Prime Bank becomes the first Bangladeshi Bank to execute interbank blockchain LC transaction
Partners with HSBC Bangladesh and Contour for the digital LC
Prime Bank has become the first Bangladeshi Bank to execute an interbank blockchain Letter of Credit (LC) transaction improving speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transaction. The transaction was conducted with HSBC, which the first bank in Bangladesh to conclude cross border trade transaction through the network.

The pilot transaction was completed through Contour, the global trade finance blockchain network, whereby an inland LC was opened by Prime Bank on behalf of AnantaGroup for import of raw materials for the ready-made garments industry from Tamishna Group, a customer of HSBC Bangladesh.

The end-to-end process of pre-negotiation and drafting of LCs by Importer and Beneficiary, approval, issuance of LCs and presentation of documents were all concluded digitally through Contour’snetwork. The transaction required no paperwork or need to physically visit banks. Instead, all parties involved in the process -- buyers, banks and beneficiaries –logged into Contour’s network to carry out any activity.

"Despite advancement in technology, trade has still remained heavily dependent on paper-based process in many parts of the world. As Bangladesh is fast becoming a leading trading country, Prime Bank as a leading trade finance bank in Bangladesh, is exploring ways to get most benefits of digitization in trade frontiers. We are elated to offer our client blockchain LC transaction with support from HSBC and Contour that is real-time, hassle-free, paperless and at the same time low-cost. Today’s success will inspire us and banks in Bangladesh to adopt automation in trade finance to provide seamless services to their valued clients," said Faisal Rahman, Managing Director and CEO (Current Charge) of Prime Bank.

"Transaction banking is evolving fast by embracing digital technology. The blockchain / DLT based L/C process will disrupt the existing process of paper based L/C. Prime Bank has always been in the forefront of digitization and it is our pleasure today to announce successful completion of first blockchain L/C by a Bangladeshi bank through Contour network. We expect the model would add value to the business of participants through wide adoption by the banks, corporates, and overall trade ecosystem," Shams A. Muhaimin, Head of Transaction Banking and Structured Finance of Prime Bank.

Kevin Green, Country Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Bangladesh, said, "After completing the first successful execution of a cross-border Blockchain Letter-of-Credit (LC) transaction recently, this partnership with Prime Bank solidifies our strong commitment to take Blockchain forward in Bangladesh. This is the first inter-bank Blockchain LC transaction for Bangladesh and we believe this will be a major movement towards paperless trade within country."

"It was an unique effort and we are very excited to be part of this digital LC transaction with Prime Bank. We welcome adoption of blockchain technology in trade to simplify the process connecting all stakeholders in a single secured platform of Contour. Compared to paper-based LC system, it took very short time to complete the entire process of LC initiation to document submission to acceptance, ensuring all the standard formalities of trade," said Sharif Zahir, Managing Director of Ananta Group.

"We have seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented push towards digitalization in all sectors. It is high time that international trade also breaks away from paper based trade and move towards trade digitalization. Etafil Accessories Limited (Tamishna Group) is proud to have collaborated with HSBC and Contour on this historic blockchain LC transaction and we look forward to reaping the benefits of the deployment of distributed ledger technology in day to day trade," said Naweed ¬¬Alam Chowdhury, Director of Tamishna Group.

"Our work throughout 2020 has been to improve the processes and overcome the pain points that many companies face. As this transaction has shown, Contour’s network is flexible, able to work for a regional bank or corporate as well as a global trade finance bank or a multinational corporation. Providing a solution that works for everyone is at the heart of what we do and our work with Prime Bank hopes to further this goal." said Carl Wegner, CEO of Contour.

Contour’s network built on R3's Corda, launched its beta network in January 2020 and entered full production in October. The network has established itself as an effective solution to the barriers in international trade and reduces the processing time of LC presentation by up to 90% - from 10 days to 24 hours. Importer, exporter, issuing bank and beneficiary’s bank receive real-time tracking of the transaction, enabling a transparent management of the trade.