Technology investment fuels growth in supply chain finance.
According to a September report from Allied Market Research, “The global supply chain finance market was valued at $6 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $13.4 billion by 2031, growing at a [compound annual growth rate] of 8.8% from 2022 to 2031.”
Technological advancements in digitalization and automation have made supply chain finance (SCF) more accessible and efficient, which has led to a proliferation of platforms and solutions that streamline the processing of invoices and payments, making it easier for companies of all sizes to implement SCF programs.
The increased complexity of supply chains makes managing working capital efficiently much more challenging. SCF can bridge the gap between payment terms and the actual flow of goods—helping buyers and suppliers improve their cash flow by accelerating receivables for suppliers and extending payables for buyers.
It is also a relatively safe investment in uncertain times. And it’s not just banks that are getting in on the act. Institutional investors view it as an attractive asset class; while fintech SCF platforms, often in collaboration with banks and other alternative investors, are increasingly helping to close the trade finance gap.
Regulatory changes, including changes in trade finance regulations such as the introduction of the UK’s Electronic Trade Documents Act of 2023, can encourage the adoption of SCF by reducing legal and operational barriers. It’s worth noting that there has also been a global trend toward SCF scrutiny. In the US, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued an Accounting Standards Update in September 2022, which came into effect in 2023, requiring disclosure of key SCF program terms and obligations on the balance sheet in quarterly and annual reports.
There is also growing demand for businesses to identify and address human rights and environmental risks along their supply chains. For example, the EU’s 2019 Green Deal requires commodities traded through the EU and products placed on the EU market to be sourced and manufactured responsibly. Meanwhile, the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive came into effect in January 2023.
While consumers’ attitudes have significantly influenced environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, vulnerabilities across global supply chains are forcing businesses to rethink SCF. Increasingly, SCF is being used as both an incentive and an enabler to encourage sustainability across supply chains, and both banks and nonbanks are increasing their sustainability-linked SCF offerings.
Sustainability is an integral part of MUFG’s mission as a company and a vital part of the bank’s identity. In addition to net-zero plans for its operations, MUFG has committed to investing more than $330 billion directly into sustainable finance by 2030. It also boasts of being the largest renewable energy project finance bank in the US, and it is the leading arranger of renewable energy globally.
“Within supply chain financing, we see companies at different stages of their ESG journeys depending on alignment between their procurement and sustainability teams, often with competing priorities and separate reporting lines. So, we meet our clients at their point of need no matter where they are in that journey,” explains Maureen Sullivan, managing director and global head of SCF at MUFG.
“Some clients face financial stress in their efforts toward net-zero emissions and need financing structures that enable their transition sustainably,” Sullivan adds. “For those clients, we offer transition SCF financing, where we ring-fence select suppliers that can provide sustainable improvements as the client transitions to a greener business model.”
“For clients further down the path,” she continues, “we provide financing incentives to drive positive supplier behavior. Based on their chosen KPIs, many companies want to use SCF to encourage and promote a sustainable and socially responsible supply chain. We offer an independent third party to evaluate a supplier with an ESG score and, based on demonstrated improvements over time, offer that qualified supplier a tangible incentive such as a more attractive financing rate. ESG scoring is tiered for small to midsize suppliers, while we create bespoke KPIs for large suppliers based on publicly stated long-term measures to access preferred rates.”
Recent global events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and other ongoing supply chain disruptions, have highlighted the importance of building resilient supply chains. SCF can build this resilience by providing access to financial resources and improving cash flow management.
Overall, the growth of SCF is driven by a confluence of factors that make it an attractive solution for businesses of all sizes. Its ability to improve working capital management, build stronger supplier relationships, and mitigate risks in complex supply chains will likely continue driving its adoption.
Supply Chain Finance Provider Awards 2024
|Best Supply Chain Finance Provider – Bank
|Best Supply Chain Finance Provider – Non-Bank
|Best Customer Implementation
|Best Dynamic Discounting Solution
|Central & Eastern Europe
|Bank of America
BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—BANK
Present in over 90 countries, Citi’s supply chain finance (SCF) network supports over 4,000 buyers and 95,000 suppliers. In business for almost 20 years, Citi Supplier Finance’s offering includes digital platforms that streamline processes, seamless technical implementation that is adaptable to various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and effortless electronic onboarding of suppliers. Recent additions include Citi Dynamic Discounting, which enables cash-rich clients to invest excess liquidity directly into their supply chain and provides liquidity to small and midsize suppliers to improve cash flow. Citi is the only bank offering a single platform and file transmission for both SCF and dynamic discounting. For suppliers, Citi Supplier Finance offers an app that selects receivables to be discounted via mobile phone.
BEST SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PROVIDER—NON-BANK
Being solely focused on SCF ensures what the provider says is an extremely long-term and personal approach to clients. Relationship managers remain in charge for the lifetime of each SCF program, for example.
Customers get unlimited funding capacity at competitive pricing, thanks to Orbian’s partnerships with a large number of international and local banks. Multibank funding plus automation enable Orbian to guarantee high levels of security, easy implementation, low cost, and assured liquidity for global corporations and their strategic supply chain partners.
