Credit Sales Can Stimulate Trade, According to Atradius White Paper, But Transparency and Trust are Essential

Jun 10, 2010, 09:28 ET from Atradius NV

MEXICO CITY, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Atradius NV, a leading global credit insurer, has today launched its white paper 'The future of trade credit', the aim of which is to establish the effect that the economic downturn of the past two years will have on companies' inclination to offer credit terms of sale to their business to business customers, and to recommend actions to ensure that credit remains the engine of successful trade.

Based on qualitative interviews with and surveys of businesses operating throughout Europe and in many other countries, the white paper has found a hardening of attitudes between suppliers and buyers, with suppliers in some instances withdrawing credit facilities from their customers, and instead insisting on up-front payment, while powerful buyers have demanded longer credit terms from their hard pressed suppliers.  However, when businesses were asked their views on the future use of trade credit, the concensus was that it will grow to build trust between supplier and buyer, and, with bank finance hard to come by, to allow buyers more time to pay.  

With trade credit in limited supply, the ability to provide buyers with credit terms, and in some cases extended credit terms, has grown in importance. Credit insurance can play an empowering role by giving suppliers confidence to offer credit to their buyers. The white paper urges businesses to treat credit as an aid to mutually successful trade, and questions the wisdom of either suppliers enforcing cash terms, or powerful buyers insisting on extended credit terms that place their suppliers in a difficult financial position.  The paper also advises businesses to be absolutely open about their financial information and future plans with credit insurers, as this can open the door to the support that they can bring to successful credit transactions.  

Survey responses for the paper from small to medium sized entities (SMEs) suggest that they are particularly sensitive to changes in credit terms that could endanger their cash flow, as they have less available capital and access to bank finance than their larger counterparts, and the paper urges banks to refocus on corporate lending as an opportunity for generating profits rather than as a risk.

Atradius Chief Executive Isidoro Unda had this to say about the white paper's findings: "The global economy is always subject to peaks and troughs but the downturn of the last two years has upset the natural rhythm of trade on credit terms.  For trade to function successfully, there needs to be trust between supplier and buyer backed by sensible credit management processes. This requires flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances as well as honesty and openness between all those involved in the transaction -- supplier, buyer, bank and credit insurer. Most of the businesses that followed those principles have emerged from the downturn stronger, while those that refused to acknowledge escalating trading risks have fared worse."

The white paper can be downloaded from

About Atradius:

The Atradius Group provides trade credit insurance, surety and collections services worldwide, and has a presence through 160 offices in 42 countries. Atradius has access to credit information on 52 million companies worldwide and makes more than 22,000 trade credit limit decisions daily. Its products and services aim to reduce its customers' exposure to their buyers who cannot pay for the products and services that they purchase. With total income of more than EUR 1.7 billion and approximately 31% share of the global trade credit insurance market, its products help protect companies throughout the world from payment risks associated with selling products and services on credit.

SOURCE Atradius NV