The transaction banking revenue of the 12 largest global corporate and investment banks was down 6% year on year in 2015 – its first drop in five years – according to analytics firm Coalition.

The company tracked the performance of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Société Générale and UBS, which between them earned US$36.8bn from transaction banking last year, compared to US$39.1bn in 2014.

Within the sector, revenue from trade finance went from US$8.8bn to US$8bn, while cash management dropped from US$30.3bn to US$28.7bn.

Despite trade having slowed continuously for the past few years, transaction banking revenue was still growing until last year, going from about US$35bn in 2010 to its peak of US$39bn in 2014.

“Pressure in commodities and a slowdown in emerging markets let to lower revenue in trade finance, particularly in commodities trade finance and letters of credit,” says Coalition, adding that supply chain finance, on the other hand, outperformed due to increased client demand.

Conversations in the market point to maintained downward pressure on trade finance pricings despite growing regulatory costs. This is due to the combination of trade reduction (fewer transactions) and a return of liquidity in the bank market (more financiers), which has led to increased competition.

Still, transaction banking is not the worst-performing segment of financial institutions’ corporate and investment banking (CIB) branches. Revenue from FICC (fixed income, currencies and commodities), banks’ trading segment, dropped by 9% in 2015, to US$70bn. Investment banking and securities services also saw declines of 5 and 6% respectively. Only equities grew (by 10%) last year, driven by derivatives and prime.

“Revenue across the CIB Index has declined more than 10% since 2010. In contrast to the overall decline, moderate improvement has been observed in transaction banking, which has led to its growing contribution,” the report adds.