Yet again, 2016 saw a record number of nominations and submissions for the TMI Awards for Innovation and Excellence across both bank/supplier and corporate categories. Once again, the quality was outstanding, and many entries, both winners and – we hope – future winners, reflected a great deal of thought and effort, for which we offer our sincere thanks. So with such close competition, what ultimately marked out our award winners?
A year of success for US banks
The Cash & Liquidity Management and Payments & Collections Awards were dominated by Citi and Bank of America Merrill Lynch respectively this year, with both banks submitting highly professional entries supported by very strong client testimonials. Citi won the Global Cash & Liquidity Management award, together with regional awards for Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. In Asia Pacific and Middle East & North Africa, Citi was successful in both the Cash & Liquidity Management, and Payments & Collections awards. In addition to specific regional capabilities in each of the relevant categories, the judges were impressed by the bank’s ongoing investment in innovative customer solutions, such as its liquidity management services and Citi Treasury Diagnostics (CTD). With over 600 participants, this differentiating diagnostic feature helps clients to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement and generates specific action plans to help them prioritise their activities. An extension of CTD is the Citi Bank Rationalization Tool (BRT). For complex multinational corporations aiming to rationalise global banking or transform treasury practices, BRT allows the client to gather data in a consistent manner on banking practices to review its current state and make critical decisions.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch achieved similar success in the Payments & Collections Awards, as well as being awarded best bank for Cash & Liquidity Management in North America and China. As the winner of the Global Payments & Collections award, as well as regional awards in China and South and North America, Bank of America Merrill Lynch had a demonstrable commitment to innovations that are driving a change in client behaviour and opportunity. Over the past 12 months, the bank has launched a range of new solutions such as virtual account management (VAM), the next generation of virtual accounts, which supports both payments and collections, including SEPA direct debit collections. Other innovations include ongoing investment in the bank’s card programme, and CashPro® Flow, which enables clients to lock in FX rates over extended periods (also recognised by the technology award for Risk Management).
European banks fighting back
While Citi and Bank of America Merrill Lynch may appear to dominate these award categories, other international and regional banks were successful in some of the most hotly contested categories, most notably in the European awards. Nordea won the Nordic regional awards for Cash & Liquidity Management and Financial Supply Chain Management. The bank’s submission, supported by a variety of client nominations, reflected the leadership role that the bank is taking in cash management innovation, with an active innovation lab running initiatives in fintech collaboration, PSD2 and open banking. Nordea’s Startup Accelerator programme is well-established and reaping benefits for the bank, fintech partners and ultimately, the clients they support. The bank is also a pioneer in external initiatives such as the R3 CEV Blockchain initiative and SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi) initiative.