The best business-changing tool you can get
It is without question the emergence and proliferation of new digital technology has the opportunity to revolutionalise the way companies move goods to customers.
This evolution will change the way trade and supply chain financing is accessed, as paper processes are abandoned for their digital equivalents.
At ANZ, we’re excited about the opportunities this will bring to the sector, with improved processes and innovative products placing increased access to financing in the hands of customers, helping support growth.
ANZ has and continues to invest in emerging technologies. Fileactive, in place since 2011, is a service which allows businesses to automate the processing of payments by connecting their systems directly with ANZ’s, removing the need for human intervention.
Lygon, in pilot, is a distributed-ledger technology based solution, aimed at transforming the process around bank guarantees, supporting beneficiaries, applicants and financial institutions.
These are just two of our many services which have helped drive our customers into the digital era and solve real problems. We’re proud of these offerings and in many cases they are market leading.
But there’s one tool at ANZ we find to be more powerful and effective than any of our trade services: a keen ear from a banker.
It sounds pretty simple, but at ANZ, we genuinely listen to our clients and rally to act on that feedback. We know for ANZ customers, a tool is only handy if they have a problem it can solve. We don’t create digital products for digital product’s sake. We use feedback to design and apply solutions which really help - not just sound impressive.
We believe listening is an integral part of our value proposition. Listening means understanding what we can do better and what our customers want us to solve. This is about having experts all through the value chain who take this feedback and turn it into solutions.
It’s also a big reason why we’re consistently ranked as the number-one trade bank in Australia. We have just been recognised again on that front, by East & Partners, for the tenth-consecutive year. We've also been nammed by Peter Lee Associates as the leading provider of trade services in Australia.
As the world moves into recovery mode in the wake of the pandemic, we know that listening – and problem solving – will become even more important.
It’s a practice that has become embedded at ANZ in the months since the crisis, Alan Huse, Head of Transaction Banking Product says.
“Customers have consistently called out their appreciation for ANZ during the crisis,” he says. “Our bankers have been very proactive in seeing how we can help customers and this has deepened our understanding of business models and strengthened our partnerships.”
“In many cases, this assistance has been quite operational – but demonstrated the importance of digitisation as a longer-term solution.”
As the impact of COVID-19 played havoc with ANZ clients’ businesses early in 2020, what quickly became clear from those conversations is trade needs to digitise – and quick.
A perfect 10
Consultancy group East & Partners named ANZ Institutional the top trade bank in Australia for the tenth- straight year in June.
In its survey of the Australia Trade Finance market, ANZ was the number one trade finance bank by primary market share in both the Institutional and Corporate market segments.
ANZ achieved the highest satisfaction rating in 14 out of 20 ‘best of breed’ categories across the institutional survey and 11 out of 20 in the corporate survey. These categories cover a number of key influencing factors from origination through to execution, demonstrating the strength of ANZ's market leading end-to-end capabilities.
Don’t get us wrong – there has been strong progress in the trade sector when it comes to digitisation. ANZ has been behind or involved in some of the more-impressive milestones. But compared to some other sectors, there is still work to be done. The speed of adoption is not consistent.
The reluctance to some extent is understandable. The industry has been built on documents for hundreds of years and trade transactions typically involve many parties. Therefore, there is a level of comfort in existing practices.
But progress is crucial if the sector is to solve some its most-pressing and long-running issues – including the need to bridge a $US1.5 trillion trade gap between the level of demand from borrowers and the amount banks currently provide. It is believed this gap has only increased as a result of COVID-19, tightening the credit environment and reducing the amount of capital available in the system.
Furthermore, one of the challenges is differing approaches from regulators and policymakers around the world. There is a need for all these bodies to get involved and say “this is a solution we need to push toward”.
At ANZ, we saw this firsthand through the crisis with customers keen to take advantage of digital tools like e-signatures, only to run into barriers of acceptance.
Industry bodies such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Trade and Forfeiting Association (ITFA) are currently trying to champion the use of e-signatures and digital documents in general across the trade sector. They recognise for some businesses the pandemic made it almost impossible to transact which has choked the flow of trade financing, the lifeblood of their operations.
At ANZ, the number of hours we saw saved by e-signatures at the peak of the crisis was phenomenal. Days of document-based work was completed in literally minutes. It’s a very simple but effective form of digitisation.
We have heard our customers on this and will continue to drive solutions in that area.
Even as the recovery begins ANZ has been working to support our customers through challenging times.
We’re focussed on streamlining processes, getting customers to market, listening to concerns of challenges they have, asking about pressure points and responding accordingly.
We know trade is more about people than products. It’s service that wins you recognition - like we have received from East & Partners and Peter Lee Associates - and not products.
We’re looking forward to the post-crisis economy. Until then, we’re focussed on accelerating digitisation where it will help customers the most.
And we won’t know where that is unless we listen.
Damian Kwok is Head of Trade and Supply Chain Australia, New Zealand, Pacific and Head of Trade Portfolio Management at ANZ Institutional
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