BEST GLOBAL BANKS
There’s no doubt that America exporters are feeling optimistic. In its second annual Grow Global survey, American Express recently found that 92 percent of U.S. small and mid-sized (SMEs) enterprises that export see international markets as a significant growth opportunity. The exporters had revenue between $250,000 and $1 billion. A whopping 77 percent remain confident that sales outside the U.S. will increase in the next year.
Of course, to take advantage of such opportunities, exporters need an experienced banking partner. Here are 25 banks of all sizes with a robust array of export services.
AMERICAN EXPRESS americanexpressgrowglobal.com | HQ: New York City | Assets: $148.52 billion
American Express has made a strong commitment to global trade. One example is its Grow Global program, which brings together global trade experts, exporting officials and business leaders to aid U.S. small and middle market companies in expanding globally. At one Grow Global event in Miami this past spring, attendees could participate in “Global Connections,” which included mentorship roundtables on a range of exporting topics, getting advice from agents, distributors, government and industry officials, and business leaders who are successfully exporting their goods and services.
AmEx’s Global Commercial Payments division offers a variety of payment and lending products to help exporters with travel and everyday business spending, cross-border payments, global currency solutions and business financing. Among AmEx’s offerings are its vPayment service, where users get a single-use virtual account number that they can use to pay suppliers electronically; FX International Payments, an American Express online platform that lets businesses send, receive and manage their foreign currency wire payments; and Buyer Initiated Payments, which lets companies pay suppliers electronically and helps them extend their working capital.
BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH bofaml.com | HQ: New York City | Assets: USD$ 2,271 trillion
Among the big global banks, Bank of America Merrill Lynch aims to stand apart by applying dedicated resources from its Global Trade Finance team to support mid-sized companies with programs such as supply chain financing. Bank officials note that the mid-size market has tremendous growth potential, experiencing 6.7 percent revenue growth over the past 12 months, according to the National Center for The Middle Market, 2Q-2017. However, they point out, there is a greater need for better financing alternatives for mid-size companies down the supply chain than large corporates. There is also a greater need to assist mid-size companies in international markets, such as China and India, they note, and point out that mid-sized companies are hardest hit by the trade finance gap (per the International Chamber of Commerce [ICC] 2016 Global Trade and Finance Survey).
To meet the demand, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has doubled the number of programs in the middle market over the past two years, with buyers and suppliers transacting in over 50 countries. This has not gone unnoticed: Middle market clients recognized the bank for three years in a row (2014, 2015 and 2016) as a Best Brand in Trade Finance in the independent Greenwich Best Brand Poll.
BARCLAYS bbt.com | HQ: London | Assets: $1.5 trillion
Operating in 40 countries, this London-based bank offers a full array of services to those who hope to branch out from U.S. markets. The bank offers trade solutions such as financing, letters of credit, a letters of credit discounting service that speeds payments from customers, trade collections, trade finance—including export credit agency financing—and trade loans. The bank also offers bonds and guarantees. A global trade portal enables customers to manage their trading activities online. Barclays has a location in New York City that serves the U.S. export market.
BB&T bbt.com | HQ: Winston-Salem, North Carolina | Assets: $221.2 billion (2016)
With extensive experience in working with the Export Import Bank of the U.S. and the U.S. Small Business Administration, BB&T offers a range of programs to help exporters finance export sales, get protection against non-paying clients and use foreign receivables as collateral. The bank offers three kinds of export credit insurance: single-buyers export credit insurance, small business export credit insurance and multi-buyer credit insurance. Documentary services include export letters of credit and international standby letters of credit.
BNP PARIBAS (Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank) bankofthewest.com | BNP Paribas HQ: Paris | Assets (for BNP Paribas): $2.5 trillion
Giant global bank BNP Paribas–owner of BancWest Corp., a holding corporation for Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank–has a network of 100 trade centers in 60 countries, where exporters can work with International Service specialists who offer access to a full spectrum of international import and export services in many languages and currencies. One unique offering: A Trade Finance App that lets exporters manage international standby letters of credit and keep up with trade finance transactions. Through BNP Factoring, BNP offers factoring services, and the bank is a member of factoring networks Factors Chain International and International Factors Group, which offer factoring in a buyer’s country for exporters.
