HSBC’s Global Trade and Receivables Finance (GTRF) and IBM have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) solution combining optical character recognition with advanced robotics to automate and digitise trade finance documentation.

Applications that use AI to digitise and automate trade documents also facilitate regulatory compliance screening.

IBM robotics

The solution is already in use in Hong Kong and the UAE, and uses IBM robotics technology to analyse documents, digitising and extracting the relevant data before feeding it into HSBC’s transaction processing systems.

The GTRF team facilitates over US$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.

Quicker and safer

The new solution uses IBM’s advanced analytics technology, including intelligent segmentation and text analytics, to identify, digitise and extract key data within these documents before feeding it into the bank’s transaction processing systems. This improves accuracy whilst freeing up staff to focus on more value-added activities.

According to GTRF, the average trade transaction requires 65 data fields to be extracted from 15 different documents, with 40 pages to be reviewed. By digitising the process HSBC hopes to make transactions quicker and safer for both buyers and suppliers.