Trade finance of HSBC Bank Armenia hikes by 104% to 19.5 billion drams in first quarter

10.07.2015 14:21
Trade finance of HSBC Bank Armenia hikes by 104% to 19.5 billion drams in first quarter

Exclusive interview of the head of trade finance department at HSBC Bank Armenia Kamo Margaryan to ARKA News Agency
ARKA – Mr Margaryan, what are the trade finance instruments most demanded in the Armenian market in general and at HSBC Bank Armenia in particular?

K. Margaryan – In fact, supply of trade finance instruments by banks in Armenia and by HSBC Bank Armenia in particular, is far beyond the demand. The main problem is the recognizability of the product and client awareness. Hence, we cannot say that trade finance products are very popular among the clients of Armenia’s banks. In this respect, HSBC Bank Armenia holds annual Academy of Trade Finance to communicate minimum knowledge to audience about how to use trade finance products. It should be noted that simple trade finance tools, such as letters of credit, guarantees and incasso, and, also a little of factoring, are the most demanded ones in Armenia. Bearing in mind the structure of our economy that is based on imports, the key products are import documentary letters of credit and guarantees.
ARKA – What are the trade finance volumes of your banks and which instruments are the most popular?
K. Margaryan – The amount of trade finance services by HSBC Bank Armenia rose by 104% to 19.5 billion drams in the first quarter of 2015, and trade finance revenues of the bank hiked by 41%. It is worth to mention that in 2014 these indicators grew by 35%, up to 31.8 billion drams, and by 51% respectively. Clients prefer especially documentary letters of credit. In April 2013 we launched a new product – equipment import finance for enterprises. It is the best ever tool in the Armenian market that gives enterprises an opportunity to get their equipment imports, be it agricultural or medical equipment or production lines, financed at an unprecedented annual rate of 7% and for up to 30 months. Since then and till now, we have issued documentary letters of credit worth $42 million. As a result, a record high growth, by 300%, was recorded for these letters of credit in 2014.
ARKA – What was the impact of 30% reduction in foreign trade turnover on your bank’s trade finance performance?
K. Margaryan – Reduction in foreign trade had no negative impact on our performance indicators. Despite 30% decline in foreign trade turnover, we recorded high trade finance growth rates. As I have said before, we saw growth both in terms of volumes and profits as of the end of the first quarter – 104% and 41% respectively, owing to advantages of the bank and HSBC Group. I hope that the economy will get rid of negative trends, and that we will increase our trade finance volumes. Let me mention that today only 5% of Armenia’s foreign trade is financed through banks’ trade finance tools, which means their potential for growth and attraction of clients into the sector is still high.
ARKA – What obstacles exist on the way to development of trade finance in Armenia?
K. Margaryan – There are no obstacles, but conditions should be created for growth. We offer all our clients to turn from traditional payment schemes to trade finance products. Since 2010, we have been holding the Academy of Trade Finance, particularly the 14th academy was held in April 2015, and 350 clients were attracted. Our main objective is to present the key advantages of trade finance products. There are many problems in the sector in Armenia, as main part of foreign trade is financed through the traditional pre-payment tool.

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