GTR is pleased to announce the results of its Asia Leaders in Trade 2013 readers’ poll.


Best overall trade finance bank in Asia Pacific / HSBC
Best structured commodity finance bank in Asia Pacific / Standard Chartered
Best export finance bank in Asia Pacific / Citi
Best commodity finance bank in Asia Pacific / ING
Best trade outsourcing bank in Asia Pacific / JP Morgan
Best trade credit insurance broker in Asia Pacific / Gallagher Singapore
Best political risk insurance broker in Asia Pacific / JLT
Best trade credit insurer in Asia Pacific / Euler Hermes
Best political risk insurer in Asia Pacific / Ace Global Markets
Best export credit agency in Asia Pacific / Sinosure
Best alternative trade financier in Asia Pacific / Falcon Group
Best trade finance bank in Singapore / UOB
Best trade finance bank in Vietnam / Techcombank
Best trade finance bank in People’s Republic of China / Bank of China
Best trade finance bank in Malaysia / Maybank
Best trade finance bank in Indonesia / Bank Danamon
Best trade finance bank in India / State Bank of India
Best trade finance bank in Thailand / Bangkok Bank
Best trade finance bank in Taiwan / Chinatrust Commercial
Best trade finance bank in South Korea / KEB
Best trade finance bank in the Philippines / BDO
Best trade finance bank in Australia and New Zealand / Westpac
Best trade finance bank in Japan / Mizuho
Best trade finance bank in Mongolia / Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia
Best trade finance bank in Bangladesh / Dhaka Bank
Best trade finance bank in Pakistan / Habib Bank


Best overall trade finance bank in Asia Pacific

GTR readers have voted that the award for best overall Asia Pacific trade finance bank be handed to HSBC this year.

As the global trade paradigm continues to shift from west to east, HSBC’s long history and expertise in the fast-growing markets of Asia has ensured that the bank is well-placed to capture growth.

“HSBC is strongly-positioned to connect Asia’s markets with the world and we will continue to tailor our finance solutions to meet the evolving needs of customers globally,” says Simon Constantinides, the bank’s regional head of global trade and receivables finance, Asia Pacific (ex Hong Kong and Macau).

HSBC has built up its commodity and structured trade finance capabilities in four Asian markets: Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Australia, with further roll-out planned for other markets during 2013.

The bank also continues to grow its renminbi (Rmb) trade franchise and coverage by executing transactions in a growing number of countries across the region. Moreover, HSBC China was one of three designated banks approved for Rmb-Australian dollar direct trading in China’s interbank foreign exchange market this year.

Best structured commodity finance bank in Asia Pacific
Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered has once again picked up the award for best structured commodity finance bank in Asia Pacific.

“Standard Chartered is the only major international bank with an extensive domestic network across Asia that has dedicated commodity financing units,” says Sanjeev Paul, the bank’s global head of local corporates, origination and client coverage, wholesale banking.

“We count Asia as our home and have large on-the-ground presence in the two most active commodity trading and financing hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as in origination and consumption hubs such as India, China, Indonesia and most of South and Southeast Asia,” Paul adds. Although faced with softening commodity prices, which have resulted in a lower borrowing base for clients in the sector, the bank has worked hard to register a growth in revenues, despite the challenging market environment.

In the past year, Standard Chartered has added more product expertise, bought boutique advisory firms such as Gryphon Partners to serve its mining and metals clients better, and offered both private equity and equity placement support, on top of all types of debt and trade products.

“We have supplemented traditional trade financing facilities with structured solutions on the commodity flows and associated hedging of commodity price risk,” says Paul.

Best export finance bank in Asia Pacific

GTR readers have voted Citi as the best export finance bank in Asia Pacific.

Export finance continues to be at the forefront of Citi’s strategy across the region. The bank’s export and agency platform allows clients to leverage its long-standing relationships with over 65 agencies globally, including export credit agencies, development finance institutions and multilateral agencies. The bank prides itself on delivering structured solutions that are not limited to standalone financings, but often incorporate larger syndications, capital markets and embedded structured derivatives. In the last 12 months, Citi has continued to deliver innovative export financing solutions that enable companies to balance their working capital optimisation objectives with the need to stabilise their global supply chains.

