Friday, May 17, 2013 by
The Finance, Credit and International Business Association (FCIB) will hold its first Spring Conference at the National Association of Credit Management’s (NACM’s) 117th Credit Congress & Exposition on May 18-21, 2013 at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. NACM's Credit Congress has always provided a venue for both domestic and international credit professionals who extend business-to-business credit, but with the inclusion of a specialized Spring Conference comes a focus on the growing opportunities in global trade.
“The purpose of the FCIB Spring Conference is to expand the knowledge base for U.S. companies that are starting to export, and to further educate and provide tools for the advanced international credit management executive,” said Marta Chacon, CICP, FCIB Director - The Americas. “The specially-designed sessions will address the pressing issues facing international trade professionals around the world, and provide the solutions that work in various global markets.”
The FCIB sessions, integrated into the Credit Congress schedule of events, focus on expanding the efficiencies in international credit management. Topics include how to create profit, reduce risks, identify the potential pitfalls in exporting, discuss ethical compliance in order to work effectively on a global level and cover the intricacies of doing business in the United States' largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico.
The Spring Conference comes on the heels of other noteworthy FCIB endeavors. Earlier this month, FCIB entered into a strategic partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service to promote exporting under President Barack Obama's National Exporting Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. The partnership aims to make it easier for all U.S. companies to take advantage of exporting opportunities offered around the globe, with FCIB acting as a portal through which exporters can find the tools and resources they need. Under the partnership, FCIB has already played a role in the development of the third edition of the International Trade Agency’s Trade Finance Guide, and the first Spanish-language version of the guide.
“With an estimated 95% of the world’s buying power existing outside the United States, U.S. businesses of all sizes should consider the benefits of selling their products and services abroad,” said Chacon. “By incorporating a spring conference into the yearly Credit Congress, FCIB furthers its role in helping companies expand into the international market. With FCIB's sessions open to all registrants, those looking to begin exporting, as well as already-advanced international trade professionals, receive the benefits of tailored education, in addition to numerous networking opportunities and an expo of product and service providers that a large venue offers.”
FCIB and NACM welcome walk-in registrants and the press.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 by
In a meeting that followed the Finance, Credit and International Business Association’s (FCIB’s) Annual International Credit and Risk Management Summit, members of the European Commission promoted the purposes and potential for success of the European Late Payment Directive. Those many aren't convinced that setting harder limits on the amount of days government entities and debtor companies will actually cause positive change and trump local laws, especially in places where slow paying is an engrained culture, some see it as an important step.
“It’s the best thing to happen in credit management in a decade because now we have European [Union] support. That gives us higher profile as credit managers,” said Mark Harrison, chief executive of the Czech Institute of Credit Management during a panel during the FCIB event.
In an FCIB interview onTuesday, Antti Peltomaki, deputy director-general of the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General, said he understands the those being skeptical over the speed of cultural change, but sees the Directive as a critical step in the right directions for credit-granting businesses. “It is good and important to have the legal framework...It is up to you whether you want to do something," said Peltomaki.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer
The extended version of this story, including more from Peltomaki, published in this week's edition of eNews, is available by clicking here.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 by
At this week’s Finance, Credit and International Business Association’s (FCIB’s) Annual International Credit and Risk Management Summit in Prague, two FCIB members—Angela Bradbury, ICCE and Daniel Van Damme—were presented with its distinguished Service, Development and Growth (SDG) Award.
Bradbury, group credit and payable manager with Innospec, Inc. in the United Kingdom, and Van Damme, group working capital manager with Tessenderlo Chemie SA in Belgium, joined the short list of SDG award winners. Van Damme serves as the chairperson of the Chemicals Industry Group and Bradbury serves on FCIB’s European Advisory Council and is a frequent conference speaker, taking part in the Prague summit and scheduled to present at next week’s Credit Congress in Las Vegas.
