GRAHAM BRIGHT, AN ACCOMPLISHED BUSINESS LEADER, BRINGING A TIDE OF CHANGE IN GLOBAL TRADE

Euro Exim Bank Ltd. is one of the renowned and top-notch financial institutions, established in 2015. It serves clients and businesses involved in cross-border transactions with a range of financial instruments and specialised services.

Euro Exim Bank is a prominent institution with a ‘Class A’ international banking license from Financial Services Regulatory Authority of St. Lucia and a member of the Caribbean Association of Banks. The firm aims to be a trusted partner, connecting businesses to new opportunities and empowering them to thrive in today’s competitive world under the dynamic leadership of Graham Bright. Mr Graham is a dignified and excellent administrator and initiator of various innovative ideas. He has gained global recognition in the illustrious Business Worldwide Magazine (BWM) Awards program, for his client-focused disruptive approach to global trade finance.

THE BACK STORY 

Graham studied Business and Law at University and then worked in a US partner company of Unilever specializing in computer time sharing applications.   Three years at Control Data in credit analysis applications, banking and treasury systems was followed by 20 years at SWIFT in sales and partner solutions, culminating with working with application vendors and market infrastructures such as The Bank of England on RTGS projects.

Subsequently, he was MD at the technology subsidiary of a French Bank for 5 years, EMEA SME on Investment Management and international banking at EMC, and after a period of consulting, joined Euro Exim Bank in 2015.

At EEB, Graham’s primary role is to keep the bank safe by negating and mitigating risk in the bank’s processes, software and client activity. The role involves meeting with clients, regulators, applying local, national and international rules, mandates and recommendations.   He also engages with the Board and IT in reviewing KYC, AML, due diligence, KYE software.

It does not pay to be too specialist these days and EEB are not just a trade finance bank.  EEB is also a wholesale banking organisation (i.e. without high street retail outlets), specifically working with clients in key trade locations through web and mobile transactions.

SERVICE PORTFOLIO 

Values like trust, leadership, experience, personal relationships, country expertise, speed of response, cost-effective instruments and above all continued contact and information sharing make Euro Exim Bank stand out in the market. Here is the list of services offered by the bank:

  • Financial instruments facilitate trade for Importers – such as Letters of Credit and Standby Letters of Credit providing rapid processing of digitalised documentation with minimum time on paperwork.
  • Bank Guarantees – for those who need a guarantee to bid and win big-budget tenders, EEB is authorized to issue Bid Bonds, Tender Guarantees and Retention Guarantees.
  • Advance Payment Guarantee and Performance Bank Guarantees – For exporters who need specific instruments to guarantee trades.
  • Online Bank Accounts – With 24×7 availability, providing safe banking facilities.
  • Merchant Bank Accounts – For buyers and sellers who operate across the globe, the facility accepts online payments, using any type of card, with low rates, safe and secure transactions.

HURDLES ON THE WAY 

Today, there are more challenges today than ever. With ever-changing Government advice on health matters, industry decimated by lockdown and lack of on-site staff, hopes of rebuilding an economy ravaged by potential unemployment, businesses have never before had to be so constructive, intelligent and agile in order to survive. And this is not just a UK or European issue, as all countries are affected, with many familiar business names already a fleeting memory.

LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES 

First, listening and asking people about their views. Nobody knows everything even though many people think they do!  The art of leadership is very much about gathering thoughts and ideas, testing theories, getting consensus, and creating a logical strategic plan with goals, milestones and tangible reachable yet ambitious targets.

Secondly, leadership is about ensuring staff members are not only happy in their roles but that they contribute to the success of the business. They work with a company, not for a company, are proud to be in the team, and are given challenging objectives. The management team also helps them achieve them, with a solid foundation of training, assistance in their daily roles, providing expertise in unusual situations, and all the materials necessary to do their jobs and enable success.

Thirdly, espousing honesty and trust.  The trade industry with its complex ecosystem of diverse players is a prime target for fraudulent instruments, theft of cargoes, diverted vessels and blatant cybercrime where scams, fake goods, sanctioned items and untrustworthy people are commonplace.  They take extreme measures to vet and protect their staff and their customers, working ethically and morally to ensure people get what they pay for according to tight contractual conditions.

WHAT IS SUCCESS? 

“Success for me is creating and working with experienced self-sufficient teams where they are ready and prepared to use the information techniques and lessons I have imparted, allowing them to excel in their sales roles,” stated Graham.

“It is also being recognized as an inspirational leader in trade, ‘most innovative executive’, working for one of the world’s most recognized names in the trade, with new technology and forward-thinking products, and participating in high-level industry conferences on all aspects of the ecosystem,” he added.

LEADERSHIP STYLE & SKILL

Graham Bright shared, “People say I am calm, considerate, a listener and someone who wants all the facts before taking action. At EEB we have a very flat organization, and a ‘can-do ‘attitude towards the business requirements of our clients. Our compliance teams start from a premise of ‘yes’, rather than the time-honoured position of major banks being known for stalling or immediately dismissing transactions with a firm immovable ‘NO’.”

“Small firms today are under immense pressure to find organisations willing to support their bona fide trades without tying up their entire cashflow for months on end. Here, our leadership style is important in that we listen, get the facts, consult with experts, manage expectations, look objectively, assess the risk, adjust the collateral requirements accordingly so that trade can go ahead, even if the rates are higher and the title does not get transferred until full payment is made by clients at the end of the transaction life-cycle,” he further added

 “VISION” IN LIFE & THE DRIVING FORCE 

Graham’s vision is quite simplistic. Doing the right thing with respect from peers and doing things right. One cannot regret things you have never done, and for him, he tries as much as possible now being over 60 (apparently the new 40) to experience new things.

These have included lessons in order to be proficient, at least in an elementary way in flying a plane, scuba diving, rock wall climbing, skiing, and in his youth singing for two seasons on stage at the English National Opera in London, and the Met in New York (badly). He is also a Justice of the Peace, fulfilling his sense of public duty  to ‘support, give back to and safeguard the community.’

INSIGHT INTO FUTURE

Whilst all countries are going through challenging times, Graham and his team have seen a sustained increase in global trade. As a direct response, they have taken the ambitious and long-sighted approach of building their team of national and international agents and partners, where they are now looking at serving over 24 countries and increasing their India sales team towards 200 people by the end of the year.

With their additional services in corporate banking, trade platform, Ripple payments and online services, they are constantly developing their capabilities to serve disadvantaged buyers in challenging jurisdictions, hit by reluctance of banks to finance trades, foreign exchange issues, cost of liquidity and growing trade barriers.

A PIECE OF ADVICE 

Building a business takes years, and relies on solid foundations. In the current uncertain economic climate, firms must be realistic in profit and investment outlook, exercise pragmatic management, hire professionals, release the unproductive, listen and learn constantly from peers and competition. Management should understand value and contribution, not just expenditure, and ultimately work out what customers want and keep delivering it.

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