Alfa-Bank Signs On To Contour International Trade Finance Network

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Russian financial institution (FI) Alfa-Bank has become a part of the Contour global network of trade finance. Contour lets bank clients follow the handling and revisioning of a trade finance transaction live with the help of blockchain, according to a Tuesday (Nov. 3) announcement.

The issuance of a letter of credit (LC) involves significant amounts of documentation and takes as long as a week. Contour’s network, however, cuts the processing time of LC issuance by as much as 90 percent — to one full day from 10 days, according to the announcement.

“Alfa Bank marks yet another step forward for Contour, being the first Russia-based bank on our network. Their involvement will continue to build an inclusive network that will improve trade across the globe,” Contour CEO Carl Wegner said in the announcement.

The Contour network is a digital collection of entities such as issuing banks, applicants, beneficiaries, nominated/confirming/advising banks and other parties involved in the LC process.

Major banks like HSBC, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and ING were the founders of Contour, which seeks to optimize the LC workflow, speed up settlements and reduce operating costs. Contour is based on the R3 Consortium’s Corda blockchain infrastructure.

“The accession to the Contour platform and launch of the pilot projects on the Russian market will fine-tune the strategy of development of products for transborder transactions,” Evgenia Fomina, head of the Alfa-Bank Lending Directorate. “Customer requests become more complex, and we are always seek to offer the best solutions.”

The news comes as Contour has joined forces with Mphasis in October to accelerate the digital transformation of international trade finances.

Mphasis will utilize its Front2BackTM Transformation strategy and its next-generation IT as well as operating functions to help expedite the installation and utilization of the Contour network via a group of companies, banks and partners.

Earlier in October, Contour announced that it was entering live production as it links up buyers, suppliers and financial institutions on a decentralized electronic trade finance infrastructure.

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