Though there are serious threats to global trade from potential trade wars, it continues to flow. Like clean drinking water, trade and the trade finance that secures it, are crucial to the health of the global economy and to that of individual nations. How can trade and trade finance be nurtured, especially in the face of costs and tensions that threaten to turn off the tap?
The scourge of financial crime is increasing. It’s being driven by organised crime rings, fuelled with billions of compromised data records, who are systematically and methodically targeting financial services firms with sophisticated application fraud attacks that use stolen or falsified identities in an effort to obtain new accounts.
SWIFT has a long history of enabling financial institutions to communicate with each other reliably and securely; thousands of banks use the SWIFT network for interbank messaging. Faced with the twin threats of intensifying cybercrime and growing compliance requirements, banks are scrambling to be secure and compliant while also profitable. SWIFT has developed robust financial-crime solutions that assist its members to comply with the gamut of regulations—from AML to KYC—profitably.
Whether traditional banks choose to embrace them or not, direct banks are here to stay and are seeing unprecedented growth. In the US, Direct banks are attracting new customers at an eight percent annual compounded growth rate in comparison to physical bank branches
Digitally native customers are driving banks to jump into the future by embracing technological breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation. And in the process, banks are discovering the many advantages of these innovations, from cutting down on costly human errors to improving everything from fraud management, operational efficiency and trading. As they progress through their digital evolutions, many are reinventing themselves for the better.
When A.G. Bell invented the telephone, he had no idea that less than a century and a half later, the phone would be used to talk through—and text, shop, even bank with. Smartphones are small enough to be held in one’s hand and big enough to handle nearly any function. How are banks making fraud-vulnerable processes such as onboarding fast, efficient and secure by verifying the identity of customers?
In spite of the recent rise of protectionism amongst major trade partners, international trade growth is strong, with emerging markets providing the main impetus. Trade growth could be even stronger if not for the shortfall in trade financing supply relative to demand, a gap that is partly due to regulation compliance. Technology is coming to the rescue, not only in addressing the trade finance gap but ameliorating operations throughout trade channels.
The rapid adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning in all corners of the financial sector, particularly in anti-money-laundering (AML) efforts, has excited and inspired onlookers and participants alike. But as with all innovations, there are pitfalls to unquestioning acceptance that can actually worsen the situations these technologies are meant to address. Human intelligence must work cooperatively and in the lead role alongside AI and ML to guarantee the best results.
It is becoming clear that trade digitisation has huge potential to unlock access to world trade for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The move away from laborious, manual, paper-based processes will lever simpler access to trade finance
It’s not news that many economies of the developing world face barriers to financial inclusion, making it difficult for citizens to both borrow and save; but the good news is that help has arrived in the linking of mobile payments with remittances. From sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America and the Caribbean, mobile money is bringing the previously underbanked into the fold.