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  December 16th, 2015 | Written by

Top Banks For Global Trade

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  • 25 Financial Institutions Best Suited To Help U.S. #Exporters Do Business #Internationally

What’s the most important thing about your export program? Getting paid, of course—but there’s so much more that goes into financing your entire supply chain. These banks can help. We’ve selected 25 banks that, in most cases, boast some of the highest assets under management and have strong export services. Many are award winners, some are technology leaders, but all can boost your bottom line by intelligently managing the financial aspect of your global business.

AMERICAN EXPRESS | HQ: New York City | Assets: $154.22 billion

“Exporting represents a $928 billion opportunity for U.S. mid-sized companies over the next 10 years, yet only 5 percent of middle market firms currently trade internationally,” says Ed Marsh, American Express export advisor. “With recent policy changes lowering trade barriers—and technology reducing the complexity and cost of connecting with international customers—global markets are even more accessible.” American Express recently introduced a suite of free resources, such as workshops, insight guides and one-on-one connections with experienced exporters through its Grow Global program. One major program goal is to help address such common concerns as the cost to get up and running, whether the exporters can safely get paid if foreign exchange is risky and how they can increase revenue, he says.

Services: American Express also provides financial services for exporters such as its vPayment service. Aimed at exporters who need to pay vendors, this single-use account payment solution enables users to assign a unique account number to each transaction, allowing them the option to authorize each transaction to reduce fraud. In addition, American Express’ FX International Payments, an online platform, allows businesses to send, receive and manage their foreign currency wire payments.

ANZ IN THE USA | HQ: Melbourne, Australia | Assets: $435 billion | Locations: Offices in 33 countries, with one in the U.S.

ANZ, an investment bank, specializes in advising major companies, institutions and governments. The New York office works as an offshore partner with these clients, supporting trade and investment between U.S. clients with Australia, New Zealand and Asia partners.

Services: asset and capital solutions; export finance; debt syndication and bilateral loans; foreign exchange, currency options and structured credit derivatives; interest rate risk management; international trade finance; structured finance

BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH | HQ: New York City | Assets: $2.144 trillion | Locations: 4,700 U.S. retail financial centers

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s CashPro Trade Platform allows users to manage their export business around the globe. One feature enables users to get paid more quickly through invoice discounting solutions. TradePro, part of CashPro, enables exporters to track invoices that are maturing through its Trade Calendar. The bank, which has won numerous awards for its exporter-focused services, also provides customized trade finance solutions.

Services: document presentation and payment; letter of credit confirmations; receivables finance; structured trade finance; bank payment obligations

BB&T | HQ: Winston-Salem, North Carolina | Assets: $208.8 billion |Locations: 2,150 financial centers in 15 states and Washington, D.C.

BB&T has a robust array of digital tools, offering online management of international transactions through BB&T’s online TradeAssist platform. To freight forwarders, the bank also offers BB&T TradePartner, a service that provides guidance on handling international trade for its customers. BB&T SupplyChain360 lets customers and their partners view information during the various steps of the supply chain.

Services: documentary services; export credit insurance; export financing; foreign exchange; international treasury services; letters of credit; online Forex trading

(Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank) | BNP Paribas HQ: Paris | Assets: $2.2 billion (BNP Paribas) | Locations: 735 retail locations between Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank

QUICK CASH Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s CashPro Trade Platform allows users to get paid more quickly through invoice discounting solutions.
QUICK CASH Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s CashPro Trade Platform allows users to get paid more quickly through invoice discounting solutions.

BNP Paribas, a giant global bank, owns BancWest Corp., a holding corporation for Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank. Bank of the West provides a variety of export-related services, including banking services in the Pacific Rim. Bank of the West also offers advisory services to exporters.

Services: authorizations to pay suppliers; documentary collections; export letters of credit; foreign accounts receivable insurance; international financing through BNP Paribas; online letters of credit and direct collections; short-term advances known as FastPay to bridge gaps in cash flow; transferrable letters of credit; wire transfers

BNY MELLON | HQ: New York City | Assets: $395.3 billion | Locations: 132 in U.S.