“They have tirelessly worked to educate their staff, to really contribute and give back into the international credit community,” said Noelin Hawkins, FCIB director, Europe, The Middle East & Asia. “I can’t recall anyone working harder.”
The award is designed recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making to further grow and develop FCIB’s member services and to encourage more people to serve. The first winner of the award, Mannes Westhuis, LL.M., CICP, Bierens Debt Recovery Lawyers, also eloquently described it as something that represents a win-win situation for today’s international credit-related professional: getting in touch with customers and information on leads, while “being socially and professionally responsible.”
- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICIP, NACM staff writer
Thursday, May 9, 2013 by
The Finance, Credit and International Business Association (FCIB) is already an important global source of exporting education and professional networking. Now, however, the association is expanding to become a portal through which exporters of all sizes can find the tools and resources they need to effectively grow their business through international trade.
Most recently, at the Port of Los Angeles' Trade Connect seminar held on May 8, FCIB, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA), unveiled the first-ever Spanish-language edition of the ITA's Trade Finance Guide. FCIB member Diego Jiménez, ICCE, credit analyst at Accuride International, Inc., was instrumental in the review of the translated guide, as well as to the program of this week's Trade Connect seminar. Another FCIB member, Timothy Bastian, ICCE, corporate credit manager for Western Oilfields Supply Company, also presented a session at the event.
The announcement came on the heels of FCIB and ITA signing a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) in order to increase awareness in the U.S. business community, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses, of the opportunities offered by exporting, as well as the tools and resources available to companies through the two organizations. The MOU builds on previous collaborations between FCIB and ITA, beginning with the drafting of the original Trade Finance Guide, its subsequent updates and now its first Spanish-language edition.
“By working together, FCIB and ITA are making it easier for all U.S. companies to take advantage of the exporting opportunities offered around the globe," said FCIB's Director–Americas Marta Chacon, CICP. "The Trade Finance Guide, which is now in its third edition and is now available to Spanish-speaking business owners, is only the first step in what will be a long line of collaborations geared toward unlocking world markets for businesses of all sizes."
Through the MOU and updated Trade Finance Guide, FCIB is becoming more deeply ingrained in the policy goals outlined in President Barack Obama's National Exporting Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. FCIB's partnership with ITA puts them in good company with the U.S. Commercial Service's other strategic partners and will enable the association to better support the goals of the NEI by educating U.S. businesses about the benefits of exporting and directing them to the wealth of public and private resources available to assist them.
Monday, April 29, 2013 by
The National Association of Credit Management’s CMI for April 2013 for April 2013, available by Tuesday afternoon, is expected to report less than optimistic conditions, including more companies feeling the stress of the slow economy and failing to meet payment terms.
The release will illustrate that the Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) for April fell to levels not seen in over a year. Though still expected to be in expansion territory (above a level of 50), things are certainly heading in the wrong direction. The real damage to the CMI is expected to come from the unfavorable factors categories. To wit, the most dramatic declines are to be found in dollar amount beyond terms and amount of customer deductions.
“The collapse in dollar amount beyond terms signals that many companies have entered the danger zone,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. “The sense is that many companies are now on the brink of real trouble, and if the economy continues to stall, there will be some overt business collapse in the next quarter or two.”
There are expected to be some positive notes, including a slight gain and stability, respectively, in the sales and new credit applications categories comprising the favorable factors index.
The complete CMI report for April 2013, available by Tuesday afternoon, contains more commentary, complete with tables and graphs. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by
As predicted in a 2011 Business Credit magazine article, the United States’ solar energy industry has taken its share of lumps over the last two years, but there are still those purporting the massive potential that solar holds. Whether true or not, there are real and continuing risks for everyone involved in the industry, and the government budget fight and “sequester” only adds a whole new dimension to potential problems, especially for survivors of the first wave of domestic solar-related bankruptcies.
