Merisa Lee-Gimpel, head of trade innovation at Lloyds, the UK’s second largest British bank, describes how cooperation and platforms can help the bank increase customer focus

As one of the largest UK banks, Lloyds is committed to British trade and helping SMEs and large corporates succeed internationally. When it comes to trade finance, and specifically the needs of exporters, Merisa Lee-Gimpel says a priority is to fully research the export requirements of clients and understand all the pain points in the trade cycle.

“A large part of our trade innovation team’s time is dedicated to talking to customers and finding the best solutions for individual needs,” she says. “That’s why we’re very interested in partnerships with s who can help us find the right focus.”

Making the right matches
Lee-Gimpel sees Fineon is a positive industry initiative, which should increase the level of export support. “It has great potential and is something we want to explore. If Fineon can help solve exporters’ pain points, and connect exporters to funders like Lloyds, matching supply with demand, it’s an exciting move. If we can input our criteria, and receive quality information back from the platform to create matches, that will be great.”

Lee-Gimpel says that scale is a challenge for export finance. “A huge number of different UK exporters could potentially be supported by Lloyds. Technology can enable us to connect with them in a more efficient way, and get the right information to help us make finance decisions. “Fintech Platforms like Fineon Exchange’s will enable us to connect with exporters more efficiently across a whole range of trade finance products. And that spans the full range of trade finance products. If platforms like Fineon can create this breadth, from guarantees to letters of credit and so on, then it will really help us reach a wider audience. Otherwise, we’re limited to what our coverage teams can do.”

Onboarding and Standardisation
Lee-Gimpel says that, for any development, the bank involves all the key stakeholders from an early stage. “We have a fast-track approach for onboarding,” she says. “We don’t want to take 18 months before we get the right approvals. We’ve actually onboarded a in the trade space in less than two months.”

To better meet the needs of exporters, Lloyds has a dedicated service supported by an expert trade finance team. “Exporters don’t have to be our clients,” she says, “but they can deal with Lloyds for trade finance. Our team engages with them, and through that engagement we come up with new requests and new business opportunities from the exporters. It’s based on email and telephone contact, so it would be interesting to see how platform solutions could complement it.”

Lee-Gimpel acknowledges that standardisation is an issue for the industry, and that there is much talk about creating a central utility to help with compliance and regulation. In keeping with all our market commentators, she sees greater collaboration and partnerships as the way forward for trade finance, ensuring that exporters achieve the best advice and technological support.

“Fintech Platforms like Fineon Exchange’s will enable us to connect with exporters more efficiently across a whole range of trade finance products” – Marisa Lee-Gimpel, Lloyds Bank