by Jesper Ahrgren, Global Head, Channel Management, and Robert Pehrson, Global Head, Liquidity Products, SEB Merchant Banking
The days when banks could serve their customers simply by providing finance or processing payments are long gone. Today, corporate treasurers and finance managers expect sophisticated cash and liquidity management solutions, intuitive technology that can be integrated with in-house systems and high quality information to facilitate process automation, such as account posting and reconciliation. In this way, a virtuous cycle is created: as banks capture and transmit more sophisticated information, they are in a position to deliver a wider range of services across the financial supply chain, facilitate greater automation and move further up the financial knowledge pyramid (figure 1).
Responding to changing dynamics
There are other factors too that are contributing to a changing relationship between banks and their corporate customers. For example, although the most acute liquidity shortages that characterised late 2008 and 2009 have eased, liquidity remains scarce and fears of a ‘double dip’ recession still remain. This is exacerbated by the proposed Basel III requirements that will constrain bank lending even further due to the need to hold a large value of assets on the balance sheet compared with the value of loans. Consequently, corporate treasurers and finance managers are increasingly seeking their banks’ support in finding innovative ways to access pockets of liquidity within the organisation, accelerate the cash flow cycle and enhance financial efficiency.