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