BNY Mellon’s Trade Technologies’ Global Trade Management platform offers clients use of web-based letters of credit, purchase order reporting and web-based imaging. The platform enables BNY Mellon to digitally receive and verify original documents presented under letters of credit for Uniforms Customs and Practice (UCP) 600 compliance. The bank can also receive original open account documentation and other original trade documents. The aim is to lower transaction costs, enhance reporting and accelerate international payments.

Services: web-based letters of credit and purchase order reporting

CALIFORNIA BANK AND TRUST | HQ: San Diego | Assets: $11.9 billion | Locations: More than 95 statewide

California Bank and Trust provides its customers access to an international banking group staffed by seasoned bankers. It offers help in analyzing clients’ international trading potential, managing risk, accelerating cash flow, improving profits and reducing costs.

Services: balance reporting; documentary collections; Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) programs; foreign exchange services and contracts; letters of credit; short-term buyer financing; SBA export loans

CITIGROUP | HQ: New York City | Assets: $1.9 trillion
Locations: About 3,280 branches worldwide

This giant bank offers a suite of products to exporters in its integrated trade platform, which includes services built around working capital, supply-chain management, trade services and export and agency finance products. It has also taken its services mobile. For instance, Citi Supplier Finance Mobile gives users real-time updates on their payments and discounts from a mobile device, to receivables financing to improve liquidity in the supply chain. On a global basis, Citi has partnered with more than 60 export credit agencies to provide financing to clients who want to expand into higher-risk markets and offer short-term financing to exporters.

Services: commodity trade finance; distribution finance; documentary collections; export and agency finance; insurance letters of credit; integrated payables solutions; letters of credit; trade finance; supplier finance

CITY NATIONAL BANK | HQ: Beverly Hills, California | Assets: $35.6 billion | Locations: 75 offices in Atlanta, Nashville, New York City and Nevada

For companies that want to export goods made in the U.S., City National Bank offers a working capital line of credit. Its programs offer financing for inventory purchases, production, materials and inventory, accounts receivable and revolving or transactional needs, such as purchasing finished products for export.

Services: bankers’ acceptance on exports; documentary collections; export receivable insurance; letters of credit; trade financing

DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST CO. AMERICAS | HQ: Frankfurt | Assets: $1.1 trillion
Locations: 2,792 branches around the world

Deutsche Bank operates a large, global network of offices which assist with trade finance, based in cities such as Frankfurt, London, New York and Singapore. The bank’s areas of expertise include management and processing of domestic and cross-border payments, professional risk mitigation for international trade and liability management. It offers a single platform for all of a client’s online banking activities around the world.

Services: banker’s acceptance; card solutions; channel and information solutions; financial supply chain solutions; liquidity management solutions; trade solutions such as trade reimbursements; transaction solutions; wholesale solutions in the Americas, Asia -Pacific and Europe

EAST WEST BANK | HQ: Pasadena, California | Assets: $30 billion (East West Bancorp) Locations: 130 locations worldwide

Among other trade finance servicers, East West Bank provides export financing to U.S. manufacturers using government export credit agencies that include the Ex-Im Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China, and its network of foreign credit insurance agencies. The bank can also facilitate export trade settled in renminbi, and finance exporters that need renminbi working capital for operating in China.

Services: pre-export financing; export financing through Ex-Im Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China, and the bank’s network of foreign credit insurance agencies; letters of credit

FIFTH THIRD BANK | HQ: Cincinnati | Assets: $142 billion
Locations: 1,300 branches

The Fifth Third Global Trade Direct secure internet portal enables clients to manage their letters of credit, documentary collections and other export activity online. Foreign exchange is a particular specialty. The bank says it has one of the largest trading desks in North America.

Services: bankers’ acceptances; documentary collections; letters of credit; pre- and post-export financing

HUNTINGTON | HQ: Columbus, Ohio | Assets: $70 billion | Locations: More than 700 locations

Huntington has a long track record of working with exporters and won the prestigious President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service in 2013. This award, presented by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, recognized the bank’s development of creative financing solutions for exporters and work with regional business and trade promotion groups. The bank’s free Economic Outlook reports can be a helpful resource for exporters looking for insights to what is ahead in their markets.

Services: credit insurance; documentary collection; export financing; foreign buyer finance; international cash letters and check collection; letters of credit

HSBC BANK USA | HQ: London | Assets: $190.5 billion | Locations: 232 branches in U.S.