BEST CUSTOMER IMPLEMENTATION
MUFG enjoyed a double-digit uptick in SCF mandates won last year. Since SCF has a long sales cycle, deals are typically cultivated for more than a year. Competition includes providers in North America, Europe, and Asia. While traditional SCF impacts the balance sheet, MUFG’s offering also addresses the needs of corporations looking to extract value from their global supply chains and improve working capital. Buyer-led programs and dynamic discounting from one platform complement a holistic suite of working capital improvements including e-payables and virtual cards. MUFG’s highly structured supplier-led receivables purchase programs provide expedited cash and risk-mitigation solutions to protect clients’ balance sheets.
BEST DYNAMIC DISCOUNTING SOLUTION
Premium Technology’s FinShare modular, single-platform ecosystem links anchor clients with suppliers’ and buyers’ value chain life cycles, integrating and unlocking working capital solutions to enhance customers’ value proposition. FinShare services over 50,000 corporate clients in more than 100 countries daily and processes over 50 million transactions monthly.
FinShare’s inclusion of deep-tier financing enables businesses to extend financing deeper into the supply chain, improving liquidity and efficiency. This enhances collaboration with suppliers and streamlines the entire SCF process, affording a smoother and more cost-effective operation.
CIB’s SCF electronic module (e-SCF) was designed for buyers and sellers seeking a more efficient way to run their business. The e-SCF module promises greater control, lower financial costs, and improved business efficiency by linking CIB’s anchor customers with suppliers that can handle very large volumes and smaller ticket sizes. Buyers and sellers can exchange and accept invoices and purchase orders digitally, request financing, monitor and track their payables and receivables online, and access needed working capital earlier and at reduced cost.
Launched in fall 2022l and commercialized in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India and Singapore, the DBS Ideal Supplier Hub is a one-stop, value-added digital service for suppliers of anchor buyer clients using DBS’ supply chain programs. Suppliers can view their transaction status digitally, view their invoices and payments in full, select invoices for financing, and download reports for tax or audit purposes. DBS’ future plans include promoting connectivity across buyer/supplier ecosystems and supporting buyers’ collaboration with suppliers on their environmental, social and governance agendas.
Capitalizing on its trade finance expertise, IDB Invest has expanded its array of value-chain finance solutions, promising buyers and sellers improved competitiveness by offering financing to small and midsize enterprises, launching new innovative programs and services, and granting access to finance in Latin American and Caribbean economies.
Value-chain finance solutions help companies free up cash trapped in their supply chains, shortening the cash conversion cycle—the time it takes them to sell inventory, collect payments from customers and pay bills. By providing access to the supply chain in Latin America and the Caribbean, IDB Invest offers small and midsize buyers and sellers the opportunity to build their presence in the region, contributing to economic growth there.
CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
ING has grown its global portfolio to around 200 programs covering more than 14,000 active suppliers enrolled in unique SCF programs. Sustainability lies at the heart of ING’s offering, by way of its co-created Terra approach, which assesses whether the supplier’s lending across sectors aligns with the UN’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
The bank’s enrollment of buyer subsidiaries and suppliers across Central and Eastern Europe has also grown and includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia.
With some 3,000 supply chain programs across the Americas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, more than 400,000 suppliers engaged in its SCF ecosystem, and more than 30 years of experience offering SCF solutions, Santander’s Global Confirming platform is the bank’s largest SCF network. The bank is looking to a new partnership with SAP offering next-generation, seamless integration of ERP and SCF to help its clients navigate supply chain disruptions and accelerate the decarbonization of their industrial activities.
Emirates NBD uses advanced analytics to craft distinctive SCF solutions, such as payable and receivable finance to clients and their suppliers. An application programming interface (API) developer portal, API Souq, enables fintechs, developers and corporate clients to develop innovative trade finance solutions. Digital supplier onboarding enables clients to commercialize the program quickly and widely across all tiers of suppliers. Paperless smartGuarantees include a smart text-matching tool that identifies deviations from the customer’s standard templates. ERP-ready connectivity between management information systems and APIs ensures a fully end-to-end digital experience. A sustainable supply chain program helps corporates influence their suppliers to adopt sustainable processes.
Bank of America
In addition to its Open Account Automation, Bank of America (BofA) rolled out several new CashPro trade capabilities in 2023 for SCF service providers, including a new third-party module and channels via both API and host-to-host information exchange. A trade receivable finance module lets suppliers automate processes, including the uploading of invoice details and acceptance of discounts on invoices.
In India, BofA has launched an SCF variant whereby it acts as the agent responsible for making payment to suppliers for approved invoices. A simplification of the supplier know-your-customer process using external registries and databases enables automation of supplier verification and the digitization of supplier onboarding, significantly speeding up working-capital optimization for the buyer and supplier uptake.
BBVA’s global SCF solution has more than 14,000 reverse-factoring programs in place and more than 245,000 active suppliers on board. In 2020, the bank launched a cloud-based global SCF platform that is accessible via a single access point, providing a centralized view of all the company’s programs and suppliers in all locations and currencies at the same time.