U.S. product manufacturers are contending with what they see as unfair assistance to competing solar manufacturing sectors in Asia by their governments, especially that of China. The U.S. placed tariffs on Chinese imports, but the measures were seen as somewhat weak and coupled with evidence that some Chinese firms are simply off-shoring operations to areas like Singapore where such tariffs aren’t in play. In addition, the glut of U.S. producers left over from the cheap lending days of the financial boom of the late-2000s caused an industry saturation that became a real problem when demand fell during lower growth years. The two issues led to several high-profile bankruptcy filings headlined by that of Solyndra, which had ties to key Obama Administration fundraisers investigated for widespread fraud and reaping huge amounts in government grants.
Michael Joncich, manager of the business insolvency department for NACM affiliate Credit Management Association for NACM affiliate Credit Management Association, was among those who predicted the problems in 2011. He now speculates that reduced federal subsidies, grants and other assistance aren’t likely to help current matters. “Government can make or break an industry. I don’t really know if the shakeout is done yet,” he said.
Joncich noted that a colleague in the liquidation business recently learned everything he could about green businesses, thinking it was a bubble ready to pop, especially once it became apparent that the government was retracting its “generous funding” of those industries, including solar. “The observation is that they can’t seem to fund themselves,” he said. “When the government pulls back because of federal budget cutbacks, many can’t survive it,” he said.
It doesn’t mean all solar manufacturers are doomed, but there are enough red flags that virtually all creditors dealing with customers related to the solar industry should be paying close attention to them, their accounts and their terms.
- Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer
Thursday, March 7, 2013 by
New learning tracks and the evolution of professional designations are part and parcel for keeping up with the varying and progressing needs of today’s business professionals, including those in credit. After a review of existing programs, and careful consideration and development, NACM announced in March the latest in a long line of world-class program designations: The Certified Credit and Risk Analyst (CCRA).
The CCRA is unlike NACM’s other longtime designation programs in that it is a standalone program. It exists outside of NACM’s “Career Roadmap” that includes the Credit Business Associate (CBA), Credit Business Fellow (CBF) and Certified Credit Executive (CCE), the latter of which is still NACM’s top-level designation for members.
The CCRA was created after Financial Statement Analysis II was removed from the CBF designation, with the new requirements effective January 1, 2013. NACM’s Education Department updated the extracted course and renamed it Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation and Credit Risk Assessment to better reflect its emphasis. The updated version is now considered by NACM to be the cornerstone of the CCRA.
“We realized that Financial Statement Analysis II wasn’t for everyone, and that it served as a bit of a roadblock to the CBF for some members. However, we also recognized that some credit department personnel need that in-depth, advanced financial analysis background, which is why this standalone designation was created,” said NACM President Robin Schauseil, CAE.
As with other designation courses, Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation and Credit Risk Assessment can be taken by itself as a certificate session. However, earning the CCRA requires the completion of three courses: Basic Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis I and the new Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation and Credit Risk Assessment. The methods available to complete each course vary and can be found under “Education” at www.nacm.org. The first opportunity to take Financial Statement Analysis, Interpretation and Credit Risk Assessment is a five-segment session and exam held at Credit Congress from May 18-23.
Though separate from the “roadmap” lineup of certifications, the CCRA will serve as key program for credit professionals tied to deeper financial analysis responsibilities, and for those who will be in the future. It is also designed to build background and add key skill sets for those already pursuing a designation. “If you’ve earned your CBA and want, or need more financial analysis skills, this is for you,” Schauseil said. “It’s a great precursor to the CCE even though it’s not a part of the NACM career roadmap. It’s also a great precursor for NACM's Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management.”
To learn more about the CCRA, visit Education at www.nacm.org, or call 410-740-5560.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by
The Credit Managers’ Index (CMI), due for release by NACM on Thursday morning, isn’t expected to set any records, but the February statistics do appear set to track more favorably than in January.