Citi has enjoyed a year-on-year revenue growth of 20% from its export agency finance business, with deals closed across industry sectors covering aviation, energy and power, shipping and industrials.

Moreover, in the last year, the bank has financed cross-border trade flows exceeding US$10bn through receivables finance and supply chain financing solutions.

“We have been constantly innovating and structuring solutions which deliver value to the client through credit enhancement, risk mitigation, balance sheet maximisation and developing a continuous source of liquidity. These structured solutions help to deliver sustained and significant growth,” says Sanjay Tandon, Asia Pacific head of trade at Citi.

Best commodity finance bank in Asia Pacific

GTR readers have voted for ING as the best commodity finance bank in Asia Pacific. Demand for commodities in the regionhas been booming and the Dutch bank has been one of the frontrunners on many of the biggest transactions.

When Gunvor Singapore went to market with its first syndication in 2012, ING was one of the major players. Catherine Low, head of trade and commodity finance Asia, explains: “ING first brought Gunvor the idea of tapping Asian liquidity in 2010, given their growing activities in Asia. Working closely with the client, our cross-border deal team helped Gunvor position its subsidiary in the Asian syndication market. The deal was 35% oversubscribed and raised US$635mn in commitments.”

With a presence in 40 countries around the world, ING has leveraged its global network in order to serve its Asian-based clients. Low tells GTR: “ING has seen great success by partnering with our colleagues from other product teams.

A good example was the recent US$400mn senior unsecured notes transaction for Noble Group, where ING was a joint bookrunner.”

Best trade outsourcing bank in Asia Pacific
JP Morgan

Once again, JP Morgan has scooped the best trade outsourcing bank in Asia Pacific award, as voted for by GTR readers.

Rather than messing with what’s clearly a winning formula, the bank has focused on tweaking its current offering, as explained by global trade executive for Asia Pacific, Pravin Advani: “As part of our continuous process of enhancing our product suite, JP Morgan recently deployed an improved technology platform that enables our clients to automate the collection, preparation and transmission of trade documents with greater efficiency and reliability.

“More important than any technology or product is our partnership approach, which entails understanding our clients’ requirements and delivering advisory and best-in-class service, as part of a truly global solution.”

Best trade credit insurance broker in Asia Pacific
Gallagher Singapore

Yet another successful win for Gallagher Singapore as best trade credit insurance broker in Asia Pacific this year, following two previous wins in 2011 and 2012.

The past year, says Freddie Lim, managing director, was marked by many clients renewing trade credit insurance (TCI) policies with increased limits as they move more of their transactions to an open account basis. “We also added new clients who are using TCI for the first time to manage payment risks as well as to meet their buyers’ demands to move away from secured to open account terms. We see this happening to many of our clients across all sectors of business.”

Although still mainly in the structured trade and single buyer sectors, Lim says Gallagher is now seeing more and more enquires for WTO policies. He sees this as an important area of growth – especially in regional markets, receiving many interesting enquiries from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

To meet the growing demand for WTO policies, Gallagher brought in Kirk Lee last year to take care of this sector on a regional basis. Lee is now actively working with local partners in various countries in Asean to promote the use of TCI to local exporters. The firm has also hired an additional senior account executive for its marine team so that Audrey Poon, head of the marine division, is able to help market TCI to her many marine cargo clients. “We continue to work very closely with our marine team so that our clients can benefit from our one-stop service for international trade insurance solutions,” adds Lim.

Best political risk insurance broker in Asia Pacific

JLT has done it again and claimed top spot for best political risk insurance (PRI) broker in Asia. It beat off competition namely from the big guns of Willis, Aon and Marsh.

“Whilst the marketplace has become more crowded in recent years we are pleased we have continued to build upon our long-standing position in Asia and see continued growth in the region over the last year,” says Mark Wong, managing director, credit, political and security risks, Asia at JLT.

