Founded in 2015, Graham Bright who is the Head of Compliance & Operations at Euro Exim Bank Limited. It is a growing innovative financial institution, facilitating global trade, with Head Office in St. Lucia and Representative Office in London. We are delighted to share this exclusive conversation between Swiftnlift Business Magazine and Euro Exim Bank for our readers.
Tell us about your company. Its vision and mission.
In today’s rapidly growing international markets and expanding global hubs, trade finance continues to play a strategic role in the flow and movement of goods and services.
Euro Exim Bank is an international financial institution, headquartered in Saint Lucia, with a Rep Office in London, serving import and export businesses around the globe. We facilitate authenticated trade finance instructions, with a core mission to become the de-facto global provider of trade services, with the most experienced sales team in the sector.
We specialize in connecting corporate buyers and sellers, enabling businesses to economically and efficiently export and import goods and services. We assist companies to fulfill their trade aspirations through financial instrument issuance (SWIFT MT700, MT710, MT760) and relay via correspondent institutions.
What were the constraints you faced at the time of inception?
In the beginning, we were intensely paper-based, depending on manual cycles with duplicated effort and tedious error-prone data entry. We required automation to determine these issues in the event that we were serious about being long-haul players.
With our quite certain business model, we searched for commercial software applications, both on-premises, and cloud-based, to suit our method of working as opposed to adjusting every one of our cycles to a specific product. Additionally, we didn’t need a toolkit, requiring onerous and exorbitant consultancy to tailor applications which would then require asset immoderate continuous maintenance.
Given our size and inner technical skills, we chose to construct, keep up and refine our own architecture – permitting us to overlook legacy offerings and to profit from a platform inserted with the most recent technologies, for example, blockchain, AI, and fast API linkages. Key learnings were to completely comprehend the market, find and train the opportune individuals, requiring some serious energy with characterizing technique and product configuration, doing strong research and adopting a deliberate strategy to all investments, and taking a gander at the genuine advantage of developments in regulation, compliance, and IT.
What are the services you provide, and the technologies used for that?
Trade Finance is the primary focus of our business model. With years of banking and specific trade finance experience and expertise, we provide an efficient and effective service facilitating cross-border trade for our global clients, with issuance and relay of
Letters of Credit, Stand-By Letters of Credit, Proof of Funds, RWA, Performance Bonds, and Bank Guarantees. We have developed our own platform for capture, workflow, and full end-to-end processing of trade instruments, complemented by commercial database offerings connected by industry-standard APIs.
We have also developed a merchant payment platform, Exim Wave, and looking at further products to assist in global finances and money transfer, again to facilitate safe, fast, trusted international payments from buyers to sellers, with secure account access available online with a 24×7 call center.
These services are underpinned with tight due diligence, AML, PEP and sanction, and security checks, supported by commercial software products from leaders in those fields.
How do you stand different than those who are already into this business?
The market is changing. Covid has forced major banks to re-think their international business, especially with reduced volumes, increased risk, heavy sector investment for smaller return, and non-productive business units in non-prime locations.
In addition to our speed of service, representation through agents and partners in 27 countries and range of products, one of EEB’s USP’s is participation with the Ripple xCurrent service for payments, and ODL for solving liquidity problems, switching from local currency to digital assets (XRP) and paying out in local currency at the receiver end.
This not just resolves the time issue of delivery and authenticity yet additionally tackles the issue of exchanging all through costly fiat currencies, for example, USD or EUR invalidating significant expenses and frequently wild money vacillations for little clients. These services are critical for economies in Africa, as cash-challenged companies no longer need to wait days for their money to traverse correspondent banks with associated funding and dispersal costs from local accounts.
Our competition is every bank in every jurisdiction offering credit and trade instruments to their clients across the globe. However, de-risking, new regulation, rules on collateral and capital adequacy, difficulties, and complexity in the documentation for import, sanctions, tariffs, and current transport restrictions have severely affected international trade and the desire of banks to service domestic companies wishing to embark on perceived and often not-substantiated high-risk ventures.
