A major requirement for large international corporates is the availability of multibank trade finance systems that can manage letters of credit and other trade finance documents, Matti Malminen, director trade and export finance at Konecranes, told the GTR Nordic region conference in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Most banks choose to focus on their own, usually proprietary back-end systems but this can complicate the financing process for large companies that use a number of banks for a single transaction.

Konecranes, Malminen explained, has eight house banks that it works with on a regular basis and so has to deal with a number of back-end systems that function differently. “What I would like is for you [banks] to cooperate more,” he said.

Some banks, in fact, offer multi-banking platforms but encourage use of their own platform instead. One delegate told GTR that they offer a multi-bank platform but their own system is more flexible and can be altered and tailored much more easily to suit both bank and client.

A complaint that has been levelled against banks in a number of fields is the disadvantages that outsourcing parts of the trade finance process brings. With an IT system fully under a bank’s control it can respond far more quickly to any problem that a client has.

Not all banks’ back-end systems function as efficiently as they may like. Patrik Havander of Danske Bank recently highlighted this issue on his departure from SEB: “95% of meetings in my old company were about IT.”