In particular, JLT saw the development of new business in emerging markets. In 2012, it again expanded its team, bringing in new staff to further enhance capabilities and depth of experience.

“We always keep our clients’ interests central to our approach and focus on assisting them to grow their businesses across Asia and globally,” says Wong.

The demand continues to be primarily driven by the financial centres in Singapore and Hong Kong, however, JLT is seeing a growing trend of interest from new territories especially in Southeast Asia and China. They anticipate this trend to continue as interest in the credit and political risks market spreads across the region.

“On the whole, banks and traders are the main users of the insurance market and we are seeing a growing number of local or regional financial institutions utilising the market within Asia which is helping fuel the current growth pattern,” adds Wong. “At the same time, there are growing interest levels amongst Asian corporates regarding credit and PRI.”

Best trade credit insurer in Asia Pacific
Euler Hermes

The award for best trade credit insurer in the Asia Pacific region was won by Euler Hermes this year, beating last year’s winner Coface into second place.

During 2012 Euler Hermes’ business in Asia Pacific grew by almost 39% compared to the previous year. The first quarter of 2013 alone saw business grow by a further 32% compared to the same period last year.

“Our business has grown throughout Asia as we have increased our investment in broker and bank distribution and enhanced our database in information on local companies,” says Anil Berry, regional commercial director, Asia Pacific in Hong Kong.

“We have seen significant growth in markets such as China and Hong Kong as well as emerging markets like Indonesia. In addition we have seen increased interest in our product from multinationals located and selling in the region.”

The credit insurer has over 250 people in the Asia Pacific region and continues to invest in local talent to maintain service standards and growth in the region.

“In the last 12 months Euler Hermes has expanded its product range in Asia Pacific developing transactional cover
and bonding as well as widening the scope of its traditional trade credit insurance offering,” adds Berry.

“Our strategy is to put our ‘decision makers’ in touch with our clients, insurance brokers and partners to ensure we are able to take quick and informed decisions to support trade growth and mitigate risks.”

Best political risk insurer in Asia Pacific
Ace Global Markets

For the third year in a row, GTR readers have acknowledged Ace Global Markets’ performance in Asia Pacific and for two years on the trot, it’s been in the political risk insurance category.

Countries such as Vietnam, Mongolia and Indonesia have become more prominent on the trade landscape. Bank runs in Vietnam, repatriation of mining assets in Mongolia and nationalistic rhetoric in Indonesia emphasise the volatility of doing business in each. The need for political risk cover has never been greater, and Julian Hudson, regional manager for political risk and credit, Asia Pacific, puts Ace’s success in the region down to “the combination of underwriting capability, consistency
of approach and an experienced team”.

He explains to GTR: “The past 12 months has seen new clients considering political risk insurance, often for challenging transactions, and closing such deals has definitely been the highlight for Ace. Being awarded best political
risk insurer for a second consecutive year is a wonderful achievement that crowns another rewarding 12 months
in the region for Ace.”

Best export credit agency in Asia Pacific

GTR readers have voted China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) the leading export credit agency (ECA) in Asia.

Sinosure’s policies cover thousands of exporters and hundreds of medium and long-term projects concerning high technology exports, large electro-machinery and complete-set equipment exports, and overseas engineering contracts, to name a few.

A spokesperson from Sinosure tells GTR that the business is set to change for Asia Pacific ECAs as the global centre of economic activity moves toward the regions and the market becomes more complex.

“There will be multi-level, diversified and complicated features surrounding Asian credit risk, such as the rise of trade protectionism in some countries, frequent cases of false trade, stricter foreign exchange restrictions, more substantial fluctuations in the economy and local conflicts,” predicts the spokesperson. “These more complicated market conditions and changing risk situation will both require a higher level of risk management among Asian ECAs,” he comments.

He predicts that the developing demands of the market will keep promoting the continuous improvement of export credit products.

He continues: “Unlike in Europe or the US, we expect the large ECAs in Asia to remain very active on short-term trade credit business and either continue to effectively monopolise their respective markets or compete strongly head-to-head with private insurers.”

