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Banks push transaction banking outside core markets

Retrenchment from peripheral markets has been a trend for the past 10 years – but banks are now rediscovering the benefit of geographical diversification in transaction banking.


]It is a trend that has been the same for some time. Burnt by foreign investments and buried under heightened compliance and regulatory standards, American and European banks have scaled back global operations to focus on core markets – with a few exceptions, of course.

But at last there appears to be a new emerging trend: some banks are actually setting their sights in new markets, hoping to leverage strong transaction banking revenue in strategic and high-growth regions.

Standard Chartered, generally considered an emerging market bank, is due to roll out full-service cash management services by its subsidiaries in Europe in early 2020; Deutsche Bank is looking to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to bolster revenue; and Société Générale’s transaction banking business is gaining market share in Africa.

The latest results of the Coalition Index, which tracks the performance of the 12 largest investment banks globally, showed that revenues from transaction banking rose 9% in 2018 to $31.3 billion. Over the same period, investment banking revenue increased just 2% in 2018 to $21.4 billion.

Diane Reyes, global head of global liquidity and cash management at HSBC, points to the reliability and strength of transaction banking services – and the increased awareness of that within the banking community – and says that increasing trade and cash management product offerings across geographies is one way to overcome sluggish business in others.

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