The winner in the transaction services category has put this business at the heart of its global strategy over the last two years to reduce reliance on lending revenue. In 2017, the success of this commitment could be seen in the Middle East – perhaps reflecting the fact that the banker leading this global reorientation in corporate and institutional banking, Simon Cooper, was previously chief executive of HSBC Middle East.
The region’s best bank for transaction services, Standard Chartered, boasted encouraging growth in trade assets and Swift volumes over the period, despite the regional slowdown – in part the result of a new transaction banking client coverage model introduced last year.
As elsewhere in the emerging world, Standard Chartered continues to serve tougher markets, even when competitors have exited. A good example is Iraq, where its letters of credit (LC) business supported multinational corporations to the tune of around $1 billion, including a $336 million three-year deferred payment LC structure against an Iraqi bank’s risk.
Standard Chartered’s international investment in cash management technology further benefited Middle East clients, with new systems to improve real-time visibility of transactions, for example. A recent mandate to install 60 technologically advanced on-site cash-deposit machines in the UAE for supermarket chain Spinneys is more evidence of its clients’ appreciation for its products.
The bank can point to a long list of client-specific achievements in 2017 in cash management and payments, from the Dubai consumer goods and cables sectors, to firms in fuel retailing in Jordan, aluminium manufacturing in Bahrain and gas transportation in Oman.