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Expanding International Horizons

We have become accustomed to reading about the banking needs of large multinational corporations that are increasingly seeking a regional cash management banking structure to diversify risk. Less is typically said about the requirements of mid-market companies that are also seeking to expand their geographic footprint, but may have different priorities when it comes to appointing a cash management bank. In this interview, Helen Sanders, Editor, talks to Judd Holroyde of Wells Fargo to consider the banking needs of US corporations extending outside of their domestic market.

Why is this topic of particular interest to Wells Fargo?

Our strategy is to continue serving the needs of our US clients as they grow their business both domestically and internationally, as opposed to seeking a new client base amongst European or Asian corporations. This difference makes a distinct impression on the way that we do business. In particular, we recognise that our clients want the products, channels and service quality to which they have access outside the United States to be familiar and consistent with those in their home market.

What growth trends are you witnessing amongst US mid-market companies?

As the largest commercial bank in the United States focused on mid-market companies1, we are very aware of the changing needs of this segment. While the largest multinationals already have a long-standing international presence, and indeed often rely on business outside the United States to drive growth and profitability, this is now a growing trend amongst mid-market companies, too, that historically have relied more on the domestic market. Fuelled by the global financial crisis in particular, mid-market companies recognise that their greatest potential for growth will be outside the United States and are therefore pushing ahead with expansion initiatives.

What key differences do you see amongst these companies from a cash and treasury management perspective as they expand internationally?

The lack of scale and resources compared with their larger peers is a particular challenge for mid-market companies. For example, while a FT-100 company may establish regional treasury centres with regional or even in-country cash management banks, smaller companies lack the infrastructure to achieve this and rarely have the resources to manage multiple banking relationships. Consequently, these companies typically prefer to stay with their primary cash management bank and seek its help as they approach new markets. It is important that treasurers and finance managers can not only access products, channels and services with which they are familiar, but that they can benefit from advice and guidance from a bank that understands their business and the markets that they are entering.