Documentation in connection with exporting of goods is often extensive and banks have an important role in checking that all necessary information is available in the correct format and that it meets the requirements from buyers and buyers' banks in foreign countries.
Currently SEB and other banks check export letters of credit documentation from clients, such as Nokia, manually against requirements received via Swift from banks representing a client's client, for example a telecom operator buying Nokia's telecommunications equipment.
"Checking the information is time-consuming and when there are discrepancies we are not always consistent in what we allow, depending on who does the checking. Customers want quick handling and consistency when it comes to discrepancies," says Harri Rantanen, business developer at Transaction Services.
The upcoming pilot test with Nokia is based on a new system from United Kingdom-based Traydstream that will automate checking of the documentation. SEB will scan paper documents received from Nokia and feed them into Traydstream's system.
For the pilot SEB will use documentation from historic transactions and compare how Traydstream's system performs compared to SEB's employees who did the original checking. If everything works out well, the aim is to eventually use the system for new transactions.
In the first phase, Traydstream's system will output the discrepancies it finds and then SEB employees will judge what to do with them. In a later phase the system may be able make those judgements automatically.
Rantanen says this is SEB's first real attempt at automating documentation processing in the trade finance area. It is also the first pilot testing of Traydstream's solution.
"SEB provides comprehensive solutions for corporate and institutional clients. This pilot represents a great opportunity and we hope its success will lead to a wider adoption of change within the Trade Finance business area and throughout the supply chain, "says Paula da Silva, head of Transaction Services.
Finland's OP Bank and Standard Chartered Bank are also involved in the upcoming pilot with Traydstream and Nokia.