Standard Chartered said on Monday it is bringing a choice of 130 global currencies to their online banking clients’ fingertips in Botswana, Zambia and Uganda, following the launch of its enhanced online banking foreign exchange services through Straight2Bank.
The listed bank said the added advantage lets clients access international trade currencies at a touch of a button through the bank’s secure online banking platform, Straight2Bank ÔÇô ultimately making currency payments for Africa-Asia and intra-Africa trade relationships faster and executed in a currency of choice.
Standard Chartered’s Head of Transaction Banking for Botswana, Kwame Asante, said they looked forward to extending this capability to our other African markets.
“Our corporate clients in Botswana, Zambia, Uganda as well as a number of other international markets in our footprint, will have immediate access to these product innovations, without incurring setup costs or installation delays ÔÇô all via our secure online banking portal,” said Asante.
“It makes sense for us to bring the benefits of electronic enhancements directly to our clients, reaffirming our promise to be Here for Good, and Here for Progress. We look forward to extending this capability to our other African markets.”
Standard Chartered said the product saves clients unnecessary costs in currency conversions, and avoids the inherent risks associated with fluctuating currency rates ÔÇô a challenge most African traders face when dealing with trade partners outside of their economies.
Motivating factors behind such product innovations stem from ongoing trade developments, such as Botswana’s trade with the European Union more than tripling from 2010 to 2011, and Chinese trade increasing five-fold between 2007 and 2011. Zambia’s top trading partners are Switzerland, South Africa, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with trade volumes for Developing Asia increasing twenty-fold since 2004.
Uganda has enjoyed similar trade growth with Chinese trade expanding from USD 800,000 in 2002, to a total of USD43million for 2011.
“This online capability is yet another example of how Standard Chartered is consistently upgrading and evolving its customer offering to provide clients with relevant products, which save time and money, while also supporting Africa’s rapidly increasing trade relationships,” said the bank.
This new “RFQ” or “Request for Quote” feature is a market innovation and avoids the onerous process of calling for currency quotations from a Bank’s local Treasury Desk, in order to trade in a company’s currency of choice. By selecting their currency and volumes for conversion online, clients receive an almost instantaneous quotation, with the option to accept or decline within minutes.
“This value added service that we have introduced to our clients is a demonstration of our commitment to enable the burgeoning trade flow between our Clients in Africa and the rest of the world; supporting our clients in their drive to connect with their trading partners in any part of the world,” added Ashutosh Kumar, Standard Chartered’s Global Head of Corporate Cash and Trade Product Management.