ADCB’s trade finance business is resilient despite the economic headwinds caused by the negative impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic during Q1 2020, writes Krishnakumar (KK) Duraiswamy, Head of Trade Finance at ADCB.


CB’s trade finance business has been working diligently to combat the challenges caused by the pandemic. During early March, it moved its entire sales, product and client service functions into remote working capacity. Foreseeing the change happening in the Asia Pacific markets and its early move into remote working helped the business sustain the challenging period and also achieve some record volumes of trade flows during Q1 2020. The operations team also subsequently functioned remotely with almost no changes to the delivery model. The business had already invested in a digital workflow system which helped track transactions internally, and the front-end ProTrade platform helped handle all exports transactions electronically on the platform.


ProTrade Platform

The bank already had 70% of its commercial segment clients transacting digitally on the platform pre-Covid days and this period helped move the online client base to more than 85% and growing. While its trade client base is mainly UAE/GCC-centric, this also assisted clients based elsewhere on various cross-border flows across MENA and the Indian sub-continent.

With the ProTrade platform handling trade, transactions are fast, simple and secure. Clients experience fewer trade cycles, lower operating costs and benefit from automated supply chains as end-to-end transactions flow in the platform.


Key benefits

  • Accessible to client at all times
  • Clients can apply for import letters of credit (LCs) online and receive advice on export LCs received by the bank
  • Clients can apply for guarantee issuance/amendments/extension requests online
  • Clients can submit their export documents online and also directly dispatch the documents to an issuing/collecting bank both under LCs and collections
  • Customised templates for project-related requests can be made available, reducing processing time at the client’s end
  • Receive notice of transactions online and make online enquiries
  • Provide online disposal instructions for documents under credit or collection documents
  • Dedicated help-desk available 24×7


  • A fast, efficient and user-friendly online tool catering to all guarantee/LC requirements – available 24×7
  • Single sign on, integrated with the Corporate Internet Banking platform, means clients only need to log in once
  • Straight-through processing and paperless transactions mean operations can be transacted instantly, with no delays
  • Runs with 128-bit encryption, which means transactions are fully secure – more secure than signatures, which can be forged
  • Customised MIS reports can be made online for better management of risk and monitoring by clients directly


Open account financing

ADCB has been focussing on open account financing to support most of the growth in trade flows, both domestically and in cross-border trade. During this period this continues to be a focus area both in payables and receivables. The bank offers limited recourse financing for large corporates and multinational entities focussed on balance sheet management. Over the last two years, supply chain financing in terms of pre-payment to various large suppliers involving a negotiable instrument by way of bill of exchange or promissory notes has seen a rise, which contributes to a larger market share in domestic trade. The bank is also part of the Factors Chain International network, thereby supporting clients both under import factoring and export factoring solutions across their wholesale banking clients.

The bank had over the years invested in a dedicated platform for open account transactions and developed a sales ledger management solution for clients, which not only assists in financing the flows but also provides ledger management solutions for the clients and tracks the receivables efficiently. Local trade is still not showing any signs of slowdown going by the invoices, which are being provided for financing both on payables and receivables. Some of the key industries that are active are in the food and beverages, food packaging, maintenance and services-related sectors.

The ADCB Group has initiated a set of comprehensive measures to protect its customers from the economic repercussions of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in line with the direction of the country’s leadership and the Dh100bn Targeted Economic Support Scheme announced by the Central Bank of the UAE. The Group has introduced a wide range of measures that will benefit over 50,000 commercial banking segment clients.


Guarantees – local and international

ADCB has been a leading institution when it comes to the issuance of guarantees in infrastructure and construction-related projects, and we continue to see inward guarantees mainly in the oil & gas sector. The bank offers a dedicated client service desk for these flows, which helps with quick responses and excellent post–issuance service for both the beneficiaries and requestor of these guarantees. For all local issuances the clients deal via the bank’s online portal ProTrade, making it efficient for clients to request these guarantees and also seek amendments/extensions via the platform.

This is one of the core businesses within trade services and hence experienced staff with knowledge of various government entities’ requirements on the text of these instruments helps the bank specialise in this product delivery. Time is of the essence when it comes to guarantee issuances to meet various deadlines and clients rely on quick turnaround times, which has helped grow this portfolio over the years.


Future is in digital trade

In September 2019, ADCB became the first bank in the UAE to run an end-to-end blockchain trade finance transaction with full document automation through the dltledgers platform, offering corporate customers greater confidentiality, the ability to keep a closer tab on the flow of the goods and documentation, faster turnaround and enhanced fraud prevention.

Users of trade finance across all markets are keen to find out what efficiencies blockchain platforms can yield. They are not just interested in the fraud prevention aspect of the technology; they want everyone across the supply chain to be on these platforms – including the shipping companies, buyers and insurance companies – so that it works seamlessly. ADCB is working with several entities in this area to fast-track the digitisation of trade.

While the current crisis has indeed caused disruption in supply chains across the globe, ADCB Trade Finance is focussed on ensuring that we can continue to provide consistent, competitive financing and online trade services to all our business customers, helping them manage risk and also efficiently manage their trade flows.