Commerzbank in major trade finance automation drive with Conpend
Commerzbank plans to automate 80% of the selected compliance relevant pre-checks in trade finance transaction processing by 2020.
To do so, it has partnered with fintech Conpend, which specialises in trade finance technology.
Earlier this month, Commerzbank started a pilot phase to automate the anti-money laundering processes. Following an evaluation of the pilot phase, it plans to roll out a further stage of the sanctions checks in trade finance during 2019.
Conpend uniquely uses optical character recognition (OCR) and progressive machine learning (ML) to extract data from physical documents, recognise patterns and flag deviations. It will use application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect to Commerzbank’s existing trade finance processing infrastructure and “create a complete and detailed audit trail for the bank to front-run the increasing expectations of regulators with respect to reporting requirements”.
The planned automation of selected and relevant compliance pre-check and sanctions check processes in trade finance refers to business operations only, the bank explains, the so called “first line of defence”. It does not affect any downstream internal oversight, compliance and audit processes of the bank.
Commerzbank hopes that new business processes will improve efficiency and further optimise risk control procedures, as well as enhance client experience by significantly reducing the time of transaction processing and the associated costs.
Any compliance risks identified will be reported to the group compliance unit where they will be monitored and examined according to the established risk management, control and governance processes.
“The processing of trade finance transactions is becoming more complex and prone to higher risks, as manual processes struggle to keep pace with the increasing regulatory and market trends,” observes Enno-Burghard Weitzel, head of product management trade services at Commerzbank.
“However, we are leading the change towards a new era for trade finance processing,” he states.