• Innovation

How AI optimises international trade finance

Financial exchanges in international trade are still largely dependent on paper. To provide our clients with solutions that meet the highest market standards, BNP Paribas Trade Finance launched a programme using Artificial intelligence to streamline the processing of Trade Finance documents and improve traceability for its clients.

Facilitating and securing international trade

More than 80% of international trade in goods occurs by sea, and multiple risks are involved: non-payment, non-delivery, country risks, quality, etc. The purpose of trade finance is to address such risks by involving banks, acting as a trusted partner between the buyer and the seller, who may have diverging interests.

Trade Finance, a core activity for BNP Paribas

Trade Finance anchors on three domains of expertise: guarantees, documentary credit and short-term financing. These are crucial for facilitating international trade and supporting the global economy, fostering trust among buyers and sellers.

In particular, documentary credit, through a range of means of payment and financing, contributes to creating the trust that players need to carry out international trade operations with complete peace of mind. However, the activity remains heavily reliant on paper and must accelerate its digital transformation.

An innovative programme integrating AI to streamline international trade processes

A frontrunner in Trade Finance, BNP Paribas has initiated an innovative programme integrating AI and machine learning to streamline traditional processes and change the game. The programme encompasses innovative solutions to speed up data processing times, improve traceability at every stage of import-export transactions, and enhance customer autonomy.

Using OCR (optical recognition) and artificial intelligence, data identification and capture are automated and accelerated, and operations are processed much faster. Equally important, compliance checks – including anti-money laundering - are considerably enhanced due to the programme.

The artificial intelligence solution deployed by Trade Finance is already operational in 15 countries, and nearly 40,000 transactions have been processed since its launch in 2022
“The tools we have implemented help increase the processing speed of documentary credit operations while reducing risks of error through the manual handling of data. It’s only the beginning and we expect more exponential improvements. Another positive effect of the new programme is that our teams can more than ever focus on customers and relationships with correspondent banks”.

Frédéric Zeegers 

Head of Global Trade Solutions - BNP Paribas Fortis

Documentary credit: impressive figures

Vital for international trade and the global economy, documentary credit uses masses of documents. At BNP Paribas, almost 1,000,000 printed documents relating to international transactions are processed every year. Alone, a documentary credit consists of up to 100 pages of printed, signed and stamped documents that must be processed by the BNP Paribas operations teams. 

BNP Paribas Trade Finance, a European and global leader

The leadership and success of Trade Finance at BNP Paribas rests on a four-pillar model:

  1.  A global network covering 65 countries and a dedicated advisory team drawing from a solid experience in signing complex deals and successfully implementing multiple transactions worldwide. We also rely on BNP Paribas One Bank setup that translates into the same level of excellence, commitment, expertise and values wherever we operate
  2. Local expertise and field knowledge, with more than 350 experts (200 in Europe and the Middle East, 50 in the Americas, 100 in Asia-Pacific)
       #1 in large European corporates with 34% market penetration and #1 in France and Belgium
       #3 in large Asian corporates with a 40% market penetration
  3. Long lasting support from the Bank to continually improve client journeys and innovate
  4. A responsible approach that fully encompasses compliance requirements, with sustainability at the heart of our approach and solutions

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