Targeting Seamless Trade Finance Operations


Raheem Akingbolu, who witnessed the recent alliance between Interswitch and Misys, a leading provider of lending, treasury, trading and risk management solutions, writes that the partnership will give birth to proprietary software solutions that could help banks deliver seamless trade finance services to their customers

As Nigerians look forward to better days when the economy would have stabilised and emerged from recession, integrated digital payments company, Interswitch Group, has struck a deal with Misys, a leading provider of lending, treasury, trading and risk management solutions to ease trade finance operations and improve service delivery as far as local banks are concerned.

The deal, according to the two partners, will accentuate Nigeria’s foray into trending global digital banking system and help banks to transform their trade operations. It is also expected to drive growth in domestic and cross-border trade and supply chain finance.

At an event in Lagos, which was organised to announce the partnership, top executives from banks and other financial institutions, regulators, infrastructure and cloud specialists, took turns to educate stakeholders in the financial services industry on the benefit of the new innovation to the sector.

Tagged ‘Misys Fusion Banking Trade Innovation Software’, the technology was said to have come with enhanced capabilities to help Nigerian banks reduce operational costs, eliminate operational risks and deliver excellent trade finance service to their customers.

Operations made easier

Group Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, said with the introduction of the solution, financial institutions in Africa would be able to optimise their operating models and alter workflows quickly. He also stated that the technology will make it possible for banks to route transactions efficiently, adding that it would also help them achieve a single management view of their entire trade finance business.

In an interview with THISDAY after the launch, Elegbe disclosed that series of studies out there have shown that financial institutions, especially banks are looking at new models of transactions to enhance optimum operations. ‘’Banks are looking for new models to speed up growth, they want to reduce cost and they want to serve their customers better. It has also been established that one way to achieve this is through technology. However, technology is though the way to go but it may put more financial burden on the banks because it requires adequate infrastructure. But by going to the cloud, our financial institutions will be able to avoid cost of setting up infrastructure; it will help them to optimize costs typically associated with staffing and other considerations. Through it, banks will be able to get the same service they would have enjoyed without involving in additional investment. This is possible because someone else has taken care of that.

“Seeing the trend internationally, Interswitch and Misys decided to partner to provide such technological innovation in the area of trade, especially as the economy is set to get over the recession. With everything in place, there will be increased demands for trade solutions ahead of the time when the economy would have been fully stabilised. We will have some things that will benefit the banks and rub off on their dealings with the banking public. We decided to come on board to actively drive the required dynamism in the area of cloud based trade solutions”


Knowing well that security is always at the heart of electronic financial transactions; the CEO allayed the fear of banks’ customers against theft or any form of cyber crime through the platform. He pointed out that the development will not involve moving of monies but information and that it will boost the operations of corporates and SMEs alike.

“We are also concerned with documentation. If you look at the SMEs in most of the African nations, a lot of the SMEs do not like documentation, this will be automated for them. Besides, a lot of them have challenges with sourcing of FX; again this can be the way out of such challenge. Therefore, security is not really an issue in this case because these systems are internationally certified. For example, the Misys solution is certified by SWIFT, which makes it meet all anti-money laundering requirements and so on and so forth. It is a
world-class and standard solution and it has been designed to take into consideration the best things that are required for a platform of this nature. Having stated this, I want to emphasise that security is not an issue in this case because like I said earlier, we are not moving money but information.

Choice of partnership

Speaking on what informed the partnership and timing for the deployment of the new solution, the Regional Manager for West Africa at Misys, Gansirey Seck, said her company settled for Interswitch to further deepen its footprints in Nigeria. She however stated that the market is not entirely new to Misys having worked with OEMs in the past to provide services for some selected banks.

“We and OEMs have been working in this market for the past few
decades now but what has changed this time around is that we have come on our own. What we have done is that we have tried to identify partners that can help us to be on top of the game because we don’t want to come, render technological services to banks and leave again as we used to do with OEMs. At the end, we saw all we need in Interswitch and we decided to deploy our solutions. What we want to be is a strategic
partner to the industry stakeholders and that means we will call on regulators, we will call on service providers like Interswitch and banks as well.

“All of us will come together and we will look at how we can bring value to the market. So, it goes beyond just transacting the way OEMs used to do. Then we used to come, deal with the banks and go back home. This time, we are looking at a solid partner in Nigeria and we found that in Interswtich. We see the union as a platform through which we can bring value to the industry itself, not just bringing the value solely to banks. We also believe the time to do this is now because it is a known fact that any business that fails to innovate will die.

Also speaking on the partnership and how Interswitch received it, Elegbe, said the payment company was very excited to partner with Misys to launch the trade finance software and expressed his enthusiasm towards its contribution to the financial services ecosystem. He stated that with solution, Nigerian banks can now deliver a faster, easier and far improved trade banking services to their customers. According to him, the solution will help the banks streamline and optimise their entire trade banking operations.”

“It’s indeed a great day for banks and financial institutions as well as their customers as the Misys Fusion Banking Trade Innovation Software solves many of the traditional problems faced by banks in their trade finance operations.”