One of the most important factors to watch, sales, is expected to show an uptick even though non-business factors seem to be playing a significant role as a drag on the category. “The strength of this indicator can’t be overlooked, as this signals substantial activity despite all the concerns registered over the ‘fiscal cliff,’ the debt ceiling and the sequester” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. “However, the impact has been hard to figure out. On the one hand, it is pretty obvious that the lower GDP number from the fourth quarter was directly related to fiscal cliff concerns within the business community, but the latest revisions show no dip into recession, as first thought.”
Unfavorable factor index categories are expected to show progress or at least stability. Also expected to track well are service-side indicators, in part because of what appears to be the long-awaited rebound of the housing sector. Granted, it has a long way to go. The manufacturing sector likely will be dicier in the February CMI.
Words like “caution” and “reluctance” appear to be the most bandied about in the manufacturing world, again, most likely because of ongoing problems to get things done by Washington, DC lawmakers. And, since manufacturing-based decisions must be made in advance, confidence in where things are going is crucial. That has been largely absent in advance of the February CMI.
“All of this is taking place against a backdrop of political drama that many believe will cause serious economic dislocation before all is said and done, and it seems to be the manufacturing sector that is harboring the most concern,” said Kuehl. Fortunately, with some of the most stressed sectors on the service side making what look to be a series of comebacks, it should be enough to offset the uncertainty that is dogging manufacturing at present.
-National Association of Credit Managment
The February CMI, with full statistics and analysis, are available now at www.nacm.org.
Thursday, February 7, 2013 by
The latest edition of the National Association of Credit Management's (NACM's) Credit Managers' Index (CMI) marks its 10th-year anniversary of providing financial professionals, economists and policymakers with a startlingly accurate forecasting tool.
Since its inception in January 2003, the CMI's methodology has undergone a number of revisions, but never stopped being an immensely powerful economic predictor. In 2007 it was even able to tip analysts off to the start of the "Great Recession" in December 2007, showing a noteworthy decline in October of the same year.
Throughout the recession, the CMI reflected a remarkable sensitivity to the intricacies of the economic downturn, and resisted the month-to-month swings that characterized other economic indicators. Eventually it anticipated the recession's end as well, showing signs of market stabilization and nascent growth as early as February 2009, while the actual recession came to an end four months later in June.
The CMI's strength as a forecasting tool comes from the insight of credit and risk management professionals, whose responsibility it is to know what's coming next. "I think it's the nature of credit management," said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. "Credit managers are as concerned about the condition of their clients 15, 30, 60 and 90 days from now as they are today. The tendency is to think ahead."
Moreover, the structure of the CMI survey eliminates the opportunity to speculate. Other economic indices ask respondents what their company intends to do in the coming months, but intentions don't always align with reality. "As soon as you start getting into that kind of conjecture, you kind of weaken the data," said Kuehl. "When responding to the CMI question, 'Do you have more credit applications?' there isn't a lot of room for interpretation. You're getting responses that have to do with credit applications and the status of accounts, and most of that stuff is oriented to the future."
Over the last decade these factors have combined to create an unrivaled forecasting tool that's relied upon by those in the highest levels of finance and economic policy. As participation continues to grow and people continue to recognize its value, the CMI looks poised for another winning decade.
For more on the CMI, or to participate, click here.
- NACM staff
Friday, February 1, 2013 by
The January Credit Managers' Index (CMI), published by the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), dipped slightly as it painted the picture of an economy in transition.
To find the kind of variety found in the most recent edition of the CMI, one would have to travel all the way back to 2008, in the months that preceded the slide into the recession. For every sign that things were deteriorating at that time, there was a part of the index that looked solid and unaffected by the impending crisis. Now, however, that transition is showing again, but seems to point in the opposite direction: for every factor suggesting that the economy is still in the doldrums, there are one or two other factors that point to better days ahead.
For example, while sales improved in this month's report, new credit applications declined, signaling potential trouble ahead. "The number for new credit applications is important in that it tends to anticipate the gains some of the other factors will have later,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. “If there is not much in the way of new credit activity, it is a signal that fewer companies are in expansion mode."