BNY MELLON bnymellon.com | HQ: New York City | Assets: $1.8 trillion
BNY Mellon offers a suite of trade finance and processing services to importers and exporters through more than 1,600 correspondent banks. It has a business presence on six continents, and correspondent bank relationships in 35 countries and more than 100 markets. It provides a wide range of trade finance mitigation services through nine trade processing centers around the world. Bank officials says they are committed to providing superior, personalized global trade services at competitive rates to exporters and importers worldwide.
BNY Mellon was established in 1784 and has provided trade support to corporations and financial institutions since the 1800s. It bills itself as the first bank to implement a full letter of credit relationship service and first to offer Internet-based client facing trade systems to initiate trade transactions and access reports, including document images. Bank officials say BNY Mellon offered the first web-enabled trade front office with multi-language capacity, the first web-based letter of credit and purchase order reporting, and the first web-based imaging. Today it remains a technology leader helping banks optimize and create efficiencies within trade finance to help lower cost and manage capital requirements via APIs and platform approaches, as well as applying emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI to trade finance.
CITIGROUP Citigroup.com | HQ: New York City | Assets: $1.9 trillion
Through Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, exports can tap into a comprehensive suite of trade services and finance products to facilitate commercial flows and finance supply chains. The global bank’s expertise includes trade finance, trade services, export and agency finance, trade working capital finance and commodity finance. The bank has deep knowledge of structuring complex and unique transactions and a vast global network of operating countries, with more than 600 dedicated trade professionals worldwide, in all major markets. Its syndication franchise has the ability to structure global and market leading trade finance transactions.
COMERICA BANK comerica.com | HQ: Dallas | Assets: $72 billion
Although Comerica is smaller than many of the banks on this year’s list, it is one of the top providers of letters of credit in the U.S. and a major lender for the Export-Import Bank of the United States Working Capital Guarantee Program. The bank provides working capital loans, foreign receivable financing, foreign receivable discounting and foreign buyer financing to exporters. The Comerica GlobalTRADE Web platform lets customers manage processes such as export letters of credit, standby letters of credit and documentary collections in real time.
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA commbank.com.au | USA HQ: New York City | Assets: $745 trillion USD
If you are looking to export to Australia or New Zealand, Commonwealth Bank of Australia could be a good bet. The bank works with U.S. clients who are hoping to expand their businesses to the region and offers foreign currency accounts, international money transfer, international trade finance for exporters and supply chain finance. Export services include export documentary collection, export documentary letter of credit and export finance without recourse, among other services. Commonwealth Bank has offices in both Houston and New York City.
DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST CO. AMERICAS gtb.db.com | HQ: Frankfurt | Assets: $1.8 trillion
With a fully integrated global Trade Finance network in more than 40 countries, Deutsche Bank offers a variety of services to help clients finance export activities and manage the risks of global trade. Its offerings include financial supply chain management, with products for pre- and post-shipment finance, confirmed payables, distributor finance and receivables finance. The bank also offers custom-made and performance-risk finance solutions for structured export and commodity trade finance; and guarantees. Among its documentary offerings are documentary or standby letters of credit and documentary collection.
It has strong bases in major emerging markets such as the Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. Services include advisory and distribution services, documentary collection, documentary remittances, financial supply chain solutions, letters of credit, standard remittances, structured commodity trade finance, syndicated trade loans and trade receivables finance.
EAST WEST BANK eastwestbank.com | HQ: Pasadena, California | Assets: More than $35 billion (East West Bancorp)
If you are looking to export to China, working with East West Bank is an option worth investigating. The bank, which has more than 130 locations worldwide, focuses on the U.S. and Greater China markets. It has a presence in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Texas and Washington. In Greater China, East West runs full service branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shantou and Shenzhen, and representative offices in Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Taipei and Xiamen. Solutions for exporters include pre-export financing, export letters of credit and export acceptance financing. The bank works with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the Export-Import Bank of China and a network of foreign credit insurance agencies.