Best alternative trade financier in Asia Pacific
Falcon Group

Our award for best alternative finance provider (previously ‘best trade finance boutique’) goes to Falcon Group this year, followed by last year’s winner Eurofin Asia.

Asia has been at the core of Falcon’s growth over the last year, which may lead to further growth within the region.

Corporates in Asia are eager to develop and expand – encouraged by a growing consumer base, and enabled by infrastructure developments that facilitate business, says Falcon’s Singapore head, Andrew Church. “However, access to bank funding is growing increasingly difficult as global banks constrain lending in response to Basel III regulation and the general economic climate.”

Yet while banks have had to scale back, Falcon has instead been able to develop its offering. Through offices in Jakarta and Singapore (as well as London and Dubai) it is well-situated to identify opportunities and provide structured funding solutions to corporates across Asia.

“China presents many opportunities, as corporates wishing to take advantage of the growing consumer base seek to expand business,” says Church. “Indian corporates also have a thirst for funding as they too seek to expand not only within India, but also internationally.

“European banks appear less able to provide Chinese and Indian corporates with structures they desire. Given this,
the appetite for alternative funding solutions is strong, and Falcon is already taking advantage of this situation.”

Best trade finance bank in Singapore

GTR readers have voted UOB as the best trade finance bank in Singapore.

The bank’s strong understanding of the region has enabled it to provide effective risk mitigating solutions such as letter of credit confirmation, non-recourse discounting and counter guarantees to shield its customers from counterparty risks and exposures as they explore business opportunities in new and emerging markets.

“Critical to our success is understanding the needs of our customers and addressing them with the right solution. To do this, we have dedicated teams of trade specialists and relationship managers across Asia working closely to engage our customers on their business developments, market trends and industry best practices,” says So Lay Hua, UOB’s managing director and head group transaction banking.

“Our teams have their ears constantly on the ground to track market and regulatory changes so they can always be a step ahead to help our customers seize new market opportunities,” she says.

Best trade finance bank in Vietnam

For 20 years now, Techcombank has been supporting Vietnamese trade and it’s the only bank in the country with a dedicated transaction banking division.

It’s no surprise, then, that GTR readers have seen fit to nominate it as Vietnam’s best trade finance bank for the second year running. The bank has had a busy 12 months.

It introduced a number of new products and solutions, including one that limits the impact of legislation restricting Vietnamese importers’ ability to access foreign currency loans; one that allows it to issue letters of credit to its financial clients’ customers, in the face of tight regulation regarding international payments and another that allows its clients to broker relationships with
Wells Fargo, a partner bank.

Bach Thuy Ha, head of transaction banking at Techcombank, tells GTR: “We have reached some outstanding successes in achieving the highest possible level of customer satisfaction through the utilisation of the most modern technology available.

Not dwelling on our successes, we will continue to strive to provide our clients with ever-improved banking solutions though multiple delivery channels, including internet banking, branch, counters, ATMs and SMS to ensure the optimal number of service options and the utmost convenience
for clients.”

The recent appointment of Singapore as a renminbi (Rmb) clearing and settlement centre has been a significant milestone for the internationalisation of the Rmb. The bank sees many opportunities for cross-border Rmb settlement, and continues to build its Rmb capabilities to facilitate the growth of Asean-China trade flows denominated in the currency, as well as enable its customers to realise the benefits of Rmb being settled domestically.

Best trade finance bank in People’s Republic of China
Bank of China

Bank of China (BOC) has been voted top of its class in PRC for the second year running.

Last year, due to the turbulent domestic and international market situation and interest liberalisation, BOC faced much uncertainty but, according to Steven Zhu, product manager for the bank’s global trade services department, the bank “successfully overcame these challenges”.

In 2012, BOC recorded an international settlement volume of US$2.78tn, as such maintaining a leading role in the global banking industry. Its transaction volume of cross-border renminbi (Rmb) settlement exceeded Rmb2.46tn, and covered more than 100 countries and regions. Moreover, the bank’s share of foreign currency trade finance holds the top position in China’s market.

Zhu tells GTR that the bank “owns a complete trade services product portfolio, comprehensive expertise and powerful product innovation capability”.

