile and smart connectivity, customer expectation is driving demand for more efficient and ever cheaper services from financial institutions, but risk assessment and full KYC are more important than ever.
The perception of compliance is that it is bureaucratic, burdensome, costly, slow, repetitive and frequently stifles entrepreneurial flair to the detriment of lasting business. And for many this is no different in practice.
The case for using DLT in payments is strong, and even more so when assessing the issues and possible solutions to tackling fraud with KYC/AML and compliance.
Fortunately, DLT can provide the technology to improve the heavy data bound process. Addressing the fundamental issues of internal, intra and interbank data sharing, DLT will assist submissions and oversight with regulators, and more rapidly identify foreign accounts used for illegal and fraudulent drugs and terrorist financing transactions.
For KYC, AML and due diligence across an enterprise, traditional problems have been the proliferation of paper, false positives, untrusted data integrity, failures in identity assurance and long manual reconciliation times. All these issues may be drastically reduced through efficient verification of KYC data, assisting rapid cost-effective on-boarding, faster loan servicing and efficiency in creation, communication and one-touch handling of complex trade documents powered and enabled by DLT technology.
Customer expectations in trade finance Clients want simplicity and cheap instruments without advance payment or risk, with guarantees of delivery and a borderless trading environment regardless of jurisdiction. Major banks are de-risking, merging, and closing customer accounts. Smaller agile providers have emerged and are able to handle trade instruments for clients previously disintermediated and left uncompetitive.
Access to fiat currency and local funds to trade on the international stage has prevented companies in emerging countries from competitive export. But trade can progress and fintech solutions are available to close the trade gap and provide alternative funding.
Mobile payment mechanisms and digital wallets are taking the place of traditional bank accounts, but there are still three billion unbanked people globally, who are mainly reliant on cash, especially in rural economies. The age demographic – whereby the older generations tend to prefer cash, while millennials embrace the latest technological trends – remains important. In two generations, cash may well be a distant memory as electronic systems become commonplace.
Sustainability and CSR
Our corporate social responsibility policy is key. From charity fund-raising events raising thousands of pounds supporting hospitals and the underprivileged, to local sponsorship of cultural events both at home, the Caribbean and in Africa, the Euro Exim organisation is pleased to provide regular support and awareness to those less fortunate.
The bank’s sustainability initiatives always balance profit, planet and people, and we purposefully examine all trades prior to contractual agreements. Furthermore, we are careful to assess the environmental impact of trades, type of goods (responsibly sourced), working with buyers where free and fair-trade prevails and sellers/manufacturers regarding fair pay and treating their workforce with consideration and respect.
Opportunities in Africa
Trust and confidence have been an issue when dealing with trades and infrastructure projects in Africa. Just in terms of handling currency, most Western nations want dollars, whereas African nations often trading with near neighbours rely on local currency. Agricultural economies are becoming industrialised, with greater financial inclusion. Bank accounts are more common among an increasingly transient population who have access to sophisticated electronic payments methods.
The technology uptake and faster movement of clean money is enabling firms across the African continent to compete better in global markets.
Ultimately, the undisputed growth of Africa as the major supplier to meet the unyielding demand of Asian economies – who demand foreign raw materials for re-manufacture and re-export – sees no signs of abating. Euro Exim Bank is well positioned to meet the opportunities and demands of new emerging economies.
For more banking and finance news, follow The European