The complete CMI report for January 2013 contains more commentary, complete with tables and graphs and individual data for the manufacturing and services sectors. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.
Friday, December 28, 2012 by
Though a number of favorable factors that help comprise the National Association of Credit Management’s Credit Mangers’ Index (CMI), problems with sales ultimately outweighed the positive toward the end of 2012.
The CMI, available Friday afternoon (see link at bottow of story), will show a slight decline for the month largely on disappointing sales figures. NACM economists Chris Kuehl believes this reinforces the notion that business is stalled out in anticipation of what might happen with spending and taxation next year. There was some cautious optimism just one month ago in the CMI, but that optimism has seemingly evaporated, as it seems all but certain that there will be no settlement of lasting value on the “fiscal cliff” issue paralyzing Congress and the Obama Administration.
Other favorable factors statistics were not expected to register the same level of distress, even though a few small declines were expected. Additionally, the unfavorable factor index for December will show only a slight decline. The overall sense is that this month’s decline is due to the tensions existing among (and caused by) federal lawmakers. The inability of Congress and the president to make a deal has already cost significant economic growth, and it is now anticipated that real decline in GDP growth will be the next outcome.
“The reaction captured in this month’s CMI shows a stark lack of confidence as opposed to anything substantial,” said Kuehl. “The overall news for the economy has been pretty good, and so it is with much of the CMI. The factors most connected to mood and confidence are the ones slipping. The whole business community seems to be in state of suspense.”
The complete CMI report for December 2012 contains more commentary, complete with tables and graphs. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 by
The October Credit Managers’ Index, available now at www.nacm.org, reflected the mood of the overall economy, one with some aspects point in a positive direction and others decidely the opposite.
The sense is that a few of the big issues that have been affecting other economic measures are having an impact on the CMI. While it is hard to point explicitly at the “fiscal cliff” as a cause for overall decline, it is quite apparent that the uncertainty affecting business decision-making is having an impact, as some of the future indicators are weaker than expected at this point.
The most distressing category in this month’s survey, and the one that seems to point to the fiscal cliff issue, would be sales. CMI statistics on sales show a decline to the lowest level since the middle of 2011. While disappointing and troublesome, sales remains in expansion terriorty, if nothing else.
"The silver lining in this case would be that a solution to the crisis would likely result in a jump in capital expenditures and investment in general, said Chris Kuehl, PhD, economist for the National Association of Credit Management (NACM) regarding the fiscal cliff issue. "The downside is that the powers that be could still allow the unthinkable to occur."
Meanwhile, favorable and unvavorable factors stayed on the encouraging side of the growth/contraction line. However, one particular category of importance showed a significant decrease. Dollar amount beyond terms sported the biggest decline among unfavorable factors. In the past, this has indicated that companies are starting to struggle to meet their obligations, and in the months to come some of the other negatives start to accelerate.
The complete CMI report for October 2012 contains the full commentary, complete with tables and graphs. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.
Thursday, October 11, 2012 by
Small business lending is expected to increase according to the most recent survey of bank risk professionals published by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).
Bankers expressed widespread optimism about the small business lending sector, voting by more than a two-to-one margin that the approval rate for small business loans and the total amount of credit extended to small businesses would increase rather than decrease. More than half of all respondents predicted that the overall supply of small business credit would meet demand, although this could simply be a symptom of weak demand rather than a boost in available credit.
Notably, survey respondents were less positive about small businesses' requests for credit. In the first-quarter survey, a large majority of 61.9% of respondents predicted an increase in the amount of credit requested by small business. This figure increased to 69.1% in the second-quarter survey, but fell hard to 56.5% in this quarter's survey. This is still a positive trend, with a majority of participants expecting increased requests for credit, increased approval rates and increased credit in general, but it's not as positive as many had hoped.
