When it comes to the money side of the fashion apparel industry, seeking financial services can be daunting for brands and retailers who may be considering everything from factoring and letters of credit to supply chain financing and corporate credit cards.
Here, IDB Bank, HSBC, U.S. Bank and CIT Group share how they are innovating the financial services sector today and what solutions they are leveraging specifically for the fashion industry. With insight from key executives in the finance industry, each company revealed its solutions powering today’s retailers and brands and helping to address key challenges.
“For 70 years, apparel companies have looked to IDB Bank for their banking needs,” said Lissa Baum, executive vice president of commercial banking and chief lending officer. To suit their needs, IDB Bank provides a host of services including: checking accounts, money market savings accounts, time deposits, structured time deposits, foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives, customized loans and online banking.
With its headquarters in Manhattan, IDB Bank is located at what Baum calls “the pulse” of the fashion industry, delivering on the wants and needs of apparel companies today.
“We aspire to be the best bank for our clients by putting their needs first, offering unwavering personal service, trusted relationships, and the expertise of our people,” reiterated Baum.
Providing a comprehensive suite of banking products to the apparel and retail sector, (including lending, trade finance, foreign exchange and advisory) HSBC is able to leverage its global footprint to support companies in the markets where they source, operate and sell.
Even despite the complexities and speed of change facilitated by the retail and apparel industry, “HSBC has been supporting the Apparel industry for 50-plus years, and has recognized that our clients need us in times of transition and disruption,” said Eric Fisch, national sector head of retail and apparel, corporate banking at HSBC Bank USA, North America. “We have helped finance all manner of needs from inventory build-ups due to supply disruption, international expansions and acquisitions as our clients look for ways to grow,” reiterated Fisch.
In stride with the growing prominence of direct-to-consumer brands, Fisch cites how HSBC has successfully pivoted to supporting these e-commerce platforms as well, “drawing on our expertise in the industry to pivot to the digital native sales channel.” As more change is likely ahead, HSBC aims to help its clients “capitalize on the opportunities created by disruption,” further advising on betting on a financial partner that has been through prior economic cycles in the industry, understands the risks and carves out new opportunities so businesses can prioritize healthy growth.
Serving complex business needs, U.S. Bank lends “consistent, predictable and reliable” solutions for mid-sized to large corporate clients, offering everything from deposit services and payments to financing, capital and leasing, investments and international trade financing.
U.S. Bank operates a dedicated national retail and apparel group to further leverage the industry and market knowledge its clients need. Specific solutions aligned with the needs of retailers include treasury management, corporate travel and fleet cards, merchant processing and freight payment.
“Today’s retailers are looking for financial partners that truly understand the retail and fashion industry,” said Felicia La Forgia, executive vice president and group head, corporate and commercial banking. “U.S. Bank is well-positioned, with a team of dedicated retail industry bankers, to provide the knowledge and banking experience to help clients succeed in this unique industry,” said La Forgia.
CIT draws on more than a century of experience to meet the financial needs of companies in fashion, apparel, footwear and cosmetics. As a factoring company, its services help designers and manufacturers accelerate cash flow, lower operating expenses and retain the working capital needed to keep creating and producing in an accelerating marketplace. CIT eliminates the hassles of collecting on invoices and protects clients from the hazards of bad debts, so “they can focus on what they do best: growing their business by making products that consumers want to buy.”
“If you’re in fashion, footwear or cosmetics today, you know the pace of change has never been faster,” said Marc Heller, president, commercial services at CIT. With new products and competitors arising daily, Heller believes sales channels are constantly shifting, with new business models adapting and being invented “seemingly overnight.”
“At CIT, we pride ourselves on the diligent research and close customer relationships that lead to client success. And our expertise goes well beyond that of the average lender. Our deep industry knowledge helps guide clients through their industry’s continuous evolution. We stay on top of the latest consumer buying trends across numerous product verticals,” said Heller. Helping clients find the right acquisitions to build their business, while assisting brand accumulators in finding the best operators to produce their goods, CIT aims to stay current in this fast-paced world — providing the financial backing its clients need to build their businesses.