South Africa’s Standard Bank is joining the Contour blockchain trade finance network.
Singapore based Contour uses the R3 Corda enterprise blockchain for its digital Letter of Credit network. The platform is currently in beta testing mode and there are plans to expand the offering to standby Letters of Credit and guarantees.
The network claims that through digitization it can improve processing times by up to 90%.
“With businesses across the world having to adapt to changing work processes, it’s important that international trade is not left behind,” said Kevin Holmes, Head Trade Product Management at Standard Bank. “Joining Contour has allowed us to expand our offering in collaboration with International Financial Institutions to corporates across the region harnessing Contour’s technology to provide our clients with an enhanced user experience.”
Contour was founded by seven banks, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC Holding, HSBC, ING, SEB, and Standard Chartered. The South African bank is the fifth additional bank to join since incorporation, following Citi, Vietnam’s HD Bank, DBS Bank and SMBC.
Standard Bank is also a member of the Marco Polo trade finance network, along with at least five other members of Contour. The South African bank has a more varied blockchain reach compared to others. It is also a participant in India’s Finacle Trade Connect. Plus, in China, it has partnered with the largest bank in the world, ICBC. Despite being a massive bank, ICBC doesn’t have the biggest trade finance blockchain. That prize currently goes to fellow state-owned China Construction Bank, which had processed $56 billion on its blockchain through to the end of 2019.