Major Banks typically require small importers to lock funds in escrow accounts for up to one year (110% of deal values), stifling cash flow and dramatically impeding their ability to compete effectively in international markets. Our approach is more considered, allowing us not only to stay in the game but to stay ahead also. We request appropriate collateral, standard processes for fast creation of instruments, working through experienced partners, enabling SMEs and corporates to take advantage of our experience to create risk-averse trading opportunities and revenue.
For EEB our key mission is to prioritize the technology opportunities, aligning the organization with their core competencies, activating merchant and offshore accounts, building market share, working with appropriate collateral, and ensuring sustainability. The Bank is committed and well-positioned to achieve this as the pre-eminent provider and facilitator of trade finance services going forward.
What is your strategy to reach customers?
With skilled marketing professionals, we are successfully navigating multiple media channels through leadership article content, exhibitions, conferences, TV and digital magazine representation, blogs, and email campaigns.
Whilst our marketing budgets are not unlimited, by considered placement, industry-centric information, and accessibility of our experienced management team, we have been able to build and maintain an enviable reputation for clarity, confidence, trust, and respect.
How do you manage to work into different sectors and what are the reasonable precautions you take while you process?
Our prime directive has always been to specialize in one sector, namely trade finance. Importantly we do not provide loans, deposits, mortgages, or other regular financial products more commonly offered in high-street retail operations. Also, taking a measured approach to all our projects, we do not attempt to compete in the very crowded and investment heavy payments markets, where any profit is driven by the need for high volume, but where high risk and low return are also key factors.
Where we have taken a position in payments is through our use of RippleNet, for clients requiring cost-effective FX and local to local currency payments.
As an immediate precaution, we do not use or advocate Cryptocurrency as an investible asset, i.e. like Bitcoin or Ethereum, but use the RippleNet network and messaging technology to enable client real-time settlement, negating currency fluctuation and risk.
Tell us about your team and its strength.
Our international teams of experts have years of banking, trade finance, and SWIFT experience of complex instruments and transacting via an extensive network of contacts and counterparties covering Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australasia, and South America.
Our rapidly expanding international offices support trade finance, bank guarantees, and advisory services, and we are extending our capabilities to provide credit and pre-paid card issuance, foreign exchange, and 3rd party transfer services, for full-service offerings to corporations, financial institutions, and limited companies.
How do you maintain confidentiality?
In our market sector, whilst much of the data is in the public domain (i.e. tenders, shipping, and container information) across geographies, regulations, and cultures, confidentiality remains key to our operating model.
From the very start of any client engagement through to project completion, we are mandated to protecting client data and identity, through managing internal access control, data storage, and information retention.
Training is a core component of engendering a consistent and managed culture of trust and confidence, with clear policies on how and when to interact with data and who has control and oversight.
What are your upcoming projects?
EEB stays focused on growing our deals and agent partner networks, banding together with banks assessing their long-term presence in the trade sector, and refining our offerings to help significantly more corporates as they endeavor to stay serious in worldwide business sectors. We are enhancing our Ai and blockchain technology integration, expanding our merchant account and card acceptance capabilities, and above all using our highly experienced IT teams to continue the development of our Simplex trade platform.
Tell us something about your achievements and recognition?
We have been recognized with a number of major industry awards, and recognized in such prestigious magazines as UK Parliamentary Review, International Finance, The European, CIO Review, World Business Review, European Business Magazine, The CEO Story CFI – with awards three years running, Silicon Review, Mirror Review, and featured in the world financial press.
We have been awarded the accolade ‘One of the 10 Best Fintech Solution Providers to Watch Out for’ in 2020, and are working with Lord John Waverley, Member of the UK House of Lords and UK trade delegations on an exciting trade project and platform named Supplyfinder, (www.Supplyfinder.com) covering tenders, connecting opportunities and players across the entire trade ecosystem.
*This interview is covered by Swiftnlift Business Magazine