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06 Dec 2013

Transaction Banking: Respecting its role in the real economy

Ales Chmelar

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This paper sketches the main features and issues related to recent market developments in global transaction banking (GTB), particularly in trade finance, cash management and correspondent banking. It describes the basic functioning of the GTB, its interaction with global financial markets and related implications of global regulatory developments such as Basel III.

The interest in GTB has recently increased, since its low-risk profile, tendency to follow growth rates worldwide and relative independence from other financial instruments became an interesting diversification opportunity both for banks’ business models and for investors. Transaction banking has been a resilient business during the crisis, despite the reduction in world trade figures. In the post crisis period, GTB must cope with new challenges related to increased local and global regulation and the risk of inconsistency in regulatory approaches, which could negatively impact the global network and increased competition by new market entrants. Increased sophistication of corporate clients, as well as the pressure to develop and adopt technological innovations more quickly than other areas of banking continues to impact the business. The future of the industry closely depends on its ability to adjust to complex regulatory developments while at the same time being able to operate a global and efficient network.

Ales Chmelar is a Researcher at the European Credit Research Institute within CEPS in Brussels. He specialises in European credit markets, households economics, and financing of the non-financial sector in Europe.