The global financial crisis triggered many changes to the world’s financial system, including the ascension of alternative finance: financial channels, sources and instruments that exist beyond the traditional. Spurred on by the capital needs of fast-growing small and medium-sized firms and prospective real-estate buyers, alternative finance has mushroomed over the past 10 years into a multi-faceted, ever-evolving financial powerhouse capable of overcoming barriers to obtaining finance.
Banks were created to work for and on behalf of their customers, and by staying true to that purpose, they earned their customers’ trust that they placed the financial interests of consumers at the centre of their operations. Over time, and partly due to financial crises, that trust has been eroded, and only a root-and-branch reform will recreate the societal purpose on which ethical banking was founded.
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
The expression “What goes around comes around” applies to banks, but in a positive way, especially when they support the small businesses in their communities by increasing access to capital. OPIC can testify to such a phenomenon in the West Bank, which witnessed an economic turn-around at many levels following the US development-finance institution’s loan guaranty to a small-business-lending facility Middle East Investment Initiative.
There are an estimated 4.5 million SMEs in the UK – accounting for 99.9% of private sector business. By anyone’s standards, that’s a significant potential market. But, providing excellent service to SME customers is an opportunity too often overlooked by the major banks
Trade is the growth engine that empowers the world’s economies. Although circumstances such as the shortage of available trade finance to SMEs limit its operation, other factors such as technology, global governance and education are energizing its transformation into a vehicle carrying the world on an exciting journey toward shared global prosperity.
Traditionally, banks have provided up to 80% of the financing for the trading of commodities worldwide. However, since the financial crisis, an increase in regulation and accountability has forced many banks to repair their balance sheets, tighten their credit policy and adhere to a more punishing regulatory environment.