When a toy manufacturer that had recently developed a hot new Internet game got a very large order from a big but unfamiliar company in South America, HSBC sprang into action, providing financing after the client signed a letter of credit. For another client, a maker of draperies that got an order from Walmart in Canada, HSBC did the same. Requests like these are common for the global bank, which has outposts in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, according to Mark Luppi, the bank’s head of business banking. “HSBC is 100 percent focused on companies that do cross-border business,” he says.

Services: currency exchange; documentary collections; letters of credit; wire transfers; working capital loans; wire transfers from clients’ computers through

J.P. MORGAN CHASE AND CO. | HQ: New York City | Assets: $2.4 trillion | Locations: 5,400 branches in U.S.

J.P. Morgan Chase has long been committed to global trade. In one recent initiative, it funded the Exchange, a network that helps metropolitan leaders put innovative global strategies to work. The Exchange is part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project with the Brookings Institution. The bank has brought its services into the digital era with tools such as Trade Channel, a web-based, trade transaction management platform which helps exporters manage purchase orders, payments and more. Trade Channel is designed to speed payment cycles.

Services: bank-to-bank reimbursements; bank payment obligation; document preparation; export finance; letters of credit; open account processing; private sector insurance; supply chain finance; various trade-related loans

SETTLE IN EUROPE Headquartered in Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank expertise includes management and processing of domestic and cross-border payments, professional risk mitigation for international trade and liability management.
SETTLE IN EUROPE Headquartered in Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank expertise includes management and processing of domestic and cross-border payments, professional risk mitigation for international trade and liability management.

M&T BANK | HQ: Buffalo, New York | Assets: $97.1 billion | Locations: More than 650 branches, mostly in northeast U.S. and Toronto, Canada.

M&T Bank—awarded the Presidential “E” Award for excellence in international trade—is active in working with the government to encourage exporting. M&T Bank and PNC Bank have partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service in Turkey to help U.S. firms go after business in the country. Trade and project financing can be hard to come by in the country, with Turkish banks sometimes reluctant to lend, according to M&T Bank is also very active in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a large producer of loans to foreign buyers supporting U.S. exporters, according to

Services: export credit insurance; documentary collections; financing to international buyers of U.S-exported capital equipment and services; foreign deposited checks; letters of credit; working capital financing

PNC BANK | HQ: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Assets: $362 billion | Locations: About 2,600 locations in 19 states and the District of Columbia and one commercial branch in Canada

PNC is a heavy user of two of Ex-Im Bank programs—specifically the Working Capital Guarantee program and the Medium Term Insurance program. The bank has received the Presidential “E” Award for excellence in exporting, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is also a founding stockholder in Private Export Funding Corp. (PEFCO), a private organization that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports.

Services: banker’s acceptance financing; documentary collections; financing for importers of American-made equipment, machinery and services; foreign exchange; letters of credit, regulatory and compliance assistance, trade finance

REGIONS | HQ: Birmingham, Alabama | Assets: $125 billion | Locations: 1,630 branches in 16 states in the Southeast

Regions offers global trade specialists throughout the Southeast and historically has been one of the most active Ex-Im Bank lenders in the U.S. and is a top issuer of letters of credit. Working with the U.S. Small Business Administration, its branches have offered Export Working Capital Financing.

Services: collections; letters of credit; foreign exchange; post-export financing; treasury management and global payments; working capital financing

SAFRA NATIONAL BANK OF NEW YORK | HQ: New York City | Assets: More than $13 billion | Locations: Safra banks are in 156 locations around the world.

This private bank is affiliated with Banco Safra SA, a large private bank in Brazil. It serves individuals who have a high net worth, large businesses and international corporations—providing a full array of trade-financing services to customers.

Services: documentary collections; import, export and forfeit financing; letters of credit; performance and bid bonds

SANTANDER BANK | HQ: Madrid | Assets: $80.47 billion | Locations: More than 670 branches in northeast U.S.

Santander has an International Desk Team located in 14 major markets. These bankers support their clients’ needs in their local markets, helping them navigate the regulatory and financial systems, arranging introductions to their network of third-party accounting and legal professionals, and helping them establish their overseas banking and business processes.

