Trade finance survey: Asian banks hold their own

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This year, Euromoney's survey better highlights the ability of Asian banks to meet their clients’ needs.

By Morgan Davis

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Asia results
Measuring a bank’s success is not a fixed science. Banks put forward their favoured numbers to support their claim to be the best, such as deal volume, total assets under management or overall bank size. But the subjective ability of a client to recommend their bank to others speaks volumes.


This year, Asiamoney asked trade finance clients how they rated their banks, and their responses show just how important some Asian banks have become.

At the end of 2018, sister magazine Euromoney asked more than 7,000 consumers of trade finance services from 89 countries to rank and assess their top providers domestically, regionally and globally. The respondents rated their providers’ products and services on a scale ranging from ‘unsatisfactory’ to ‘exceptional’.

In the questionnaire, respondents were asked to rank the importance of products and services – such as letters of credit, compliance and due diligence, as well as digital trade finance capabilities – in selecting their main trade finance provider. They were also given the opportunity to examine the execution of their trade finance services, with a closer look at areas including pricing, support and advisory services.

For the first time, Asiamoney has separated out the Asian responses from the Euromoney survey and excluded the international banks to better highlight the ability of Asian banks to meet their clients’ needs. 

Asian trade is global so international banks still often dominate the industry in the region. The likes of HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered topped many of the Asian respondents’ lists. But local banks are increasingly making a name for themselves and proving their value to clients.

Customer satisfaction

In some countries, the customer satisfaction (CSAT) rankings of Asiamoney’s survey are not surprising. In China, for instance, Bank of China was voted the best regional bank for services, having been ranked third out of all banks, behind Deutsche and HSBC. BoC’s Hong Kong branch was similarly ranked the top bank for Hong Kong.

For most of the CSAT winners, the top Asia bank for services generally serves a specific country: HDFC was voted best Indian bank, Metrobank was named number one in the Philippines and CIMB was the dominant name in Malaysia. But there were also some surprising examples of cross-border appeal. For example, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank was chosen as the leading bank in Thailand, beating global banks HSBC and Deutsche, as well as familiar Thai options.

In the market leaders category, some regional banks outperformed their international peers. Hatton National Bank beat HSBC and Deutsche, in that order, to be ranked the top bank for services in Sri Lanka. Vietnamese clients also favoured local banks for their trade finance services, picking HD Bank as their country best, followed by HSBC and Vietcombank.

In Singapore, local powerhouse DBS Bank was named the best regional bank for services, while also being the third best bank overall – behind HSBC and Standard Chartered – of the leading global firms for the city state.

Taiwan told a similar story in market leaders: Fubon Bank beat the competition in Asia and was second overall only to HSBC.