LBBW: Ms Bubik, why do SME customers frequently opt for export finance from LBBW?
Nanette Bubik: One of our strengths is that we don’t just focus on a few markets and we don’t just work with large volumes of finance. We feel a close bond with SMEs – and are very happy to provide our customers with support wherever they do business and wherever they need it. This is why we have built up a strong team. In addition to our employees here in Germany, we are represented at 18 foreign locations worldwide. This is an important requirement for us to be able to work quickly and with the utmost reliability for our corporate customers.
worldwide have an LBBW presence.
LBBW: The German SME sector has been largely globalised for some time now. How do you as a bank keep pace with this development?
Bubik: Customer proximity is very important to us, whether that’s in Germany or other parts of the world. This is why we have advisors not only in Stuttgart, but also in Leipzig and Mainz, for example, who operate as points of contact for local exporters. As a bank, we have very strong regional roots in Germany, which is and will remain an important part of our brand essence. However, our global representative offices also make us a reliable local partner in the world’s most important markets. Our advisory network is also complemented by our export finance hubs in London, Mexico and Singapore. The Singapore hub, for example, serves the entire South East Asian market.
LBBW: Are there nevertheless regional focal points for your export finance?
Bubik: There are certainly markets that we are more familiar with, such as Turkey, Russia, India and Brazil. However, the focal points are changing. We are seeing increased activity from our customers not only in South East Asia, but also in challenging countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall, we have several hundred borrowers worldwide for whom we provide export finance, and there are a large number of other countries on the list.
Exports to emerging markets and developing countries are often made possible in the first place by Hermes cover.
LBBW: Why does Hermes cover specifically play such an important role?
Bubik: Hermes cover and other credit insurance schemes play a crucial role, as the finance solution can function as a tool to promote sales. Exports to emerging markets and developing countries are often made possible in the first place by Hermes cover, and it also gives the exporter a number of hedging options against political and economic risks. Transactions with buyers in countries that are difficult to assess and, by virtue of their investment nature, also generally have long terms – usually ten years and up to twenty years for renewable energy – are challenging for exporters and banks alike. This is where state export credit guarantees have an extremely important role to play, for both banks and exporters – especially in times of crisis.