Still, the third-quarter survey, conducted for FICO by the Professional Risk Managers' International Association (PRMIA), didn't leave the banking industry wanting for reasons to be anxious. Concerns in the student loan market were rampant in the survey, with a 61% majority of respondents expecting delinquencies on student loans to increase over the next six months. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter that respondents have predicted a worsening of student loan delinquencies.
Commercial credit risk managers might not have to worry about the threat of student loan defaults, unless they're their own, but the adverse effects on the economy at large from these delinquencies could be potent.
- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 by
A poll of small business owners finds that the perception on the street is that it is unlikely they’ll be approved for the credit they ask for – whether via a partial amount granted or full-on denial – so many have simply stopped applying. But there does seem to be some optimism out there for the next year, whether based on tangible signs or blind hope. Meanwhile, interviews from the poll seem to tangentially promote an idea near and dear to NACM: workers need to advance and expand the roles of their positions to boost their stability.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York unveiled its Small Business Borrowers Poll, which included results that indicated microloans are at a peak demand right now yet remain highly difficult to garner, especially among start-ups. This often is the case even for new businesses run by a proprietor with a sterling credit history. Poll results based on N.Y. Fed polling also found that nearly 50% of those small business that did not apply for credit/bank loans, opted not to do so out of belief and/or fear of rejection. Perhaps that is with good reason as only 13% of those who did apply in recent months and participated in the poll received the full amount requested. Just more than one-third received a portion of the requested amount, according to the N.Y. Fed.
Additionally, interviews included in the Fed’s report shined a light on the widely held believe that small business owners do not see smooth sailing for most of the remainder of 2012, even if they are upbeat about things being better at this time next year. But, in the meantime, business owners are preparing as if credit isn’t going to come their way, and want employees, from sales to credit, to realize the importance of stepping out of the traditional box of their job descriptions to provide more value and, thus, boost the prospects for the business and their job security alike.
“Whatever you think cash-flow-wise you will need for your worst, worst scenario, like the one you think is never going to happen, double it,” said Allison O’Neill, a New York clothing store proprietor interviewed by the Fed. “Everyone who works here wears many hats…Everyone who's here is a sales associate and a social media manager, and a marketing manager, and an inventory specialist…”
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer
(Note: To view the full report, visit http://www.newyorkfed.org/smallbusiness/2012/).
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by
NACM National Chairman Marshall Kahn, CCE, kicked off the second full day of the 2012 Credit Congress with news that NACM enjoyed its second consecutive year of profitability after a couple of lean years during the deep U.S. and global recession.
Kahn noted that membership remains well above 15,000 at 2011's end, yet reiterated the importance for members with potential for national and board of directors to step up to become a board volunteer in the near future. And though speaking about the importance of Washington advocacy and calling your lawmakers on behalf of issues important to credit professionals, his sentiment about taking action drew parallels on other key issues for the association and profession, such as membership recruitment.
“Please don't assume that others will carry the burden of acting,” Kahn said. “Each of you plays such an important part through participation.”
Among those showing the way in that regard were affiliates MACM Midwest, NACM Upstate New York in Buffalo and NACM Wisconsin; and each of which received a 2012 membership award.
Kahn also invoked a long-standing theme at NACM: Strength in numbers. It's a theme speaker/author Garrison Wynn also drew upon during his presentation. The former comedian energetically delivered a speech about the need for credit managers to prove competence and trustworthiness in credit departments, all while peppering in a healthy dose of humor for the Credit Congress delegates. And, as he put it, trust is largely built on two things; compassion and competence.
And while teamwork and strength in numbers matters, Wynn also stressed to delegates the need to, as an individual, act naturally. Every winning team needs different personalities, even employees that could be labeled as negative (they might be the one that sees a problem in advance that some more optimistic employees might miss).
“The reality of things is we have to be honest about who we are...voice what you know,” Wynn said.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer
(Note: Check back for more on-site coverage from 2012 Credit Congress throughout the week).
