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Cash, Trade and the new customer stickiness

The typical coffee machine chat with players and observers of the corporate banking world lately always seems to come back to the massive change over the past year and a half in how banks have brought their cash management, trade finance and indeed their payments businesses closer together.  There are significant similarities and synergies between these previously siloed areas, particularly in terms of customer relationship:

  • With the Cash Management side of the transaction banking business (re-)discovering the power of strong customer relationships, for example in launching global cash pooling services where "customer stickiness" can mean extending the bank's relationship with 30 branches of a large corporate instead of the 3 branches it was initially banking with.  Even if less money is made with these 3, this slightly declining revenue is easily beaten by the scale of 30 branches to offer banking services to.
  • With Trade Finance (re-)acknowledged not only for its relatively low-risk profile but also its cross-selling potential into payments and therefore cash management when powering the corporates' working capital financing needs beyond traditional trade instruments such as the Letter of Credit but rather into open account-based transactions and more tailor-made financial supply chain services.
  • And with both areas together, the need for a single portal-based channel to manage the related corporate-to-bank communications in a unified and consistent way, strong on self-service capabilities and open in rich data accessibility.

Interestingly, the last point might be quite scary for many transaction bankers and almost contradictory to the stickiness objective (e.g. "isn't it easier for my customer to leave my bank if I am exposing all of its data in a mashable way in a portal?").  However, the latest feedback we are getting seems to point the other way: you have more opportunity to get happier and stickier corporate customers if you are more innovative at openly exposing their data with self-service capabilities into your e-banking services.

Has anyone noticed a similar change of views towards the more open model?


Comments: (1)

Clive Munn
Clive Munn - MFTSE Affairs S.A. - Luxembourg 10 July, 2009, 11:22Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Bank Clients are really disillusioned and frustrated with banks that still have heavy, inefficient paper processes. Actually this starts with the opening and closing of accounts, even before funds transfers and cash management. Here the eBAM initiatives have already started to become available by various banks. These systems:

  • Enable corporate clients to open, maintain and close accounts electronically
  • Streamline workflows and create efficiencies by reducing manual, paper-based account processes, freeing up resources for more strategic, value-added functions
  • Increase visibility into banking processes thereby enhancing predictability and enabling business planning
  • Enable faster processing and accelerated response time

I believe that corporate customers will willingly be more innovative and open to exposing their data, using self-service capabilities and embodying electronic banking provided the technology contributes to, rapidly improves and enhances their existing relationships.

Trust is the key factor that influences the adoption of electronic banking. Perceived customer satisfaction with the bank only has indirect impact. The cumulative effects of customer satisfaction however have a positive impact on trust directed towards the bank, and this greatly impacts the propensity to use electronic banking. Moreover, customer satisfaction, trust (with mutually open relationships), and the use of electronic banking clearly follow through with a positive impact on the corporate clients’ commitment towards their bank.

Olivier Berthier
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Olivier Berthier



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03 May 2007



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Financial Supply Chain

In the world of international trade, the process of exchanging payments, information and documents between buyers, sellers, banks, and other involved parties is becoming increasingly important for financial institutions. This community aims at presenting views and innovative ideas related to this financial supply chain space.

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