Corporates seek big improvements in bank account management services

Corporates seek big improvements in bank account management services

For the majority of corporates, it takes more than one week to open a new bank account, according to a survey Finextra Research conducted over the summer. For this and other reasons, 44% of corporates say they would switch banks to get better service, standardisation and automation through electronic bank account management (eBAM) processes.

The survey of 53 corporate treasury executives and 43 cash management bankers, sponsored by Pegasystems, found that for 60% of corporates it currently takes more than one week to open a new bank account. Even large multinationals are still largely reliant on manual processes when dealing with their banks, and are often under-resourced.

Swift and a small group of leading banks, corporates and IT vendors have been working to help address the problem through the development of electronic bank account management (eBAM) standards. But awareness and project planning across the banking industry is still fairly low, despite the demand from the corporate sector.

Sixty-three percent of banks recognise that winning new clients and improving loyalty are the primary drivers for delivering eBAM services. However, 53% of banks have made no plans yet to invest in improving account management services. The survey also revealed that due to a lack of agility in bank IT departments, over 45% of them believe that it will take more than a year to undertake the necessary process and system reengineering to enable it.

"Through our work on the eBAM steering committee, and our long history in providing BPM capabilities to the Corporate Banking community, we understand the frustration of banks and corporates who struggle with the manual and cumbersome process of opening, closing and maintaining bank accounts," says Adi Reske, senior product marketing manager for financial services at Pegasystems. "On one hand, corporates need a better handle on their accounts and a standard way to communicate with their banks in this area. On the other, banks are finding it hard to respond quickly to initiatives like eBAM, due to lack of agility and IT resources."

Richard Delvaux, senior corporate market manager at Swift, says the survey results confirm the preliminary findings they collected in late 2007, which triggered the launch of the eBAM project at Swift, which was based on requests from community members.

"Although the topic is not new, it remains very high on everybody's agenda. Best evidence is the tremendous support our eBAM working group has received from the community of banks and corporates, enabling us to move quickly to deliver the first eBAM XML standard messages in less than one year," said Delvaux, who is in charge of the eBAM project at Swift. 

"And this is just a start; immediate next steps to collect all expected benefits will include adoption and integration, on bank and corporate sides. Therefore, the role of vendors is critical. This is why it was key for us to involve them in our project in its early stages."

For the full analysis of survey results, view the report here.

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