S-Servicepartner and Raiffeisen Bank International are bringing a new customer group – medium-sized enterprises – into focus on the blockchain platform Marco Polo. This confirms that the trade finance products offered on the Marco Polo platform are relevant not only to large enterprises but also to SMEs.
Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) began looking at the existing blockchain-based trade finance solutions in 2017. Of all the available platforms, RBI ultimately opted for Marco Polo.
“Marco Polo best suited our strategy as the platform combines traditional trade finance products with new blockchain-based solutions such as Payment Commitment,” says Stefan Andjelic, RBI Blockchain Hub Lead.
S-Servicepartner, Sparkasse Bielefeld and the Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International – together with Dr August Wolff GmbH & Co, KG Arzneimittel and its business partner, the pharmaceutical company s.a.m. Pharma Handel GmbH – have successfully completed a digital trade transaction with a receivables-based financing component on the Marco Polo platform. Two highlights:
- S-Servicepartner, is currently the only back-office service provider worldwide within the Marco Polo consortium. It was able to process a blockchain-based trade transaction for the first time together with a savings bank and its customer
- RBI was the first Austrian bank to carry out a pilot transaction on the Marco Polo platform.
As the largest back office service provider for the savings banks in Germany, Servicepartner supports the savings banks with standardisation and automation solutions – for example Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Intelligence (BI). Today, the corporate group employs more than 2,350 people at 11 locations throughout Germany. It also generates annual sales of around 200 million euros.
S-Servicepartner has participated in the development of the Marco Polo platform by representing all the savings banks in Germany. It is pursuing a goal of providing these savings banks with access to the Marco Polo offerings by testing:
- the functionality and experience of the products on the Marco Polo platform
- the relevance to selected savings banks and their medium-sized corporate customers.
“This is the first transaction in a pilot series with savings banks with which we want to make an important contribution towards production maturity,” says Jürgen Nagel, a member of the Management Board of S-Servicepartner Berlin. “The insights gained by all participants will be directly incorporated into the further development of the modules“.
The Marco Polo network
The Marco Polo network connects banks, corporates and technology-partners. Its aim is to streamline working capital and trade finance activities through direct data exchange by providing digital solutions for international trade and supply chain as well as receivables-based financing using R3’s Corda technology. Users can access the platform via:
- web portals
- local and cloud-based platforms
- ERP-integrated applications.
The settlement and financing of trade transactions via a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based platform is of equal interest to companies of all sizes active in foreign trade.
“The Wolff Group, which is always interested in cutting edge innovations, sees an opportunity for the future to raise considerable efficiency potentials and significantly improve transparency in the entire process, from ordering to payment”, confirms Tanja Niedenführ, Head of Finance and Accounting Department at the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
In comments made by the participants there was broad agreement the cooperative partnership not only provided a deeper insight into blockchain as a technology, but also confirmed that Marco Polo’s trade finance offerings are relevant to SMEs. They key to such conclusions would seem, from outside, to be the involvement of S-Servicepartner. It was the enabler between Marco Polo and the savings banks and their customers.
Marco Polo will be happy. The transaction showed how it (Marco Polo) can make trade finance more transparent and efficient through automation for SMEs.
As Ralf Hüpel, Head of International Business at Sparkasse Bielefeld, stated: “We are very happy and satisfied to be able to contribute the view of a savings bank at such an early stage in the development of this platform. As the first savings bank in Germany, we were able, together with our customer, to give important impulses for the further development of this international project”.