Reshaping traditional practices under the new normal
Who are the leading transaction banks in the South Asia and MENA regions?
13 Apr 2021 | The Asset

Operating in some of the most complex markets in the world, banks in the South Asia and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) regions have had to re-evaluate how they engage with customers under the pressures brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Automation and digital processes, once seen as “nice to have”, soon became critical for regions such as South Asia, which for decades were heavily relying on paper-based operations. As the outbreak developed into a full-blown pandemic in March 2020, companies in sizable markets such as India had to adapt quickly, working alongside their service providers to allow payments and collections to continue uninterrupted.

Many have already started forgoing physical cheque/cash collections and leveraging instead on digital payment infrastructure such as UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and even e-wallets in some cases to get real-time confirmation of transactions.

South Asia also saw companies and banks strengthening their relationships during the pandemic, with both parties understanding the gravity of the situation and ensuring that the ecosystem they operated in was resilient to the economic fallout from sudden lockdowns and social distancing.

For example, several banks in the region were able to accept transaction instructions via email, only relying on email confirmation or DocuSign to confirm payment instructions.

In trade finance, some banks launched portals for scanned documents to be accepted and processed while at the same time creating modules for online supplier onboarding in the crafting of supply chain finance programmes. 

A similar situation emerged in the opportunistic market of MENA, which experienced significant changes over the past several quarters aside from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The restoration of diplomatic and economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar earlier this year, for example, has added confidence to the eventual recovery of the region.

When it comes to the day-to-day activities of treasury management professionals in MENA, digitalization in the form of API (application programming interface) connectivity became paramount in operating in a region accustomed to physical cheque signing. Moreover, there was substantial flight to quality during the health crisis with a particular bank active in the region growing its CASA (current account savings account) balances by double digits over the course of the pandemic.

At The Asset, we are pleased to reveal over the next few weeks the winners of The Asset Triple A Treasury, Trade, SSC and Risk Management Awards 2021. Watch this space for additional announcements!

For the complete list of South Asia/MENA winners, please click here.

To learn more about these awards, please click here.

For more information about receiving the awards and attending the virtual awards ceremony, please contact events@theasset.com

The virtual awards ceremony for The Asset Triple A Treasury, Trade, SSC and Risk Management Awards 2021 is scheduled to take place on June 17, 2021.