FIFTH THIRD BANK 53.com | HQ: Cincinnati | Assets: $141 billion
For exporters based in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina, Fifth Third Bank is a convenient source of pre- and post-export financing, including purchase of insured receivables. It also offers internal expertise in agency finance. Fifth Third Bank works with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., Export Development (Canada), the International Finance Corp., the Inter-American Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
HSBC BANK USA us.hsbc.com | HQ: London | Assets: $197.9 billion
Through HSBC’s offices in markets around the world, exporters can access export collections and export letters of credit solutions, export finance solutions and foreign exchange service. The bank was recognized as Best Export Finance Bank for borrowers in the Trade Finance Magazine Awards 2017. HSBC offers international business guarantees to make transactions safer, among them advance payment guarantees, which are used when you require a sum of money at an early stage of the contract. They enable your customer to recover some or all of the money that is advanced if you fail to meet your contractual obligations. With HSBC’s Import Export Smartforms, both exporters and importers can expedite trades by downloading and completing forms for common transactions, such as a request for a letter of credit, from HSBC’s site.
HUNTINGTON BANCSHARES huntington.com | HQ: Columbus, Ohio | Assets: $102 billion
Midwestern exporters looking for a local partner may find Huntington—a past recipient of the President’s “E” Award for export service excellence—worth considering. Huntington’s team of trade service professionals offer exporters expertise on EXIM Bank Working Capital guaranteed finance and foreign buyer finance, international cash letters and check collection, credit insurance, letters of credit and documentary collection. The bank has a presence in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
ING ingwb.com | HQ: Amsterdam | Assets: $1 trillion
Global Finance magazine chose ING as Best Bank in the World for 2017. With offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and New York, ING’s Financial Services Division includes a specialized lending arm that offers structured finance products to clients in industries such as utilities, natural resources, telecom and media. Its offerings include structured export finance. One key area of expertise is structuring export finance in countries where long-term borrowing may be difficult or costly with risk mitigation and those in which projects involve exports and/or investments from more than one country.
J.P. MORGAN CHASE AND CO. jpmorgan.com | HQ: New York City | Assets: $2.6 trillion
Through its Global Trade program, JPMorgan Chase & Co. offers a variety of solutions to exporters. For those seeking traditional products and services, the bank offers letters of credit, provides guarantees, facilitates trade document collection and can help automate manual processes through local bankers. Supply chain finance programs are designed to help exporters strengthen supplier relationships and secure supplies of key materials while improving working capital performance, optimize financing costs, strategically manage increasing sales volumes, and gain greater visibility into transactions via its proprietary platform. Other export finance options include export credit agency and multilateral-backed financing; medium- and long-term finance structures; syndicated, medium- and long-term trade-related loans and access to the Working Capital Guarantee Program/Export-Import Bank financing.
KEYBANK key.com | HQ: Cleveland | Assets: $135 billion
With a team of international financing specialists on staff, Keybank offers a robust array of services to exporters. The bank has “Delegated Lending Authority” status from EXIM Bank, expediting the lending process for those seeking working capital. Exporters can connect their clients with a customized financing package for the buyer with export credit insurance from EXIM Bank. The bank also offers international collections, a training and consulting program to help exporters spot and take advantage of market opportunities, letters of credit, multi-currency accounts and structured trade finance.
PNC BANK pnc.com | HQ: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Assets: $369 billion (2016)
PNC Bank has deep experience in working with the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., assembling financing packages for exporters that include needed insurance. PNC’s Trade Services team helps clients optimize working capital, improve cash flow access and liquidity, mitigate risk, grow international sales and choose the right currency for trading. Its offerings include export letters of credit, export documentary collections service and foreign exchange. PNC customers have access to its Global Trade Excellence service to initiate transactions and automate reporting for letters of credit, documentary collections and acceptance transactions—a time-saver when it comes to record keeping.
SANTANDER BANK santanderbank.com | HQ: Boston | Assets: $78 billion
With a strong presence as a retail and commercial bank in 10 core markets across Western Europe, Latin America and the U.S., Santander Bank offers both on-the-ground expertise and global services to exporters. Santander also offers a suite of market research and business networking solutions to support companies’ international expansion. The Santander Trade Portal provides corporations with access to trending market insights and business opportunities. The Trade Club allows users to connect with each other based on listed business interests, while the Trade Network provides companies with a platform to search for and connect with local market entry experts in a particular country of interest. The bank regularly provides live webinars to users who may be interested in hearing from its economist in Mexico, for instance. SantanderTrade.com offers free trials offering access to its Trade Portal, Trade Network and webinars.
