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BMO Financial Group (Bank of Montreal) has recently finalised the successful migration of its trade services business in North America and China to AMS’s Proponix trade processing platform. Proponix was developed jointly by American Management Systems (AMS), a global business and IT consulting firm, and several banks. This platform integrates trade finance processing for banks and provides a web-based customer portal to clients. By outsourcing to Proponix BMO is able to provide its trade finance clients with enhanced customer service, while realising new revenue streams, reduced costs and increased competitive advantage.

“We believe that the demand for a global trade processing alternative is increasing,” says Peter Wren, managing director, trade finance, BMO Financial Group. “We recognised the need to break through the traditional barriers by delivering a flexible, web-based, dynamic service that will meet the needs of the trade finance industry. To stay competitive, we must continue to meet our customers’ growing demand for efficient and flexible global trade services processing. Proponix provides us with a competitive advantage in our plans to further develop and expand our international trade finance business.”

The portal, which is branded as “Tradevenue Direct” by BMO, is available to both importers and exporters, and is part of BMO’s commitment to leverage new technology on behalf of its clients. Indicative of BMO’s commitment to the trade finance market space, the portal extends beyond simple trade finance processing, allowing BMO’s corporate customers to manage portions of the supply chain. Add-on services such as document preparation and collaboration, purchase order event management and compliance will be available in the near future.

Proponix is a fully integrated trade finance platform designed for global and multi-bank transaction processing. It enables banks of all sizes to drive down costs by sharing infrastructure and development costs among other banks using the Proponix platform. It also gives banks the flexibility to handle technology processing according to their changing needs, providing the platform for small or regional banks to outsource their operations processing, or for market-leading banks to in-source processing for other banks.

Proponix allows BMO to enhance its trade finance offering and extend new solutions and service enhancements to its corporate customers. It also enables the bank to generate additional income streams by offering third party processing to other financial institutions. Lastly, Proponix allows BMO to share infrastructure and development costs with other banks on the platform and to pay ‘per transaction’ for processing services, ensuring that operating costs are kept in line with their business volume.

“BMO Financial Group’s successful, long-standing relationship with AMS spans 17 years. We were original partners in the development of what is now the Proponix product offering for trade finance, as well as in credit services, where we teamed to create the first North American bank with a true internet lending system,” says Anne Crowley, senior vice-president, AMS financial services unit. “We are pleased that our continued relationship with BMO will help position it as the premier provider of trade finance in the global marketplace.”

Harris Nesbitt, the US-based investment and corporate banking arm of BMO Financial Group has also migrated to the Proponix platform and extended the portal to its US clients.