Importer Services

Align your investment goals
with your need for liquidity.

Maximize return on working capital
Interest rate risk-management services
Hedging services to manage F/X exposures

When importing products, make sure to get your banker involved as early as the planning phase. Our international import experts can assist you in structuring your payment so that it is most advantageous to you, whether you use letters of credit, documentary collections, or open account.

Click here to download Importers Handbook.

Import letters of credit

Importers need a dependable payment method to help reduce risk and cost. Bank of the West issues letters of credit to your suppliers, ensuring that you will not have to pay for imported goods until they are shipped and the shipping documents have been reviewed for accuracy. A letter of credit can also help you negotiate a lower price by giving the supplier protection against order cancellation.

Standby letters of credit

When you are asked to provide a standby letter of credit as security for open account purchases, or a bid or performance bond for a domestic or international contract, we can assist you with expert advice on the wording of these documents.

BOW Trade services: online import and standby letters of credit

You can apply for an import or standby letter of credit anytime, anywhere online. If you need to issue or amend a letter of credit, our Bank of the West Trade web-based system saves you time. For international imports you can receive and respond to discrepancy notices online. You can also track letter or credit history, balance, and drawing information through the system's comprehensive reporting capabilities.

Documentary collections

If you have a well-established import relationship with your international supplier, save time and lower costs by using documentary collections. The supplier's bank presents the shipping documents and a sight or time draft drawn on your Bank of the West account. We then retain the documents until you have either made payment or accepted the draft. Both sides benefit: the supplier retains control of the goods until paid for; you retain control of your funds until the goods have been shipped.

Express letters of credit

If you only use import letters of credit occasionally and do not have a line of credit with Bank of the West, this is the right instrument for you. The costs are low and the process is simple. You just deposit an amount equivalent to the letter of credit into an interest-bearing account at your Bank of the West branch, and complete a credit and letter of credit application. The letter of credit is then issued–and you are on your way to completing your trade transaction.

Trade cycle financing

If your international import business is growing quickly or is seasonal, your borrowing base may not allow you to access sufficient funds at certain times of the year. Bank of the West is one of just a handful of banks in the U.S. that will analyze your trade cycle and determine what your borrowing needs are; then structure your line to mirror your trading cycle. If you qualify you may be able to borrow up to 100% of the value of your imported goods and not repay until you have collected the receivable.