HSBC and IBM launch trade document processing system

News | 10 August 2017

Folder_stacks.jpg

HSBC and IBM have created an automated document processing system to reduce the time spent handling physical trade documents.

The “cognitive intelligence solution” uses optical character recognition and advanced analytics technology to identify and extract key data from documents, and feed it into HSBC’s transaction processing systems.

This means the system will not be stumped when processing documents that are not presented in a standardised way, which is an issue that has stopped computers from being used in the documents processing stage before.

“The problem is how to capture semi-structured documents with highly variant content through an analogue process, and no-one has the perfect answer,” said Roger Welch, industry (financial) expert and solution architect for IBM Analytics ECM practice.

“In our experience, no trade finance solution has come as far or done as much as this new solution.”

HSBC is currently using the technology to analyse English-language import and export bills in Honk Kong and the United Arab Emirates, and has plans to expand the languages the technology recognises to Chinese, French and Spanish.

“The average trade transaction requires 65 data fields to be extracted from 15 different documents, with 40 pages to be reviewed,” said Natalie Blyth, HSBC’s global head of global trade and receivables finance.

“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.”

The concept is very similar to what new fintech Traydstream is doing, which is to scrutinise scanned physical documents for key information and reduce the time spent processing trade documents.

Give Feedback