STANDARD CHARTERED sc.com | HQ: London | Assets: £657.6 million
Standard Chartered Americas, through its corporate and institutional banking business, provides financial products and services to multi-national corporations, financial institutions and development organizations. Bank officials say they take pride in their ability to bridge the physical distance between Americas-based clients looking to expand into and across the markets where it has a presence and vice versa. Its fully licensed presence in Brazil, for example, offers Latin American expertise for clients seeking access into the region and across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Standard Chartered provides a range of transaction banking, lending, financial markets and corporate finance products and solutions. Owing to synergies between product groups, the bank can help clients operate and trade globally by serving multiple markets, officials say. Clients work with a dedicated relationship manager who helps them tap into the bank’s deep industry expertise as well as its “one-bank” model, through which the bank hopes to serve all of their banking needs.
SUNTRUST suntrust.com | HQ: Atlanta | Assets: $208 billion
Looking for a bank that knows how to put SBA loan programs to work for exporters? SunTrust–a preferred lender in the SBA’s Export Working Capital Program–is worth considering. For three consecutive years, the U.S. Small Business Administration chose SunTrust Export Lender of the Year for providing working capital loans to U.S. exporters. As a preferred lender, SunTrust makes Export Express loans to exporters who have been in operation for at least one year and meet other SBA eligibility rules. Other offerings include export letters of credit, standby letters of credit and documentary collections.
TD Bank, N.A. | HQ: Cherry Hill, N.J. | Assets: $964.72 billion (for Toronto-Dominion Bank)
TD Bank is a subsidiary of the Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada. It offers a variety of global trade finance products and services for businesses, government agencies and institutions. Among its offerings are import letters of credit, export letters of credit, documentary collections, standby letters of credit, structured trade finance, and bankers’ acceptance. The bank works with export credit agencies, such as Export Import Bank of the U.S., to reduce risk. Exporters can arrange short- and medium-term facilities in conjunction with the bank’s syndications/trading desks to provide clients with a favorable structure, tailored to market conditions.
U.S. BANCORP usbank.com | HQ: Minneapolis | Assets: $464 billion
As the fifth largest bank in the country, U.S. Bank is a leading provider of international trade and foreign exchange services to corporations and financial institutions across the country. The bank has a full array of comprehensive financing and depository options, treasury management tools, investment banking capabilities and corporate trust services. In addition to traditional trade finance tools, U.S. Bank also provides supply chain financing capabilities that are designed to manage liquidity, increase cash conversion cycles, maximize payment processing and optimize working capital efficiencies. U.S. Bank is a leader in financial services innovation and is actively involved in initiatives to drive digitization of trade and develop new client solutions based on distributed ledger technology.
WELLS FARGO wellsfargo.com | HQ: San Francisco | Assets: $1.9 trillion
Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo now has a presence in 42 countries. The bank’s international trade specialists provide access to letters of credit, documentary collections and open account programs that offer an alternative to letters of credit. The bank’s CEO Trade online trade platform helps clients to reduce costs and increase efficiencies on letters of credit and documentary collections.
The bank continues to rack up awards for its service to those involved in global trade. It was selected Best Trade Finance Bank in North America (2016) by Global Finance magazine, Distinguished Provider for USD Global Transaction Services for five years (2013–2017) by FImetrix Global Stats and No. 1 in Overall Institutional Satisfaction among Global Financial Institutions (2016) by FImetrix Global Stats. Middle-market firms may find it helpful to note the bank was recently ranked tops in total middle market banking share in the U.S. by Barlow Research Middle Market, based on rolling data.
WESTERN ALLIANCE BANCORPORATION westernalliancebancorporation.com | HQ: Phoenix | Assets: $19 billion
Among the fastest-growing bank holding companies in the U.S., Western Alliance Bancorporation, through main subsidiary Western Alliance Bank, operates several full-service banking divisions: Alliance Bank of Arizona, Bank of Nevada, Bridge Bank, First Independent Bank and Torrey Pines Bank. One strength is its manufacturing and distribution expertise, available through its geographically managed manufacturing and distribution lending groups.
Local bankers offer a full complement of deposit, lending, treasury management, international banking and online banking products and services. Other services include documentary collections, EXIM Bank Guaranteed Working Capital Lines of Credit, foreign currency wires, foreign exchange hedging, standby and commercial letters of credit, pre-export financing and revolving lines of credit.