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Tech investments bear fruit for global transaction banks

New data collected by business intelligence provider Coalition show that in 2018 global transaction banking recorded the highest revenues since 2010 – and bankers believe this is largely down to the fact that investment in tech is finally paying off.

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Revenues in both trade finance and cash management grew by 9% from $28.8 billion to $31.3 billion between year-end 2017 and 2018 for the top ten largest global transaction banks, according to research from Coalition.

The business intelligence provider tracked the performance of cash management and trade finance for the ten largest transaction banks globally – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan, Société Général, Standard Chartered and Wells Fargo.

Global transaction banks claim that investments in tech – including blockchain, application programming interfaces (APIs), artificial intelligence (AI) and process automation in various degrees – have transformed banks’ business models and are responsible for the strong revenue growth in 2018.

The reason behind the emphasis on tech? Competition. “Banks have had to step up their game because of competition from fintech companies,” says Jerry Norton, head of strategy, financial services business for CGI, based in London.

“And in 2018, we saw how their investments in the business – particularly in tech and innovation – paid off. It becomes a virtuous circle: the easier I make it to trade and transact, the more corporates will do so,” he says.

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