Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has launched a supply chain finance (SCF) module for its electronic trade processing platform, Trade Pro.

The technology gives buyers and suppliers access to supply chain finance data that will help them to better manage risk, free up working capital, streamline business processes and reduce the cost of supply chain management.

Chris Bozek, head of global trade and supply chain product at the bank, tells GTR that the SCF module has been developed according to client demand for SCF to become more streamlined.

Bozek says: “The key message is as SCF becomes more mainstream, demands and sophistications for both buyers and suppliers are increasing and creating expectations for financial institutions to deliver a product that’s going to serve their purposes.

“The tool makes SCF transacting more efficient and automates the process wherever possible. Suppliers wanted the flexibility to be able to selectively discount invoices, or to auto-discount them. With SCF, they can do both. One of the clear messages we’ve heard on the buy side is that treasurers view payments as a working capital tool. As SCF becomes a more mainstream working tool, the integration of both treasury and trade side becomes more important.”

The module integrates with buyers’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, therefore automating functions such as credit memos and the release of invoices for discount. For suppliers, it provides a discount value calculator, so they when they select which invoice to discount, their cashflow will be automatically calculated. It also allows them to discount partial invoices.

Says Bozek: “It’s a powerful tool that allows users to strategically manage their cash position. We’ve been working with clients that are on the system and so far, the feedback’s been good.”

The tool is part of a continued focus on SCF for BofAML and Bozek confirms that the Trade Pro platform is one the bank will continue to develop.