Trade services business is central to BOC’s core competitiveness. “BOC has chosen providing world-class trade services as one of its key long-term development strategies. It aims to further develop its traditional advantages, continues to expand business scale and consistently provides a full range of high-quality, comprehensive and efficient trade services for all customers in the future,” says Zhu. “We believe BOC will do better and better in trade finance.”

Best trade finance bank in Malaysia

GTR’s readers have voted Maybank best trade finance bank in Malaysia for the third time.

The bank continues to be the most dominant on the Malaysian trade finance landscape: it has over 17,000 clients throughout the country and provides services around exports and export credit, letters of credit, structured trade and commodity finance, supply chain finance and shariah-compliant Islamic financing.

It also has a wide network of partner banks and agencies, including the Exim Overseas Guarantee Facility (EDGF) with Malaysia Exim, which is worth RM1bn. China is now Malaysia’s second biggest trading partner, accounting for 13% of exports and 15% of imports. In March 2013 the country’s total trade with China increased by 8.3%.

In recognition of the growing importance of this relationship, Maybank offers its clients the opportunity to settle its cross-border trade transactions with China in either ringgit (RM) or renminbi. It is currently the only Malaysian bank to have a RM account facility in Shanghai. Malaysia, with its low inflation (2.5%), manageable debt ratio (54%) and high levels of growth (21.8% between now and 2017) is viewed as one of the most promising of the emerging markets. Maybank leads the Malaysia’s banking sector into what’s an exciting period for its economy.

Best trade finance bank in Indonesia
Bank Danamon

Voted best trade finance bank in Indonesia for the third year in a row, Danamon is one of the country’s largest and strongest financial institutions.

As of December 2012, Danamon ranked as the sixth largest bank in Indonesia in terms of total assets and market capitalisation, with one of the largest branch networks in country, consisting of over 3,300 branches and points of sales across Indonesia.

“Through its strong domestic network channel, Danamon offers experienced and knowledgeable trade finance troops, who are equipped with top international qualifications and are ready to provide solutions for clients and potential clients to manage better cash flow in order to maximise their growth while being able to compete in the international market,” says Isabella Aritonang, the bank’s head of transaction banking.

The bank’s revenue increased by 18% in 2012 despite tough market competition and US dollar liquidity scarcity during the year.

“Considering the European economic turmoil and the recent global economic slowdown, we are focusing on domestic business by tapping supply chains on mid-size companies, commodity financing and local trade,” says Aritonang. “We still continue to maintain emerging markets as potential businesses in 2013.”

Best trade finance bank in India
State Bank of India

Readers of GTR have voted for State Bank of India (SBI) as the country’s top trade finance bank. It’s been a huge year for the government-owned bank, as it wrestles the crown from the private sector, which has dominated this category in recent years.

As Indian trade continues to grow, SBI – India’s largest lender – has been instrumental in supporting its key industries. In June, it teamed up with a group of Japanese banks and export credit agencies to offer credit of up to US$90mn to green projects in the country.

In September 2012, SBI entered into an agreement with StarAgri Warehousing (another Indian organisation) to offer warehouse receipt financing and collateral management to Indian farmers. In Q2 of this year, it was involved in the syndicate of lenders that helped fund the largest ever project financing in India. The lender, Tata Steel, closed a 10-year US$3.94bn club deal with 21 banks, including SBI, to build a new steel plant, the Kalinganagar project.

And in May, the bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Spanish bank BBVA. The agreement is designed to give SBI and Indian corporates access to BBVA’s Latin American subsidiaries, further supporting the burgeoning number of Indian exports to the region.

Best trade finance bank in Thailand
Bangkok Bank

For the first time, Bangkok Bank has earned the most votes from GTR readers, making it the top Thai bank in 2013.

In a pioneering move, the bank launched its Bualuang e-guarantee and e-payment services in March this year. Bangkok Bank developed the online system to link information between customers and the customs department in real time, 24 hours a day, every day.

