Swedish banking group Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) has launched an open social networking site for trade finance professionals. The Web-based community, called the Benche, is open to all trade finance professionals and others active in international trade, providing a location to network and share knowledge and experience.
Launched in November 2008, the Benche enables members to post information that may be useful to other professionals and take part in discussion threads. The site also holds public information and news.
The bank says it will also regularly publish a FAQ, as well as an "Ask the Experts" section where members can get answers to their questions.
SEB is confident the collaborative approach will be popular with firms after a customer survey it recently commissioned found that around half of respondents are willing to share information within a community.
Finextra verdict: Trade finance is the most international of business lines within banks, and professionals need to collect information about many countries and regions and their trade conventions. Professional collaboration using modern networking technology could make life easier for trade finance professionals