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Digital, international, simple: how we do trade finance at UniCredit

UniCredit trade finance solutions support clients of all sizes to solve the most complex trade problems more quickly and efficiently than before.

Why you should read this article

Trade finance entails more than just reducing financial risks, optimising liquidity or cutting costs. Supporting clients in a increasingly complex and increasingly global business world requires a full suite of services that includes both traditional offerings and the latest digital solutions.

Trade finance is critical to business growth. Since time immemorial, banks have been acting as a guarantors or lenders in commercial transactions, helping businesses reduce financial risks, lower costs, optimise financial flows, and make tough deals viable.

But today’s business world is increasingly complex, increasingly global, and increasingly fast-moving. Supporting clients in this challenging environment requires more than just the standard trade finance offering. At UniCredit, we understand this – leaning on the twin pillars of digital innovation and a comprehensive international network to deliver fast, simple and effective solutions for every stage of the trade value chain.

Our digital solutions are part of a full suite that includes traditional offerings such as guarantees, documentary collections, letters of credit and forfaiting. And whether it is the Bank Payment Obligation (BPO), our comprehensive digital trade finance portal or the latest XML technology, they all serve to solve the most complex trade problems more quickly and efficiently than before – for clients of all sizes.

Additional Information

Working Capital Management

Trade Purchase for Suppliers

Trade Purchase for Buyers

Bank Payment Obligations (BPO)

But we believe that trade finance entails more than just lowering risk or cutting costs – it means opening the doors to new business across the globe. This is why trade finance is a fundamental component of our Global Trade Management (GTM) offering, and we combine our global footprint with a specialised local expertise to help clients negotiate new markets and manage their increasingly international dealings. Through our simple and effective solutions – even to complex, persistent problems – we help our clients settle trades, optimise liquidity and control risks wherever they go.

Embracing the digital revolution

Many trade finance processes today are manual and paper-based, and therefore often time-consuming and costly. We see digitalization as the answer, keeping trade finance aligned with today’s fast-moving business world. Consequently, digitalization is at the heart of UniCredit’s approach to trade finance, and we are leading the way in developing and bringing to market a number of innovative solutions.

One such solution is the BPO – a standardised, irrevocable payment instruction that combines legally binding rules with electronic messaging and matching capabilities. The benefits of the BPO are many. It settles trades and protects against counterparty risk far more quickly and efficiently than traditional settlement methods, such as letters of credit, while also opening the door to a wide range of financing options.


Global Trade Management (GTM)

UniCredit offers holistic solutions perfectly tailored to companies’ needs.
The range of solutions consists of traditional and innovative domestic and foreign trade products, which offer protection against changes in interests trades, fluctuations and foreign exchange risks.

UniCredit is the bank of choice when it comes to the BPO, having created a single platform that enables companies to execute BPO transactions electronically from baseline to settlement – with no manual steps whatsoever. This platform was recognised as a leading innovation in Global Finance’s “Innovators 2016” awards.

As a front runner in BPO implementation in Europe, we are also proud to be the first bank to have implemented the BPO in countries such as Italy, Germany and Romania. In every case, our clients have recommended the process – praising everything from the speed, simplicity and financing  capabilities, to the ease of implementation and high level of customer support.

Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. UniCredit has invested in digital solutions that span the full range of trade requirements for clients both large and small – with dedicated portals for trade finance, receivables finance and supply chain finance. We are also actively participating in a number of collaborative blockchain initiatives such as Digital Trade Chain, which aims to make domestic and cross-border trade easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.

A trade finance powerhouse in Europe and beyond

A global perspective covering entire supply chains is a key part of our approach. Of course, in Europe we offer home advantage – enjoying an unrivalled footprint and strategic presence in 14 European core markets including Italy, Germany, Austria, and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). But we are also a gateway to the wider world – our international network spans another 16 countries with branches and representative offices worldwide. Beyond this, our trade finance services are supported by over 4,000 correspondent banking relationships, covering approximately 175 countries across the globe. This strong global network and market knowledge, our leading digital trade finance capabilities and deep product expertise are all factors that lead to the consistent top rankings UniCredit has enjoyed in various recent polls and surveys.


“UniCredit has invested in digital solutions that span the full range of trade requirements for clients both large and small – with dedicated portals for trade finance, receivables finance and supply chain finance.”

For instance, UniCredit was named "Best Trade Finance Provider" in both the CEE region and in Western Europe by the Euromoney Trade Finance Survey 2017, and the same survey also named UniCredit "Best Domestic Trade Finance Provider" in Romania, Turkey, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Global Finance’s Trade Finance Provider awards 2017, UniCredit was further named “Best Trade Finance Provider” in CEE, and led country categories in Austria, Bulgaria and Croatia.

We are proud to be recognised as a European trade finance powerhouse. Trade finance is an integral part of any firm’s operations, and we will continue to use our unique access to Western, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as our extensive International Network and innovative mindset to assist our client base with all their international trading endeavours.

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How we do Trade Finance


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