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Infosys Finacle forms blockchain-based trade network in India

Published 16 May 2018

Infosys Finacle, a subsidiary of Infosys, has formed India Trade Connect, a blockchain-based trade network in the country by partnering with Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, RBL Bank, South Indian Bank and Yes Bank.

The network is being used by the banks to run a successful pilot of Finacle Trade Connect, a blockchain technology based solution developed specifically to address the trade finance process requirements of banks.

Finacle Trade Connect will enable increased automation and transparency, while helping efficiently manage risks in trade and supply chain financing operations. India Trade Connect has also been adjudged as the winner of the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2018 award for Trade Finance and Supply Chain, affirming the potential of this network.

Highlights

The network is designed to digitize trade finance business processes, including validation of ownership, certification of documents and making payments, while working on a distributed, trusted and shared network

The range of functions include Bill Collection, Letters of Credit, Open Account for Trade, Customer to Customer, Transactions for Trade, Business to Customer transactions for Trade, PO financing and Invoice financing

The network will create new business opportunities for participating banks, while eliminating the inefficiencies in the existing trade processes and enabling everyone involved in a transaction to have a single source of the truth

Financing decisions are more informed since the banks involved in a transaction are aware of the exact position of a bill as well as the exposure of the corporate with its respective partner bank

Further, the network allows for instant transfer of messages and documents between the parties involved in a completely secure manner reducing lifecycle turnaround time

The network enables reduction of cost through digitization of information exchange. Additionally, per transaction cost associated with intermediary messaging systems is eliminated

The network, built on Finacle Trade Connect, is agnostic to underlying blockchain infrastructure such as Hyperledger, Corda, Ethereum, and Bitcoin, thereby future-proofing the network against technology evolution risks

Infosys Finacle chief business officer Sanat Rao said: “Blockchain technology offers unprecedented opportunities to transform banking. Like any innovative technology, the usage of blockchain-based applications will gradually increase from early adopters to others who will join based on proven and tangible benefits.

“At Infosys Finacle, we are committed to reimagining banking and providing a continuous thrust on collaboration with our clients. In pursuit of this, digitization of Trade Finance processes using distributed ledger technology offers immense potential to eliminate the friction, cut costs and increase revenue through new business products that are now viable using the modern technologies. We are committed to helping our clients realize the path breaking benefits of blockchain technology and we look forward to many more collaborations to strengthen this consortium and building other networks across the world.”

Axis Bank executive vice president and transaction banking head Anil Agarwal said: “Axis Bank believes in enhancing its customer experience by continuously innovating and leveraging new technologies. While there have been significant innovations in payments, Trade Finance is now starting to pick up.

“We are excited about the potential of India Trade Connect initiative to digitize end-to-end trade finance operations and bring about a speedy, transparent and secure experience for our corporate clients."

ICICI Bank senior general manager Ajay Gupta said: “ICICI Bank has a rich legacy of leveraging the latest technology to bring in new paradigms in banking. We were the first in the country and among few globally to pioneer cross-border open account trade finance and remittance transactions on the blockchain platform.

“We continue to scale up the solution for facilitating trade transactions. We are delighted to partner with Infosys Finacle to successfully set up ‘India Trade Connect’ - a blockchain based trade network that will enable end-to-end digitised trade transactions across the country. We believe, this will enable automation, increase transparency as well as enhance efficiency across trade and supply chain operations.

“With more organisations adopting the blockchain technology, it holds immense potential to offer a seamless network for all stakeholders on a single platform. Going forward, we intend to collaborate with peer banks and other partners and create a comprehensive blockchain ecosystem, thereby contributing towards greater adoption of this technology.”

IndusInd Bank transaction banking senior executive vice president Ramesh Ganesan said: “IndusInd Bank has taken multiple initiatives in blockchain and our alliance with Infosys Finacle is another step in that journey. We believe that this platform will help us take a quantum leap in digitisation and also improve the processing efficiency of trade transactions.

“We are keen to leverage the platform to build a differentiated product, deliver a better experience for our clients and are confident that this collaboration will help redesign the way trade and supply chain finance transactions are processed in the country.”

Kotak Mahindra Bank global transaction services & precious metals business head Shekhar Bhandari said: “We are excited with our experience in creating a closed loop blockchain architecture for extending trade based transactions, as part of the consortium. Blockchain will unleash the true potential of Trade Finance.

“It will help provide our clients with hassle free and profitable Trade Finance solutions on almost real-time basis. Trade network transactions will be secure, transparent, resistant to outages, auditable and efficient as never before.”

RBL Bank Trade Products Head Varun Bakshi said: “A wide range of industries in India, including banking and financial services, are customising blockchain technology for multiple business uses and to make processes more efficient, secure and transparent. This emerging and transformative technology makes it possible for banks to operate on a single source of truth, and eliminate potential risks and frauds.

“The collaboration with the blockchain-based trade network will enable RBL Bank to automate processes and improve domestic and cross-border services in the areas of payments and remittances, global trade finance, clearing and settlement, digital identity, assets and contracts, all on a real-time basis. Going forward, we look forward to developing blockchain solutions for all our stakeholders across the financial services space.”

South Indian Bank managing director & CEO V.G. Mathew said: “We are glad to be an active member of the India Trade Connect comprising select banks and Infosys Finacle. It is indeed a pleasure to note that we have been jointly awarded the Celent Model Bank Award for our collaborative efforts on blockchain.

“By being part of the India Trade Connect, our quest for innovation continues. We are confident that we can jointly develop a robust Trade Finance Platform powered by blockchain, which could revolutionize the current business models in this important area.”

YES BANK group president and transaction banking group global head Asit Oberoi said: “YES BANK embarked on the journey of Digital Transformation with the philosophy of A.R.T- Alliances, Relationships and Technology. It has been our endeavor to form strong relationships and be an active enabler of technology ecosystems. In fact, we use technology and innovation, as mission critical pillars, to offer a superior banking experience to our customers.

“Blockchain is the biggest ever collaborative technology available till date and I believe, we are on the threshold of a paradigm shift in the ‘Trade Finance Digitization’ landscape in India. Having come together along with other players in the Banking industry and a dependable technology partner, we have commenced on the next phase of transformation that promises to redefine Trade Finance practices in India. We are looking forward to witnessing intensive usage of this Asset domestically and also connecting with global networks in due course.”

Source: Company Press Release