The transaction banking revolution has only just begun
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The transaction banking revolution has only just begun

Illustration: Getty

For decades, transaction banking was a profitable but largely ignored corner of the banking industry. Then Covid happened. Today, bank chiefs see it as critical to everything they do. Given the challenges ahead – collaborating with fintechs and embedding ESG principles in global supply chains – the revolution under way in this business is unstoppable.

Citi chief executive Jane Fraser often cites it as the crown jewel of the bank’s array of global services. For Surendra Rosha, co-chief executive of HSBC Asia Pacific, it is one of three areas of finance that will define the bank’s success in the region. And for Rajesh Mehta, Citi’s Asia Pacific head of treasury and trade solutions, it constitutes the “financial rails on which all commercial activities are conducted.”

They are all talking about transaction banking.

For years this sprawling area of banking, spanning everything from trade finance and cash management to global payments, ground along perfectly happy, dispensing services demanded by corporates of all sizes to manage their day-to-day needs. For banks, it was a reliable generator of steady income. Think of it as the unheralded and hard-working football player ignored by the media but loved by fans.

Things were already changing by 2020 and then Covid happened.


Elliot Wilson headshot.jpg
Asia editor and Global Private Banking and Wealth Management editor
Elliot Wilson is Asia editor and Global Private Banking and Wealth Management editor. He joined the magazine in 2020 having been a regular contributor focusing on China and the Indian subcontinent, Russia and Eastern Europe/the CIS. He is based in Hong Kong.
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