The initiative provides a guarantee of tax payments to exporters and importers, while paying taxes promptly, lowering business costs and reducing workload. Bualuang e-guarantee also helps customers to continually revolve their credit line as the bank can automatically settle payments in line with the actual export volume.

“Exporters and importers can run their businesses smoothly and effectively to cope with tough competition in world trade,” the bank said in a statement. Apart from integrated trade services (including import and export offerings), the bank offers related services, such as revolving guarantees, to make it easier for clients to reach their goals in international trade.

Best trade finance bank in Taiwan
Chinatrust Commercial

GTR readers have once more Chinatrust Commercial as the best trade finance bank in Taiwan. The bank has established itself as the most globalised trade finance outfit in the country, with branches now operational in the US, Canada, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

The bank pins its success on its innovative spirit, keeping ahead of the competition through its deployment of technology, which it has developed further over the past 12 months.

Maggie Wu from the bank’s transaction-based lending department tells GTR: “Chinatrust owns advanced technology for convenient trade transactions, such as an e-payment system for supply chain finance, the eTrust system for online letter of credit issuance or amendment and transaction inquiry, and a fax banking system (Code Fax) for clients to complete transactions instantly. Chinatrust focuses on product innovation. It has developed many new trade products in the last 12 months in order to penetrate the midcap and SME markets, to acquire trade-linked business opportunities and to meet clients’ financial needs.”

Best trade finance bank in South Korea

KEB – Korea Exchange Bank – has been voted the best trade finance bank in South Korea. While the bank may only be the country’s fifth largest in terms of assets, it is one of the most important in supporting international trade.

KEB is South Korea’s largest foreign exchange bank and also has the largest range of foreign exchange products. In 2012, it was taken over by Hana Financial Group, another Korean financial institution, which incorporated it into the country’s biggest commercial banking network.

Over the past 12 months, Korean companies have become more active in the global projects and trade market. KEB has sought to support this. In response to the growing presence of South Korean firms in Middle Eastern infrastructure products, KEB opened its first Dubai branch in December 2012. Along with its parent bank and the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the fastest-growing free trade zone in Dubai.

Currently, 74 Korean companies, including LG, Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo and Hankook Crane, have established themselves in Jafza, which accounts for around 30% of Korea’s non-oil exports to the UAE. The MOU will see KEB offer support to Korean investors and companies hoping to create a presence in Dubai.

Best trade finance bank in the Philippines

Banco De Oro Unibank Inc (BDO) is a new GTR award winner this year, surpassing previous winners BPI and Metrobank.

The bank is the largest in terms of assets, loans and deposits in the Philippines and forms part of the SM group of companies.

The bank’s trade finance remit includes letters of credit, remittances, insurance and working capital requirements. Among the bank’s initiatives over the past year is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which it signed in March with the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC).

The MOU aims to develop a framework supporting the banking needs of Japanese companies eyeing the Philippines as a business destination. Under the agreement’s terms, BDO will provide Japanese SMEs financial and non-financial advisory services, as well as other products and services that would be helpful to them once they set up shop in the country.

Best trade finance bank in Australia and New Zealand

Westpac is this year’s winner of the award for best trade finance bank in Australia and New Zealand.

Gordon Sparrow, head of trade sales, global transactional services, comments on the win: “We thank our customers and readers of GTR for this fantastic recognition, which is a testament to the strength of relationships our trade teams have built with our global customer base.

“It validates our focus on listening to what our customers tell us and delivering relevant and innovative solutions. It also illustrates that our product offering is backed by exceptional operational and service capability.”

With the rapidly changing global regulatory and economic landscape, the bank – together with its peers – has had to adapt and extend its capability and capacity to meet the needs of its customers.

This has included extension of its global footprint to include offices in London and Mumbai and adaption of its trade finance and supply chain finance solutions to meet the evolving regulatory frameworks of the geographies in which its customers do business.

“We are deepening our presence in Asia and broadening our product and service offerings whilst focusing on the deep relationships we have with our customers and supporting their growth in new markets,” Sparrow adds.

Best trade finance bank in Japan

Mizuho has scooped the award for best trade finance bank in Japan for the first time.

