E-Commerce & Trade Services (Middle East) Launches Regional Hub in Dubai

Launching in Dubai is E-Commerce & Trade Services (Middle East) L.L.C. (ECTS ME) - a joint venture company established in 2001 by E-Commerce & Trade Services, Ltd (ECTS), the technology provider; and Emirates Bank International PJS C (EBI), one of the foremost financial institutions in the region.

from left to right: Naushad Kermalli- Director ECTSME; Daniel Cowan- CEO ECTS Ltd; Graham Clarke- General Manager ECTSME; Abdul Wahed Al Fahim- General Manager EBI Corporate Banking; Abdulla Qassem- Chief Manager EBI ITO; Malcolm Murray- Director ECTS, Ltd.

The company provides Banks' in the Middle East and North African regions (MENA) with an advanced and comprehensive trade services outsourcing solution. The full spectrum of document handling and processing activities is catered to by the multi-bank solution. The trade finance processing solution combines the use of workflow, imaging and bar-coding technologies to provide a scalable platform that automates the full range of trade finance activities.

ECTS ME has been processing trade transactions for EBI for 2 ½ years. In line with a carefully planned and coordinated change management program ECTS ME took on the first tranche of EBI's substantial trade finance business in November 2002. In the months following that, the balance of EBI's trade finance transactions were systematically migrated onto the ECTS ME platform in a seamless process.

Abdul Wahed Al Fahim, General Manager of Corporate Banking for Emirates Bank stated "EBI constantly strives to offer leading edge banking services and products through advanced technology and a commitment to excellence. This vision has allowed EBI to flourish, resulting in the Bank being acclaimed "Bank of the year" in U.A.E by several international financial magazines during the past years. ECTS ME' innovative trade services solution, through automation and by eliminating much of the manual interventions during processing activities, has allowed EBI to extend to its customers the benefit of improved processing turnaround times; while at the same time grow the Bank's trade finance activities and improve transactional bottom lines."

Back-office processing is paperless and performed using images; this enhances the efficiency of the trade finance process for all parties to a transaction. Leveraging workflow capabilities, ECTS ME' back-office operations can be customized to fit any in-sourced banks' trade services authorization and examination operating procedures. The solution successfully separates the processing function from the credit and relationship functions, allowing in-sourced banks to maintain ownership of customer confidential information and relationships.

The ECTS ME solution offers in-sourced banks a number of benefits. In sourced banks will enjoy improved bottom lines as their fixed operating overheads are replaced by variable processing costs; improved processing turnaround times through automation; new product offering in the form of web-based services and finally, access to best-of-breed technologies and upgrades without the capital expense and ongoing maintenance costs.

Graham Clarke, General Manager of ECTSME, speaking at the occasion said "ECTSME' unique and purposeful design as an independent service provider, offers additional advantages to banks by providing an alternative to the traditional model of outsourcing. ECTS ME is not a bank and does not compete with its customers; in-sourced banks' need not feel that their customer relationships will be under threat; they need not share confidential credit information with their processor; nor apportion their trade earnings with a competitor."  

ECTS ME' solution allows for the centralization of processing activities at one location, as well as the establishment of storefront offices throughout a selected region, that are linked to the processing environment by leased line. A storefront offices comprises a front office, a document center and filing room with scanning stations that are electronically connected to the processing centers and operate as document collection and scanning points for transactions around the region; transmitting electronic images of documents to their respective processing centers.

ECTS ME' fee structure for processing transactions of in-sourced banks is activity-based and independent of the fees that the in-sourced bank levies on its customers. This way in-sourced banks' will replace fixed monthly overheads with variable processing costs.

ECTS ME' offering includes an in-house customer service call center that responds professionally to the transaction related customer queries. In-sourced banks' benefit from dedicated telephone and fax numbers as well as dedicated operators answering on behalf of the bank. The operators have system access to enquire about all transactions.

Daniel Cowan, CEO of ECTS , advised "The system architecture of the ECTS platform allows banks to retain branding and real-time controls over their trade services process, while reaping the many benefits provided by the Solution."

Customers of in-sourced Banks may also soon opt for web-based trade finance banking using ECTS ME' white-labeled thin-client front-end. The module provides complete image access online for users to view all inbound and outbound documents linked to transactions.

In-sourced Banks sign a comprehensive Service Level Agreement with ECTS ME. The agreement will be prepared and endorsed by separate legal council for the parties. The documentation provides legal protection and defines the transaction processing service level standards. In-sourced Banks receive monthly service level reports for monitoring performance against the agreed service delivery.

ECTS ME is located in offices on Dubai's "Bank Street". The 10,600 square ft facility caters to more than 125 workstations for processors and is equipped with its own state-of-the-art data center and technology for managing multi-bank trade services business.

Click here to read the Arabic Article.