HSBC is applying optical character recognition and cognitive technology from IBM to automate the processing of paper documents in trade finance transactions.
HSBC’s Global Trade and Receivables Finance (GTRF) team facilitates over $500 billion of documentary trade for customers every year, and in doing so must manually review and process up to 100 million pages of documents, ranging from invoices to packing lists and insurance certificates.
The new application scans, captures and extracts key data within these documents before feeding it into the bank’s transaction processing systems.
“The average trade transaction requires 65 data fields to be extracted from 15 different documents, with 40 pages to be reviewed,” says Natalie Blyth, HSBC’s global head of GTRF. “By digitising this process we will make transactions quicker and safer for both buyers and suppliers, leading our industry forwards, and we will reduce compliance risks through an enhanced ability to manage huge volumes of data.”
HSBC is currently using the technology to analyse English-language import and export bills in several markets in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the MENA region. Blyth says the bank intends to phase in new languages, including Chinese, French and Spanish over the coming months.