49 (144) 2021


Reorganise your supply chain, find a reliable trade partner and secure the transaction – with a bank

By Anna Wierzbicka, trade finance team manager, Santander Bank Polska
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In the current reality of pandemic, expansion into foreign markets is a great opportunity for Polish firms to reach sales levels that have not been achieved on the domestic market. Often, companies have been forced to change the supply chain very quickly and flexibly in order to be able to continue core production, sometimes even to ensure the continuity of the company's operations or simply to fulfil a lucrative order.

Santander Trade Portal and the clients of the banks affiliated to the Trade Club Alliance (TCA) allow to significantly shorten the whole process of searching and verifying a new trade partner by precisely matching reliable contractors interested in selling or buying a specific product.

The project began in 2015, when Santander developed its own business community linking over 11,000 international trade-oriented customers of its 15 footprint countries over a two-year span.
To expand further the initiative, Santander invited first-tier banks in the most relevant international trade corridors as partners to create their own communities and merge into Santander’s Trade Club creating the Trade Club Alliance.

Created in 2017, the TCA is a global network that aims to make international trade better and simpler between the cooperating banks. Santander Trade is a free tool that provides companies with all the information they need to develop internationally and grow in new markets abroad and all that in a safe environment of reliable partners.

Santander Bank Polska is the only bank from Poland associated with the TCA, a global agreement of 13 banking groups, facilitating foreign expansion of clients in over 50 markets. More banking groups are set to join the Club in the nearest future. The Club's banks are present in the most important and fastest-growing markets in the world – in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. This group, apart from Santander Group, includes: Attiijariwafa Group, Banco BPM, Royal Bank of Canada, CIMB, Unicredit Group, Crédit Agricole Group, Eurobank, KBC Group, Industrial Bank of Korea, MUFG, Siam Commercial Bank and Standard Bank.

All Trade Club member companies must comply the requirements and filters established by the Trade Club Alliance to guarantee a safe environment.

Thanks to the innovative tool, firms have access to industry reports, macroeconomic and trade data and a database of contractors from around the world. Using the portal, customers can, independently or with the help of an advisor, verify the possibility of expansion into individual markets, as well as find potential business partners from a selected country and industry. They can also, through Trade Club, search for desired raw materials for production or submit an inquiry regarding the goods they produce directly to customers served by banks with TCA or receive such an inquiry in their inbox on the portal.

Santander Bank Polska is involved in helping to find a reliable partner (importer or/and exporter) for Santander clients, as well as suggesting the most appropriate form of settlement and/or securing transactions with a new business partner. Very often, trade inquiries are also sent directly between interested banks whose customers are looking for an importer or exporter. Recently Santander is seeing a significant revival in enquiries worldwide.

During the pandemic, Santander UK’s clients were looking for producers of disinfectants, protective masks, hygiene products, and also supplements to boost the body's resistance.

In the last year, the interest of foreign companies in the Polish market has increased significantly. We have noticed over 50% increase in the number of inquiries from foreign companies looking for Polish partners on the Santander Trade Portal.

Santander Trade data shows that during 2020, due to the need of expanding sales markets and breaking supply chains, there was a significant intensification of search for business partners in Europe and in the world. Last year, companies from the following sectors were mostly looking for international opportunities: machinery and equipment, personal protective equipment, furniture, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food industry (processed products, confectionery, ‘white-label’ products, alcohol) and cleaning and hygiene products.

In response to customer inquiries and an extensive search on the portal for specific markets or product categories, this spring we started a series of webinars SantanderTrade.com and e-commerce - foreign trade in the new reality, which we organise together with Google – Firmy jutra (‘firms of tomorrow’) and local chambers, partner banks from the TCA and the companies that have been successful abroad and want to share their experience. During this series of meetings, we focused on particular sectors or foreign markets, providing a large dose of content from experts-practitioners, showing how to use our website for foreign expansion. We have also noticed that the forms of collateral and/or settlement of commercial transactions during the COVID-19 era have changed significantly.

From the importer’s point of view – broken supply chains during the pandemic meant that companies have started to pay more attention to the area of securing raw materials. Some importers decided to introduce loyalty programmes to their selected suppliers to bind with them. Importers were also required to either prepay or secure the transaction in the form of a bank guarantee or letter of credit.

Exporters are looking for new markets for their products, new contractors, and thus are also interested in securing payments for the products sold and receiving payments faster – in this situation, guarantees also come in handy or letters of credit, which we can discount to our client at a very attractive cost without recourse to them.

Choosing an alternative delivery market, a reliable business partner and an appropriate form of securing and settling the transaction significantly mitigates the country and commercial risks, allowing the company to focus only on production and current operations.

“Experts at Santander Bank Polska offer clients access to new markets, supporting them in the expansion of their business on an international scale in every single country in which the Santander group operates. Our support includes opening bank accounts, financing subsidiaries, issuing guarantees and many other services. In addition to granting access to the standard banking products on an international level, we also organise initiatives helping to find business partners. This includes trade- or meet-the-buyer missions, assistance in accessing business information and contacting law firms and accountants that cooperate with Santander Group” says Magdalena Kusa, head of UK/US corridor at Santander Bank Polska.

About Trade Club Alliance https://youtu.be/5qJEXU-lvpk
Santander UK’s client promo: https://youtu.be/q-dPXjlSRik

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