Insight & Analysis

Press release: NatWest joins trade finance network Marco Polo

Published: Jul 2018

17th July 2018 – NatWest has today announced that it has joined Marco Polo, the trade finance platform that uses blockchain technology to dramatically reduce the costs, risks and time involved in businesses trading with each other. The initiative is coordinated by the financial technology firm TradeIX and R3 to collaboratively apply emerging blockchain technology to the global trade finance market.

NatWest is the latest bank member to join Marco Polo, a trade finance initiative that has become the largest network of commercial banks in the trade finance market. Banks, including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING, Standard Chartered Bank, Natixis, Bangkok Bank, SMBC, DNB and OP Financial Group are working with technology companies R3 and TradeIX in an effort to make trade finance smarter, more transparent and better connected.

Rowan Austin, Head of Trade & Working Capital Product at NatWest said: “We are really excited to be joining the Marco Polo network and making an important step forward that will help reduce much of the time, expense and uncertainty in conducting international trade. We want to leverage distributed ledger technology for our clients and the best way to achieve this is through global collaboration with other financial institutions and leading technology providers.”

The founding mandate from bank members of Marco Polo is to better serve trade customers’ needs by converging the physical, information and financial supply chains with digital trade data to enable easier access to credit, minimise risk and increase transparency through a global digital platform.

“The momentum around Marco Polo continues to build. We’re delighted to see NatWest join the growing network of financial institutions working together with R3 and TradeIX to bring much needed transparency and efficiency to trade finance.” said David E. Rutter, CEO of R3.

Marco Polo is focusing on a state-of-the-art trade finance platform for global working capital needs that helps minimise the risks of making and receiving payments The Platform is powered by R3’s Corda blockchain technology and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) purpose-built for the global trade ecosystem. It allows banks to offer participants and to easily integrate into trade orchestrations bringing in ERP, procure to pay, logistics, payment, insurance data, real-time into the transactions.

“Today, corporate clients expect highly-connected platforms that can accelerate corporate growth by improving working capital with an asset-agnostic trade finance engine that supports the entire asset lifecycle and access to broader funding providers,” said Daniel Cotti, CFO and Bank Partner Relationships at TradeIX. “We are very excited to have NatWest part of Marco Polo of forward-looking leaders who are building the trade finance network of the future today.”

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