The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will refer its global transaction services (GTS) customers to BNP Paribas as it discontinues its cash management and trade finance products in markets outside of the UK and Ireland.

RBS announced its intention to withdraw from transaction services in 25 out of 38 countries in its 2014 annual results, and plans to focus on its home market capabilities. As a result, the bank will continue to serve SMEs and large corporates based in the UK, as well as multinationals from Western Europe, the US and Asia Pacific with strong links to the UK and Ireland, and global financial institutions.

RBS will now help its international GTS customers – estimated at around 7,000 at the peak of the bank’s international activity – make the transition to another provider of their choice. If they decide to pick BNP, the referral arrangement means they will benefit from a streamlined process and minimal business disruption.

We have already invested in a dedicated onboarding programme to facilitate a simplified migration process. Pierre Fersztand, BNP Paribas

RBS was unable to give a time frame for the transition when contacted by GTR.

It is understood that trade finance professionals in affected countries will continue to support their clients throughout the transition, after which some may move to a different area of the bank.

GTR can already confirm that Bryen Zimmerman, previously head of trade finance origination, Americas for RBS, has left the bank and moved to Wells Fargo, where he is responsible for leading the growth of the standby letter of credit business, as a product manager.

Marc Townsend, head of GTS at RBS, comments on the referral agreement: “In BNP Paribas, we have found a bank that has the commitment to work with our GTS customers, and we are confident that it has the people, country coverage, strong global product capability and infrastructure in transaction services to be an attractive alternative for our affected customers.”

BNP won what it calls a “competitive tender and due diligence process” to become RBS’ referral bank.

Pierre Fersztand, global head of cash management at BNP, says: “With this referral agreement with RBS, we have already invested in a dedicated onboarding programme to facilitate a simplified migration process and will continue to invest in the development of our cash management expertise alongside our colleagues on the trade finance side. Our networks are joining forces to welcome, onboard and serve these new clients.”