TradeCard, the trade supply chain service provider, has signed an agreement with Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) to provide its domestic customers with online access to export financing. KEB becomes the fourteenth Asian bank to link up with TradeCard, and the second in Korea. Cho Hung Bank has been offering financing to TradeCard clients for just over 12 months.
Commenting on the deal, Richard Lightbound, head of business development for Asia in Hong Kong, says KEB has strong relationships with many of Korea's top importers and exporters making it the ideal partner. "KEB not only has connections with the large chaebol conglomerates, but it also has a huge portion of the market for small to medium sized enterprises," says Lightbound.
Under the deal, KEB will provide finance to those TradeCard clients that the bank has an existing credit relationship with. TradeCard clients will be able to apply for the financing through the internet as part of the trade process.
TradeCard has about 100 exporter clients in Asia with its biggest markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan. These are also the markets where the company has forged strong banking relationships including deals with Bank of East Asia and Dah Sing Bank in Hong Kong; and Sinopac, First Commercial, Chinatrust and UWCCB in Taiwan.
Lightbound says the current downturn in local economies has had some impact on trade flows but says it has also meant that exporters and importers are looking for ways to save money by improving bank office mechanics. "Companies feeling the pinch are now more concerned about how their back office runs and are starting to listen to our solutions for improving efficiencies."