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Commercial Banking: Tips for Understanding the Customer's Point of View

Corporate Treasurers face the same opportunities and challenges as other executives. They're in a position to make a direct impact to their company's profitability, especially with their role gaining prominence after the financial crisis. Along with increased responsibilities, Corporate Treasurers struggle with the challenges of scarce human resources to run their complex operations; limited to no funding for technology and operations improvements; and only 24 hours in a day to get everything done.

Corporate Treasurers need advice, guidance, and service from their banking partners like never before. If a banker would ask a group of Corporate Treasurers for their "wish list", here's what it would likely include:

  • Liquidity Management – Help to manage their operating, financing and investment funds.
  • Cash Management – Design easy to buy, easy to use solutions for payments, collections, information reporting, lending, investing, foreign exchange and letters of credit.
  • Cost Management – Deliver solutions with real cost savings as well as cost avoidance benefits.
  • Risk Management – Provide effective monitoring tools to mitigate ever-changing risks related to credit, currency, interest rates, information security, operations, and regulatory compliance.
  • Data Management – Devise efficient and meaningful reporting tools to support partnerships with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), banks, creditors, investors and technology service providers.
  • Technology Management – Strategize how to incorporate new technologies such as real-time payments, blockchain, cryptocurrency and smart contracts.

Is the wish list a tall order? Yes. Is it all possible? Yes.

Corporate Treasurers want banking partners that deliver bespoke solutions in a commoditized banking world. Most banks can deliver all the same services, but the best banks can deliver solutions in ways that are meaningful and beneficial to businesses. Corporate Treasurers will measure a bank's success based on factors such as:

  • Ease of use: Deliver what they want, when they want ("feels like Amazon"), with back office integration
  • Lower costs (personnel, fees, accounts payable processing)
  • New/improved processing capabilities, expanded geographic access, more working capital options
  • Mitigate risk (financial, regulatory and operational)
  • Enable live and self-service support to solve problems, answer inquiries, and provide advice
  • Secure data (information security tools, fraud prevention, Open Banking availability)
  • Optimize financial metrics such as net working capital, current ratio, days sales outstanding

Businesses are willing to pay for value-added, cost beneficial solutions. They will reward banking partners who can deliver those solutions; they will move their accounts away from those who cannot. More than ever, businesses are pushing banks hard, "What can you do for us? What is in it for me?" We all see the power of technology in our personal lives. Now businesses want and need their banks to leverage modern technology too, so that they can grow their businesses. 

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