The bank has developed a Trade Portal that helps exporters navigate: where to trade, which trading partners to work with, how to connect with suppliers and importers, how to execute as an exporter and how to get established overseas. The portal provides access to more than 40 worldwide databases, market intelligence on 185 countries and information about more than 150,000 suppliers and importers.

Services: banker’s acceptance financing; documentary collections; letters of credit; open account; receivables discounting; standby letters of credit; structured trade loans

SILICON VALLEY BANK | HQ: Santa Clara, California | Assets: $42 billion
Locations: 34 offices around the world, including six branch offices

Located in the nation’s innovation hub, Silicon Valley Bank has a particular expertise in working with high-growth companies. The bank is active in international trade financing and was named Lender of the Year by the Ex-Im Bank in 2011.
Services: currency exchange; documentary collections; international trade financing; letters of credit

STANDARD CHARTERED | HQ: London | Assets: $33 billion
Locations: 4 in the U.S.

This international bank earns 90 percent of its income and profits in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Its clients have access to more than 25 international export credit and multilateral agencies, such as Sinosure from China, K-sure and Kexim from Korea, and the Ex-Im Bank.

Services: bank line discounting; credit bills negotiation; document preparation; export bills for collection; export invoice financing; letters of credit; pre-shipment export financing

SUNTRUST | HQ: Atlanta | Assets: $189 billion
Locations: 425 retail branches

SHRINKING THE WORLD Banking services such as those offered through American Express’ Grow Global program are making international trade easier by simplifying the payment process.
SHRINKING THE WORLD Banking services such as those offered through American Express’ Grow Global program are making international trade easier by simplifying the payment process.

Recent SunTrust research found that more than 17 percent of businesses plan to enter or expand into international markets in the next five years. SunTrust, a regional bank, has positioned itself to serve those businesses in the states where it has branches: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Relationship managers in the branches offer guidance to export clients on the product and services available to meet their needs. “It’s going to depend on the exporter, what their strategy is,” says Susanne Keough, head of Global Trade Solutions. “We listen to what the company’s objectives are.”

Services: currency exchange; documentary collections; letters of credit; wire transfers; working capital loans; loans directly to foreign buyers

U.S. BANCORP | HQ: Minneapolis | Assets: $416 billion
Locations: 3,151 banking offices in 25 states

The U.S. Bank Global Trade Service helps exporters automate many aspects of trade finance, such as letters of credit and documentary collections. The platform enables users to mine their own trade data and perform a detailed analysis of transaction-related data.

Services: approved payables financing; bank-assisted open account; banker’s acceptances; documentary collections; insured loans; letters of credit; pre-export finance solutions; receivables purchase facilities

WELLS FARGO | HQ: San Francisco | Assets: $1.8 trillion | Locations: 8,700 locations in 36 countries

When a leading processor and manufacturer of scrap metal, recycled auto parts, and finished steel products began exporting to India for the first time in several years, it turned to Wells Fargo for a low-cost way to extend its payment terms with its buyers. The Wells Fargo team met with the company’s buyers in India to present a Usance Letter of Credit Payable at Sight (UPAS) structure for the transactions. The UPAS solution enabled the buyers to extend their payment terms to 180 days and receive a lower interest rate than is available through banks in India, while still providing the exporter with full payment up front for each transaction.

Wells Fargo has racked up numerous accolades for its services—winning Global Finance magazine’s “Best Trade Finance Bank in the U.S.” award for 2014 and 2015 and The Asian Banker’s “Best International Trade Finance Bank in Asia Pacific.” The bank continues to add new offerings. For instance, it now provides electronic presentations of export documents through its TradeXchange service, as well as various third-party platforms, notes Daniel Son, head of the bank’s U.S. Trade Division. “Wells Fargo also offers mobile offerings through our Front Office solution, TradeXchange,” says Son, noting that allows customers a secure way to view key trade transaction information from their smartphones. Mobile TradeXchange is accessible through CEO Mobile, Wells Fargo’s free mobile banking service, which runs on web-enabled smartphones with data plans.

Services: credit facilities; currency exchange; documentary collections; letters of credit; open account programs; receivables processing; structured financing; trade and supply chain financing; wire transfers

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