Global Transaction Banking at UniCredit
An interview with Marco Bolgiani, Head of Global Transaction Banking, UniCredit
Why is global transaction banking so important? Why is it so important for UniCredit?
Transactional banking is important for us at UniCredit because it is important to our customers. Moreover GTB business is highly relevant because it is a growth business and involves few risk-weighted assets (RWA).
What is UniCredit’s global transaction banking strategy?
The core strategy in GTB is to serve customer commerce in the heart of Europe across a number of different product ranges. As one of the largest banks in Europe, our objective is to be the bank of choice for clients doing business in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe as well as in the Russian-speaking countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan). We have several unique and innovative solutions already fully used by many of our international clients. Our depth of experience, our proximity to clients in the 22 countries in which we operate and our ability to integrate solutions across the product set are key to our success. Our aim is to keep building on this reputation and continue to grow.
How is GTB viewed within your overall bank in terms of its importance and investment priorities?
GTB businesses have experienced a ‘renaissance’ of focus and investment across all client segments and business partners within the bank. This acknowledges that working capital management is a key client issue in need of servicing and development from a product point of view. Customers and Relationship Managers are enthusiastic about the necessity for these core operating products and additional investments are an organisational priority.
How well has your Global Transaction Banking business line been performing after the crisis?
Transaction processing volumes for the most part have proved quite resilient through the crisis, with some variations from product to product in different geographies. Trade Finance in particular has experienced more reliance on traditional trade finance mechanisms such as documentary letters of credit to finance trade flows, some of which were done on an open account basis in the pre-crisis environment. Also ECA (Export Credit Agency)-covered finance came back into fashion.
What has demand been like among customers after the crisis for transaction banking services? Where have you seen noticeable changes? What are your conclusions after the crisis?
The crisis certainly underlined the importance of transaction banking business. Client supply chains are focusing more on risk and access to working capital. In this environment transaction banking products which offer clients end-to-end solutions which address their financial supply chain needs are experiencing growth in business and customer demand. For example, UniCredit´s Trade Purchase product and forfaiting of receivables have seen increased customer demand. Likewise, control of working capital makes customers emphasise cash management solutions such as cross-border Cash Pooling, which consolidate and report cash positions. Since the beginning of 2010, clients have begun to revisit their processes and re-invest in solutions that specifically target the processes which affect liquidity.
GTB offers a wide range of different cash management services with state-of-the-art features.
GTB is a fairly new business comprising once disparate business silos (trade finance, cash management, custody). How far along are you in integrating these disparate silos to offer customers a more centralised entry point for sales and service?
Our recipe for success is the unique combination of local know-how and global expertise, together with our IT systems to develop innovative solutions that are specially tailored to our customers - no matter what language they speak.
GTB is a global product line with fully dedicated GTB teams in almost every country in which we are present, so our clients can take advantage of a set of common international products in cash management and e-banking, trade finance and supply chain management, as well as in structured trade and export finance. From international liquidity management and cash pooling services, to forfaiting, export credit agency covered loans and commodity trade finance and securities services in CEE countries, we offer our corporate clients the full range of global transaction banking services to maximise their potential. This holistic approach is important to really understand our clients’ needs and develop targeted solutions for them.