Oslo and London; June 8th, 2023 - Maritime & Merchant Bank ASA (MMB) in close collaboration with law firm Simonsen Vogt Wiig (SVW), and lawtech company Hunit announce a joint pilot programme for the use of Smart Legal Contract (SLC) loan facility agreements in the financing of merchant marine vessels.
This pilot is a first-of-its-kind use of distributed ledger (Web3) SLC technology and is expected to deliver reduced operational costs and improved risk management for lenders. Based on natural language contract terms developed by SVW and converted to SLCs using Hunit’s AI-powered tools, MMB's clients will benefit from simplified processes, streamlined monitoring, and improved contract fulfilment. Importantly, the implementation of SLCs does not require borrowers to adopt any new technologies or systems, as they can sign and interact with SLCs through Hunit's secure SLC web portal. The SLC pilot programme combines SVW’s sector leading legal expertise, MMB’s commercial innovation, and Hunit’s pioneering SLC platform to produce a court enforceable contract with a best-in-class legal foundation and fully compliant use of embedded, self-fulfilling automation. AI-created SLC automation within the natural language agreement addresses actions including the submission, logging, and approval of required documentation, monitoring of interest rates and calculation of payments, post-closing reporting, covenant monitoring, and more. This eases administrative burden and enhances risk control while incorporating innovative features like continuous vessel location monitoring against the evolving global sanctions environment. Looking ahead, MMB, SVW and Hunit recognize the large potential for SLC use within the maritime finance sector and plan for additional pilots based on Hunit’s use-case agnostic SLC architecture.
Halvor Sveen, CEO of Maritime & Merchant Bank ASA, commented “We’re pleased to make this announcement during the globally important NorShipping conference taking place in our home territory. As a specialised lender focused on the merchant marine sector, Maritime & Merchant Bank is able to make targeted use of important innovation to improve the services we offer our clients. We believe that Smart Legal Contracts represent a transformative advance and look forward to introducing them into client services.” Christine Rødsæther, Partner, Simonsen Vogt Wiig, said “Simonsen Vogt Wiig has a long tradition of being on the leading edge of legal innovation and we look forward to extending our expertise into the Smart Legal Contract sector. Many aspects of commercial lending have not changed in decades, despite serving an increasingly digital global economy. We see Smart Legal Contracts as a product that we gladly offer as an amendment to our legal expertise in order to meet the needs of our clients. As a client focused law firm we need to integrate and fit into the client’s legal process.” Aaron Powers, Hunit CEO further commented “We’re very happy to extend our connection to the marine finance sector. This pilot promises to bring meaningful benefits to Maritime & Merchant Bank’s commercial operations and clients. We expect that it can serve as a reference case demonstrating their market-leading approach. Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s deep expertise brings a robust legal foundation for this use of Hunit’s SLC technology and we look forward to working with the firm to develop their understanding of the space.” About Maritime & Merchant Bank ASA Maritime & Merchant Bank ASA (MMB) started its operation on January 1st 2017 and has since its commencement financed about 160 vessels and have imbursed close to USD 1 billion in loans secured by 1st priority mortgages in ships. Besides serving the domestic market from the main office in Oslo, the bank has clients in most of the major international shipping hubs and is represented in Hamburg, Athens and Singapore. The core client base is small and middled sized ship-owners and investment and project constellations. The major owners of MMB are the German shipowner Henning Oldendorff and the Norwegian investor Endre Røsjø. For further inquiry: Halvor Sveen +47 91340098 Chief Executive Officer firstname.lastname@example.org About Simonsen Vogt Wiig Simonsen Vogt Wiig (SVW) is a commercial law firm with offices in the largest cities in Norway and in Singapore. Our 180 lawyers cover all practice areas and industrial sectors by combining legal expertise with thorough client and trade understanding. In national as well as international rankings, we are ranked as the leading Norwegian law firm in several practice areas . SVW has a very strong representation in the Shipping financial legal market, hence also the office in Singapore, and is one of the country's leading law firms focusing on digital services. For further inquiry: Peter van Dam +47 45487377Chief Digital Officer email@example.com About Hunit Hunit is a British technology company transforming commercial and financial markets by turning today’s static legal contracts into high performance business tools. Hunit’s Web3 technology platform allows natural language agreements to be turned into ‘smart legal contracts’ or ‘SLCs’ that self-fulfil their agreed terms, interacting with counter parties and external systems in real time while generating legally certain records. This addresses the pain-points of current corporate contracting by stripping out manual inefficiency, human error, and siloed interaction. This leads to better risk management, new business models and increased trust in business relationships. Working with the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority, the UK Jurisdictional Taskforce’s Smarter Contracts programme, and a range of industry experts, Hunit has published defining analysis of how to use SLC technology under English law and jurisdiction. This has allowed Hunit to pioneer a uniquely compliant technology solution for the future of commercial and financial contracting. The company is supported by the Allen & Overy’s Fuse programme, the UK Ministry of Justice’s LawtechUK programme, Microsoft for Start-up’s Scale-Up accelerator, and the UK Dept. for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme. For further inquiry: Jan Berger +44 7871 855 655 Chief Commercial Officer firstname.lastname@example.org