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Crisis to Competitive Advantage

"Difficulties strengthen the mind as hard work strengthens the body"
Seneca, 1st Century Roman writer

by Erik Seifert, Head of Cash Management, Sweden, SEB

The roots which have anchored almost every organisation have been ripped from the ground during the current crisis, leaving many - governments, regulators, banks, large corporates, small firms and individuals alike - with a sense that much that they have relied upon to fuel their business, lifestyle or economy has been taken away. In particular, cheap credit has nourished the liquidity requirements of companies and individuals in the past. Now that credit is less widely available, and more expensive, liquidity has become the top corporate priority.

The Crisis Begins

Although we have been discussing the crisis for eighteen months or so, the impact in Europe was largely restricted to the banks, with the “real” economy generally unaffected. In October 2008, however, the crisis seemed to sweep through the economy, buffeting virtually every industry. Since then, many of our customers have indicated that the slow down in their business during the last quarter of 2008 has been tremendous and unprecedented, and the start of 2009 has not revealed a shift in fortunes.