Focus on correspondent banking and the Trade and international banking activities within Credit Agricole CIB

Credit Agricole Group attended SIBOS held in Australia from 22 October to 25 October 2018, once more this year. The delegation is strongly committed in the development of FI business. We wanted to know more about the correspondent banking activities and the Trade and international banking activities within Credit Agricole CIB. Etienne BERNARD, Global Head of Transaction Banking at Credit Agricole CIB answered to 3 main questions about this topic discussed during the SIBOS.

What is exactly the “Correspondent banking”? Is it still considered as a métier?

Correspondent Banking is the management of payment flows and services between banks on a global scale. Correspondent Banking is required in order to support and develop Trade, Cash and market services between financial institutions (FI). As a leading bank, Credit Agricole CIB is a major participant. We will continue investing in Correspondent Banking services in order to provide further the highly secured environment it requires.  While revenues expected from this business are under pressure in the market, it is essential to support cross border transactions. The latest is increasing globally and request the banking industry to play its role in order to secure payables and receivables.

Since this business is in constant transformation, influenced by regulators, customers, actors and technology providers, a dedicated filière at Credit Agricole group level was created. It takes all necessary actions in order to comply with our business units needs and keep up with latest market upgrades.

Let’s move on our second point: Trade and transaction banking. What are the main areas of focus for Trade and International Banking towards banks?

Since the creation of ITB department (International Trade and Transactions Banking services) , 3 years ago,  Credit Agricole CIB  has been launching  ambitious projects in Trade and Cash management. The Cash Management Transformation Program is upgrading client experience of our services with a first roll out in Europe and some Asian countries. Our customers will benefit from an entire new experience from the acquisition of their transactions down to the dedicated customer service. They will benefit from new domestic innovations in countries such as India and Russia.

These major projects will be instrumental in reshaping flow businesses towards FI.  It requires the building of a brand new platform to deal with needs in accounts management, payments and trade businesses.  We are more than ever ready to push these activities to the next level and bring improved and upgraded service to the clients. 

We are further developing a new FI trade Sales model with the aim of becoming a preferred Trade partner. We bring at play our extensive correspondent bank network, excellence of our origination and advisory  teams,  strong capacity to  front  and  arrange club deals,  reputable back office skills and competitive pricing.

What Credit Agricole CIB is doing to adapt to the new context in terms of technology, regulatory constraints, etc ?

The Transaction Banking environment is in constant evolution, driven by regulatory and technological changes and new usages requested by clients. We consider these evolutions as an opportunity to develop our business franchise, focusing on three pillars:

  • Operational efficiency: we are building best-in class operational platforms for our local, regional or overlay proposals, allowing STP processing and consistent customer experience across markets. Latest innovations are also tested and included if they can increase speed and efficiency in transaction processing in a perfectly secured environment.
  • Adapt to new customer behaviours in terms of services: offer enrichment, including the latest product developments to bring new services and functionalities to our customers such as Instant Payments, BSB… Our Innovation team is working hand in hand with our Transformation Programs experts to test disruptive business and operational models to target even greater customer experience, notably in cross-border payments, in new data-based services.
  • Integrate more services including from third parties: open strategy, leveraging Blockchain and APIs, to better integrate added-value third party products or services. It will enable us to better connect with our clients’ ERPs and to build deeper ecosystems gathering our clients, their suppliers, partner banks and other players.

At Credit Agricole CIB, we aim at providing our customers with a one-stop-shop model, integrating best-in-class capabilities, either developed in-house or externally by our partners.