Masahiro Goda, regional head, Asia, global trade at Mizuho Corporate Bank tells GTR that the bank has done some “remarkable deals” in the last year. In May this year Bank Mizuho Indonesia lent US$30mn to local agricultural company Tunas Baru Lampung Tbk (TBL).TBL will use the pre-export finance facility for the refining of palm oil.

“The company is a palm oil processing company – they buy the fruit, refine it, and sell it to global trading houses. They have a lot of buyers, and we picked up and co-ordinated a deal with a reputable international trading house,” says Goda.

The bank acted as the arranger of the deal – its first with this borrower.The transaction has a tenor of 18 months and payment will be made in 15 equal and consecutive instalments. The deal is priced at one-month Libor plus 2.75% per year.
“For international lender like ourselves, it’s sometimes difficult to access those mid-cap corporates,” Goda tells GTR. “This facility enabled TBL to get the financing it needed based on the strength of the sales contract.”

This year also saw Mizuho become the very first Japanese bank to finalise a deal without the use of paper trade documents through Bolero’s multi-bank trade finance solution.

Best trade finance bank in Mongolia
Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia

For the third consecutive year, TDB has won the award of best trade finance bank in Mongolia. This year picked up where last year left off for both country and bank. The World Bank has forecast 13% growth for Mongolia for 2013 and the Oyu Tolgoi mining project has been arguably the most talked about in the world this year.

TDB has been strengthening its trade hand too. Over the past 12 months, it has entered into trade agreements with Deutsche Bank, SMBC, Bank of China and Taiwan Exim for supporting its trade finance business and Bayern Landesbank, BHF, AKA and Commerzbank for providing its customers with financing covered by export credit agencies. In 2012, TDB handled 53% of Mongolia’s total foreign transactions alone.

Randolph Koppa, president of the bank, tells GTR about the bank’s model for success: “TDB does not rest on its laurels as the top trade finance bank in Mongolia. Rather, we continue to dedicate ourselves to providing more and better financing solutions to our clients to assist with their growing volumes of imports and exports in Mongolia’s dynamic economy. To receive this prestigious award again is recognition of our efforts to grow our trade finance business through continued customer focus and by maintaining close relationships with our international bank partners.”

Best trade finance bank in Bangladesh
Dhaka Bank

Dhaka Bank has been voted best trade finance bank in Bangladesh for the second year in succession. One of the most interesting trends in global trade of late has been the emergence of Bangladesh as a real player in the textiles manufacturing space.

As traditional industry superpowers such as China upgrade their production base to create more value-add goods it has created an opportunity for Bangladesh. Now, the industry accounts for 76% of Bangladesh’s exports and 10% of total GDP.

As you would expect, Dhaka Bank has been very active in the space. In December 2012, the bank was the mandated lead arranger for a BDT438.25mn (around US$5.6mn) syndicated term loan with Ronak Spinning Mills.

The company is using the finance to set up a mill in Bogra, which will produce high-quality cotton yarn forthe local market.
In May, the Bangladeshi government announced plans to relax the country’s loan provisioning policy, which will allow local banks to be more competitive on the international trade market.

After wrestling away the title of “best trade finance bank in Bangladesh” from Citi last year, the stage is set for Dhaka Bank to continue progressing well.

Best trade finance bank in Pakistan
Habib Bank

Habib Bank has once again been voted Pakistan’s top trade finance bank by GTR readers. Habib is Pakistan’s largest bank and with a presence in 25 countries, a global operation.

Habib Bank has been well-placed to capitalise on the growing importance of Islamic finance on the international markets over the past year. In Q2 of 2012, it participated in the largest syndication the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has raised for a single client. On the US$2bn transaction, the sponsor of which was Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), Habib was one of 27 commercial banks that contributed to the kitty.

As well as large international transactions, though, Habib works closely with its local clients, in industries from scrap metal to white goods manufacturers. The bank has a designated trade finance product base for such clients, which was in part developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Ahsen Khawaja, head of SME banking, says: “SMEs are an integral part of Pakistan, and the more support we give them; the more we can encourage economic development across the country.”