To drive greater efficiencies in trade, DBS Bank has completed the first trade financing settlement through CamelONE’s Trade Finance portal (TFP) - with another two transactions slated to close this week. The inaugural transaction relates to an SGD4.8m letter of credit (LC) transaction by Singaporean steel wholesaler and supplier, Super Steel.
As Singapore’s first unified multi-bank portal connected to the Networked Trade Platform (NTP) to aggregate trade financing products, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) like Super Steel are now able to apply for an array of trade finance solutions through the TFP.
By providing a standardised application form, the TFP is designed to eliminate the hassle of having to navigate through different banks’ sites, resulting in quicker application times and reduced human errors. This, in turn, helps enhance efficiency and productivity for both large corporates and SMEs seeking access to trade financing, and for banks to provide the service more efficiently. In addition, the information and data submitted for other trade purposes on the NTP, such as permit declaration, freight booking and cargo insurance can also be used to supplement corporates’ digital trade applications to banks - maximising digital data reuse.
“Trade finance is the lifeblood of commerce but can sometimes be quite manual and complex,” said Sriram Muthukrishnan, group head of Trade Product Management at DBS Bank. “By digitalising trade financing services via a one-stop portal, we are able to provide swift, easy and contact-free financing solutions to help our customers enjoy greater peace of mind when it comes to managing their banking needs. This is especially critical now as prolonged geopolitical tensions and trade frictions, along with Covid-19 concerns, have disrupted global and Asian supply chains, affecting the cash flows of many businesses in Singapore and the region.”
As part of the bank’s efforts to digitalise trade across all fronts, DBS has also completed its first electronic banker’s guarantee issuance on the newly-launched Singapore Customs Electronic Bank Guarantee Programme (eBG programme). The transaction relates to a SGD49,000 transaction by automotive group Komoco Holdings (Komoco).
Launched today, the eBG programme was developed as part of efforts to enhance the banker’s guarantee lodgement process, which tends to be highly manual and time intensive. For example, before the launch of the eBG programme, corporates needed to physically deliver the original hard copy of the banker’s guarantee to the Singapore Customs (Customs). But from today, DBS is now able to help corporate customers send their banker’s guarantee directly to the Customs, and concurrently digitally share data from the banker’s guarantee in real-time through the NTP. This helps cut short the banker’s guarantee issuance and submission process to the Customs from an average of three to four working days, to less than 24 hours.
Accelerating trade digitalisation across multiple fronts
Apart from driving trade digitalisation efforts externally, DBS has also looked within the bank to provide in-house solutions to enhance support for its corporate customers. As part of broader relief measures, DBS has recently launched the service where all corporate customers can now upload their supporting trade documents onto the bank’s corporate banking platform, DBS IDEAL. This means that customers will be able to submit trade financing applications online, as well as digitally upload and reload any required documents such as trade contracts, invoices, customs declarations and purchase orders. These applications were previously mainly done physically at trade counters or at bank branches. Customers will also be able to get instant notifications of their application status through email and SMS.
The bank has also announced a number of relief measures to help Singaporean businesses manage during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. These include:
- Collateral-free Digital Business Loan of up to SGD50,000, disbursed within 24 hours of loan acceptance.
- Digitalisation of 11 common trade financing processes to reduce the need to be reliant on physical over-the-counter trade processing. These are import LCs, import bills under letter of credit and collection, trust receipts under letter of credit and collection, banker’s guarantees/standby LCs, shipping guarantee, purchase invoice financing, sales invoice financing, pre-shipment financing, supplier finance, distributor finance, and accounts receivables purchase.
- 50 free FAST transactions a month to promote reduced physical handling of cheques (up from 30 free FAST transactions a month).
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