Thursday, May 31, 2012 by
The latest Credit Managers’ Index (CMI), now available at NACM’s website (www.nacm.org), finds an manufacturing and service sector swoons in play yet again in 2012 despite what was seen as strong potential at the onset of the year.
The main sense provided by the new CMI statistics is that consumers are feeling tentative. This is compounded by what NACM Economist Chris Kuehl intimates are significant secondary scenarios contributing to the “spring swoon:” those being continued concern over the European financial crisis, high domestic unemployment and inflationary pressure. Granted, conditions have not deteriorated to a point that calls for panic on the part of businesses and credit professionals.
“The gains made in the last year have largely been erased, and now the question is whether there will be a swift and significant comeback,” said Chris Kuehl, PhD, economist for the National Association of Credit Management (NACM). “The [CMI’s] drop from April to May is not quite as steep as the one from March to April, but the decline is worrisome nonetheless.”
The CMI report for May 2012 is available online now and contains full commentary, complete with tables and graphs. CMI archives may also be viewed online.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer
Thursday, March 8, 2012 by
Two global service providers recently joined forces to create a new way to facilitate trade finance.
SWIFT, a financial messaging provider for institutions in 210 countries, and the banking commission of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) collaborated on the Bank Payment Obligation (BPO), a new payment tool that can be used between banks and looks poised to enhance, or possibly replace, commercial and confirmed letters of credit.
The BPO essentially moves all of the manual tasks associated with using a commercial letter of credit and automates them, creating fewer chances for errors throughout the process. It represents an irrevocable undertaking given by one bank to another bank that payment will be made on a specified date after a specific event has taken place, according to SWIFT-ICC. “This ‘specified event’ is evidenced by a ‘match’ report that has been generated by SWIFT’s Trade Services Utility (TSU), or any equivalent transaction matching application,” they added.
Interoperability between participating banks is made possible by the BPO’s reliance on a standard set of messages, each of which reflects events that have taken place in the physical supply chain, and “create trigger points for the provision of financial supply chain services.” For example, the bank’s systems could generate a message that proposes offering pre-shipment financing based on a trigger point that indicates the confirmed receipt of a purchase order, or a proposition of post-shipment financing based on the receipt of an approved invoice. In either case, the BPO would be used as collateral for the financing.
The reliance of all participating banks on the single messaging standard, called ISO 20022, takes the guesswork out of the documentary credit process. “Open account often fails to provide banks with access to underlying transaction data—impeding their ability to follow relevant events in the physical supply chain,” said SWIFT-ICC. “The BPO and related ISO 20022 messaging standards provide access to relevant data, records and reporting—giving banks the ability to provide risk mitigation, finance and payment services while introducing additional automation and efficiency into the supply chain management process.”
In other words, by matching data according to the messaging standard, banks get a front row seat for the entire supply chain process and can react immediately to the occurrence of certain events. Furthermore, matching the data automatically ultimately removes the subjectivity associated with the manual checking of documents. Instead of having to look at the actual documents and make a judgment call on whether or not they’re correct or in compliance, banks will know instantly if there’s an issue or if the documents are good to go. “There is no subjectivity attached to data matching,” said SWIFT-ICC. “It either matches, or it doesn’t.”
So far SWIFT and ICC have only signed an agreement confirming the framework for the future publication and maintenance of a set of contractual rules that will establish uniformity of practice in the market adoption of the BPO. Stay tuned to NACM’s blog for further developments.
Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by
Expect to see continued gains from the February Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) when it’s released Wednesday morning. In addition to solid growth in the overall index, certain key categories received a boost and provided another dose of confidence to the still leery American economy.
“The mood of the country could best be described as cautious and perhaps a little encouraged as far as economic growth prospects are concerned,” said Chris Kuehl, PhD, economist for the National Association of Credit Management (NACM). The question mark stems from the last month’s sudden spike in oil prices and its potential impact on the price of gasoline. Kuehl noted that in the past this kind of leap was enough to send the economy hurtling back into recession, but thus far the consumer seems to be taking it in stride.
