A post relating to this item from Finextra:
14 November 2008 | 8450 views | 0
Swedish banking group Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) has launched an open social networking site for trade finance professionals.
SEB's Benche project fits squarely into the new model Web 2.0 world as an open community platform where trade finance professionals can participate in discussions threads and ask questions of experts
and other members.
The Benche gets it name from the benches used by Italian merchant bankers in the great grain markets, which became centres for holding money against bills of exchange.
The project was initiated 18 months ago, at about the time that Belgian bank Fortis launched its
join2grow network for European entrepreneurs. Like its progenitor, the Benche is professionally done, with an appealing interface and easy-to-use navigation.
We wish SEB well, but it's hard to see such a blue sky, 'build it and they will come' scheme getting the go ahead in the current financial environment.
Until the markets clear up, social networking enthusiasts in the banking sector may have to make do with rather more modest inhouse projects, such as the
internal network set up by IntercontinentalExchange to connect staff worldwide.
To the outsider, the social networking tag appears to have been rather loosely applied in this context as the Icespace platform seems to offer little more than a souped-up intranet. But it's a start, and a smart move for a company which has quadrupled in
size through a string of acquisitions over the past 18 months.