One of Australia’s largest banks has set up a dedicated trade finance business in Tokyo and has appointed a banking veteran to head up operations there.

National Australia Bank (NAB) chose Pat Welch to fill the role of director, trade sales, Japan to expand their trade finance business in the country with an initial focus on the natural resources and agriculture sectors.

Welch has over a decade’s experience in the natural resources industry, most recently working as client director, natural resources, at NAB.

In this role he was responsible for building up the bank’s natural resources business in Australia.

Before joining NAB, Welch was with ANZ for around 20 years across a number of roles.

While NAB has offices in both Tokyo and Osaka, trade business will be based in Japan’s capital.

The bank currently issues about 40% of all documentary letters of credit issued by Australia to beneficiaries in Japan.

“NAB Tokyo plans to handle all services related to these and also handle similar business for other members of the NAB group; BNZ, Great Western Bank, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank,” Welch explains to GTR.

Furthermore, the bank is also looking to act as correspondent bank for other banks that do not have representation in Japan, Welch adds.

The Australian bank is also looking to branch out away from letters of credit, as Welch continues: “NAB is targeting business not involving documentary letters of credit, such as trade finance loans and receivable financing, with Australian, New Zealand and Japanese importers and exporters.”