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12 October 2018

Exporters’ Choice Awards: EDC nails it – others snail it

Features editor
According to 167 capital equipment exporters surveyed by TXF and Clevis Research, EDC was top performing ECA In 2017. But much of the competition was poor, with many ECAs failing to live up to their performances of the previous two years.

Canadian export credit agency (ECA) EDC has been voted the world’s top performing ECA in TXF/Clevis Research’s third annual Exporters’ Market Survey. The study nonetheless noted a decline in the general performance of ECAs over 2017.

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 — on a scale from 1 to 10 — the banks’ performances for 9 business criteria (deal execution, industry expertise, understanding your business, flexibility, user-friendliness, risk appetite, capacity, pricing, and product offering).

Highlights: North America’s ECAs diverge

EDC, Switzerland’s SERV and Finnish ECA Finnvera took home the Global Exporters’ Choice Awards for ECAs for 2017. EDC’s winning score of 8.44 was particularly fuelled by the exporters’ appreciation of the Canadian ECA’s industry expertise and user-friendliness. SERV and Finnvera placed 2nd and 3rd in the overall ranking, achieving scores of 8.40 and 8.19. “European ECAs are supporting exporters with various products more than before. There is an appetite for export deals,” said one Europe-based senior financial advisor.

Elsewhere, Austria’s OeKB confirmed its strong performance from 2016 by finishing 4th with 8.03. It was the only ECA to remain in the top five from the previous year. On the other end of the spectrum, US Ex-Im experienced a dramatic drop in exporters’ opinions, for the first time not making the top ten. Italy’s Sace had a similarly disappointing performance, finishing outside of the top 15.

In respective order, the remainder of the top ten was occupied by KEXIM, Euler Hermes, UK Export Finance, JBIC, NEXI and K-SURE.

Generally, exporters felt the ECAs’ performance had declined compared to 2016. They scored a collective 7.4, a 0.1 decline on their performance in both 2016 and 2015. They came off worse in seven of the nine business criteria, particularly in respect to risk appetite and pricing, which saw 0.44 and 0.7 point declines respectively.

“I personally believe that ECAs are the best solutions when it comes to making big projects happen. Yet I think that they should be less strict when it comes to their capacity and pricing policies,” said a Europe-based senior finance manager.

Nonetheless, the ECAs received higher scores than in 2016 for the categories Deal Execution and Understanding Your Business. Exporters particularly perceived significant improvement in the former, with the ECAs’ scores increasing by 7.5% compared to 2016 and even outstripping the score from 2015.

Breakdown: Falling standards

Finnvera topped the rankings for deal execution with a score of 8.69, a significant improvement of its 6.0 from last year. SERV and OeKB finished 2nd and 3rd with respective scores of 8.43 and 8.06. Nearly all Top 15 ECAs achieved a better score than 7, portraying a relative satisfaction from exporters, but the performances did range widely —  from 6.58 to 8.69.

The Finnish ECA also came top for industry expertise, scoring 8.81. “Finnvera can be considered as one of the best ECA industry experts,” said an Asia-based CFO. EDC and SERV followed close behind with 8.67 and 8.43 respectively. In general, exporters were impressed with the ECAs’ industry expertise, reflected in a median score of 7.67.

SERV recorded a 9.0 to finish first in the Understanding Your Business segment, a whole 1.25 above its previous year. Japan’s JBIC came in second with 8.61 and Finnvera third with 8.38. Overall, exporters were satisfied with the ECAs’ understanding of their businesses, with the majority of the ECAs achieving a score above 7.5.

The Swiss ECA also finished top for flexibility, with an impressive score of 9.14. OeKB came in second and Finnvera third, with respective scores of 8.81 and 8.06. “Compared to previous years, OeKB has started to be more flexible,” said a Europe-based export and project finance manager. There was a wide variance of performance in the category, with some ECAs scoring less than 6. 

OeKB came first for risk appetite with a score of 7.88, followed by K-SURE with 7.63 and SERV with 7.43. Compared to the other categories, exporters weren’t happy with the ECAs’ performance in the Risk Appetite segment, reflected in a maximum score of 7.88 and a median of 6.86. Bpifrance was particularly discredited, scoring a meagre 5.77.

Japan took first and second in the Capacity category, with NEXI scoring 8.44 and JBIC coming in a close second on 8.36. OeKB finished behind the pair with 8.00. Overall, ECAs achieved better scores for capacity compared to 2016, with most them packed in to a tight scoring range between 6.70 and 7.90.

It was the same story for the Pricing segment. NEXI finished first with 7.56, narrowly tipping its compatriot JBIC with 7.52 and OeKB with 7.50. Although none of the ECAs scored below a 6, Pricing was far from a top-performing category, as evidenced by none of the ECAs scoring above an 8. “At OeKB the price is not optimal. We expect something different from them,” said a Europe-based vice president.

Finnvera came out on top for user-friendliness with a score of 8.75, followed by EDC on 8.43 and SERV on 8.29. An impressive median score of 7.33 showed that most exporters were content with the ECAs’ customer service, but it still fell short of the performance from 2016.

SERV topped the Product Offering category with a score of 8.71, and EDC and Finnvera came in second and third with respective scores of 8.25 and 8.19. The ECAs generally achieved high scores in the segment, with a median of 7.44 and an average score of 7.53 proof that the vast majority of exporters appreciated the ECAs’ product offerings.

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

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