How long the even temperament of consumers will last is anyone’s guess, but if the threat of high prices turns out to be a temporary one, expect both consumers and businesses to breathe heavy sighs of relief and return to focusing on the good news that has so far dominated the start of 2012. “There has been good news on the job front, better demand numbers, better growth numbers and better numbers in the CMI,” Kuehl added.
Sales numbers also grew in February, which signaled future improvements in the index’s unfavorable factors in the months to come. “An expansion in sales allows companies to catch up on their debt and improve their overall credit standing,” said Kuehl. “This bump in overall business activity is a precursor to additional expansion.”
The full CMI report for February 2012 with commentary, tables and graphs will be available Wednesday. CMI archives may also be viewed here.
Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer
Monday, January 30, 2012 by
The January Credit Manager’s Index (CMI), to be unveiled Tuesday afternoon, is expected to illustrate a small positive increase from the holiday-assisted December index. It’s much like the positive out of the gates found by the CMI in January 2011 – but, this time, some key statistics within seem to predict a better follow-up to the strong start than one year ago.
Chris Kuehl, PhD, National Association of Credit Management (NACM) economist, noted the parallels between this and last year, but also spelled out the potential “staying power” behind this year’s January finish that was absent by Spring 2011. New sales in January will see a bump in the not-yet-public CMI results. In fact, January’s sales numbers will show themselves to be the best in many months. That said, nothing is a guarantee going forward in this up-and-down economic recovery
“The next few months will bear watching to see if this sales trend is repeated and sustained longer than it was in 2011,” said Kuehl. One area Kuehl seems to believe will be a harbinger of a better late winter/early spring in 2012 is a bump in new credit applications:
“The jump from December [to January] was nothing short of spectacular,” Kuehl foreshadowed. “The trend toward more credit applications suggests a lot of new activity; it is equally encouraging that there was a gain in the number of credit applications accepted.”
(Note: The online CMI report for January 2012 contains the full commentary, complete with tables and graphs and will be available Tuesday. CMI archives may also be viewed online).
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by
The Credit Managers' Index, to be unveiled Wednesday afternoon, is set to show the overall index was largely unchanged over the last month. But, given that September had been seen as a major success, that’s not necessarily such a bad thing. What is a bad thing, even if it’s likely to be short-lived, is the noticeable drop in sales levels.
Perhaps the quickest, most accurate way to describe the to-be-unveiled CMI is to use just two words: mixed bag.
“If one is of a more pessimistic bent, there is the continued high rate of unemployment, the struggles in the housing sector and the sense that nobody in the political realm has a clue what to do about any of this,” said Chris Kuehl, PhD, economist for the National Association of Credit Management (NACM). “There is the mess in Europe, the gyrations in stocks and consumer polls that suggest that vast numbers of people are in bed with the covers pulled over their heads. If you tend toward optimistic, there is something for you as well, especially recently.”
Perhaps the reason for those optimistic lies in the stability in recent months for the manufacturing sector, which is said to continue in November and reflect strength found in May, before a disconcerting summer dip. Additionally, market-watchers may be licking their chops on the news that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures were up significantly. However, those numbers won’t actually show up in the CMI statistics until next month Without the holiday sale/marketing-inspired shopping numbers, sales will be off quite a bit in November and are said to track at the lowest level of the year.
Most economic indicators were pretty stable, aside from the dwindling number of bankruptcy filings. Kuehl, who prepares the CMI, notes the feeling is most companies that were going to file or fold have already done so. Granted, U.S. businesses haven’t purged all financial issues, “but, going forward, many companies will see opportunities to gain market share from those competitors that have left the scene and that strengthens their ability to gain momentum in the coming year,” the economist said.
(Editor’s Note: The November CMI will be release through various sources this afternoon. Check back at www.nacm.org in the home page’s news scroll to get all of the November CMI statistics and analysis).
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer