BNP Paribas, Natixis and Société Générale have signed up to Fusion LenderComm, a live blockchain-powered platform for the syndicated loan market.

The aim is for the banks to be live by July this year.

Developed by Finastra, the solution has been in the making since early 2017. It was the first application to be made commercially available on R3’s Corda platform in April last year following a successful pilot phase.

In October, NatWest became the first bank to announce that it had integrated with the platform, which aims to “dramatically transform and streamline the global syndicated loans market”.

In short, the blockchain application digitalises information exchange in the syndicated loan market. Through the platform, agent banks can easily publish detailed loan information, including credit agreements, accrual balances, position information and other transaction data, and extend self-service capabilities to lenders. Today, this communication is predominantly done manually, over phone, fax or email.

According to Grant Jones, vice-president for Fusion LenderComm at Finastra, the decision by the three banks to join the platform is an “important inflection point, paving the way for the whole industry to come on board, achieving even further critical mass”.

All three banks were involved in the project’s pilots last year. Other financial institutions have piloted the solution too, including BNY Mellon, HSBC, ING and State Street, but have not yet committed to using it.

“This is an illustration of how blockchain can help banks optimise the entire flow of financial operations in a standardised and secured framework,” says Cécile Bartenieff, COO of global banking and investor solutions at Société Générale. “The Fusion LenderComm initiative will help provide greater transparency and operational efficiency to the syndicated loan market for the benefit of all participants, including the pool of banking lenders and our borrower clients.”

Finastra notes in a statement that the platform is robust and secure and can integrate directly into the overall technology stack at the banks.

As previously reported by GTR, Fusion LenderComm will at first be designed for participants to merely view data, but it will be expanded at a later stage.

“The initial release will allow participants to view their data, but the goal for future releases will enable the exchange of information between agents and lenders and ultimately include smart contracts,” Ian Morris, then-head of product management, corporate and syndicated lending at Finastra, told GTR when the company first announced the project.

Fusion LenderComm is just one of a range of Corda-based applications being followed closely by the trade finance industry.

Voltron, a consortium of eight banks building a blockchain platform for digital letters of credit, has been conducting live pilots for the past year and is now looking to establish an independent legal entity that can bring the solution into production. The project recently concluded a trial with 50 banks and corporate participants, who are now to decide if they wish to formally join the project.

Marco Polo, meanwhile, is a blockchain platform for open account trade finance, also backed by a consortium of banks. The application recently facilitated its first live, commercial pilot transactions, and is scheduled to go live in the second half of 2019.