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11 October 2018

Exporters’ Choice Awards: It's all in the delivery

Features editor
TXF/Clevis' latest survey of 167 capital equipment exporters shows improved delivery year-on-year from all export finance banks. Credit Agricole is cited as top global lender, with Santander and HSBC coming in second and third.

Credit Agricole has been named the best performing global export finance bank in TXF/Clevis Research’s third annual Exporters’ Market Survey, which saw an overall performance improvement from the banking sector over 2017.

The French bank finished top of both the Asia and Americas divisions, with LBBW sweeping the board in EMEA. Santander and HSBC came in second and third behind Credit Agricole in the global rankings. After taking a dip in 2016, banks improved their performance for nearly all criteria, most notably for the Understanding of Business and Flexibility categories.

“Over the past year we have noticed how the whole export finance system has been performing really well and has really improved,” noted one Europe-based president.

The Exporters’ Market Survey garnered feedback from 167 exporters, up 60% from the 2016 edition. For the quantitative part of the survey, the exporters were asked to rate the banks’ performances for 9 business criteria (deal execution, industry expertise, understanding your business, flexibility, user-friendliness, risk appetite, capacity, pricing, and product offering) on a scale from 1 to 10.

Highlights: Export financiers step up performance

In a tight-run affair, Credit Agricole took the Global Exporters’ Choice Award with an average score of 7.91, beating Santander and HSBC in second and third by a mere 0.01 and 0.03 respectively. The French bank particularly swayed exporters with its product offering and user-friendliness.

Only banks that obtained votes from at least five exporters from a minimum of three different continents were taken into account for the global award. Three banks had higher ratings than Credit Agricole (LBBW, 8.38; KfW, 8.28; ING, 7.94) but did not receive the requisite diversity of reviews.

In the regional awards, Germany’s LBBW was the best performing bank in EMEA with a score of 8.38, followed by KfW with 8.31 and HSBC with 7.85. Credit Agricole finished top in Asia with 8.40, flanked by SMBC (8.00) and HSBC (7.80). And Credit Agricole also topped the Americas with 8.80, with Santander (8.33) and BNP Paribas (8.00) coming in second and third.

Overall exporters were 0.21 points more satisfied with the performance of their banks than in 2016, with stronger scores recorded for the majority of categories. Exporters perceived significant improvements concerning their banks’ strategies for the criteria Understanding of Your Business, Deal Execution and Risk Appetite, but saw decreases in Industry Expertise, Capacity and Pricing. However, generally exporters feel banks are still somewhat reserved when it comes to lending credits for riskier undertakings, expressed in a comparatively low score for Risk Appetite.

“Even though banks have been trying to match our needs, we still have the feeling that they could improve more, especially in terms of capacity and risk appetite,” said an Asia-based vice president.

Breakdown: German banks stand out

Looking into the individual categories, one key takeaway was the strong performance of the German banks, with LBBW, KfW and Bayerische LB ever-present throughout. LBBW finished top for Deal Execution with a score of 8.50 — a full point up from its performance last year. ING and KfW finished second and third respectively, with scores of 8.19 and 8.11.

KfW took first in the Industry Expertise segment, with a score of 8.50 — despite representing a one point drop from last year. The German bank was backed up by HSBC (8.42) and Credit Agricole (8.06).

LBBW came out on top of the Understanding of Your Business category, ramping up its 7.25 from last year to a 9.0. Bayerische LB came in a close second with 8.80, and KfW saw a 0.78 drop to finish third. Most exporters were satisfied with their banks’ understanding of their businesses, as witnessed by an average score of 8.0.

Germany’s Bayerische LB finished highest in the Flexibility category with a score of 8.40. LBBW came in second with 8.13, up 1.13 points from last year, and Standard Chartered took third with 8.09. A Europe-based senior vice president said: “LBBW can definitely be considered as very good choice for smaller projects. They are more flexible than bigger banks.”

Roles were reversed in the Risk Appetite segment, with LBBW taking the top gong with 8.75 — up a whopping 1.75 on the previous year — and its compatriot Bayerische LB coming in joint second with Standard Chartered with a score of 8.00. “I feel that risk appetite with banks has increased over the past year,” said one Europe-based managing director. “For instance, it is pretty normal to turn to banks when the ECAs do not want to take the projects, and in 99% of the cases the banks would take the project.”

KfW once again finished top of the Capacity category with a score of 8.17, closely followed by LBBW with 8.13 and Credit Agricole on 7.92. The vast majority of customers were satisfied with the capacity of their banks since the scores ranked between 7 and 8.17, which also showed that exporters rated the banks relatively homogeneously.

Credit Agricole lead the same three banks in the Pricing category, with a score of 7.90. LBBW and KfW scored 7.88 and 7.81 respectively. But overall exporters were quite critical of banks’ pricing strategies, with a median of 7.14 and nearly 50% of banks have a ranking below 7.

And once again the three banks shared the spoils for the User-friendliness segment, with LBBW coming out on top (8.50), followed by KfW (8.44) and Credit Agricole (8.13). Examining the overall distribution, customers were satisfied with the User-friendliness of the banks, expressed by a median of 7.80 and a lowest score of 7.

Finally, UniCredit broke up the party by beating KfW and Credit Agricole to first in the Product Offering segment, with a score of 8.25. KfW tipped Credit Agricole to second, with respective scores of 8.17 and 8.13. Nonetheless, one Americas-basd CEO said: “I could not say that any bank has a good or bad product offering. Quite frankly, there are few products you would ask for anyway in the realm of export finance.”

For more information on the report please contact dominik.kloiber@txfmedia.com

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