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Preparing Treasury for the Future: Picking the Right Bank Relationships

While my office door is always open to banks wanting to have a conversation about how they can support YFAI’s treasury operations, I believe bank relationships are changing. Yes, treasurers are searching for great products at reasonable prices, but they are also looking for strategic partners who will bring true innovation to the table. So, how can treasury go about finding the right banking partners to accompany them on their growth journey.

Before I wax lyrical about bank relationships, a little bit of background about YFAI and our treasury structure. YFAI is the global leader in designing, developing and producing automotive interiors. Most people are, often unknowingly, familiar with our technology and products. The company was formed through a joint venture in 2015 between Yanfeng, one of the largest automotive interior suppliers in China, and Adient, the global leader in automotive seating, formerly a part of Johnson Controls.

Once the joint venture was under way, we were tasked with building a treasury function for this newly combined business. On the international side, this was essentially a replication  of Johnson Controls’ treasury in terms of infrastructure and functionality. But from that initial set-up, we have made strategic changes and tweaks to create a more efficient treasury function that is complementing the new global business model and footprint.

Today, we have treasury teams in China, the US and in Germany. We also have a treasury expert on the ground in South Africa to guide certain processes and approvals since it is a currency-controlled country, which can throw up challenges at times. In addition, we have a treasury professional stationed in our automotive business centre in Bratislava – where we process the majority of our payments and receipts and carry out part of the accounting function – who is tasked with monitoring our currency exposures. Finally, we also have a treasury team in Shanghai, which predominantly looks after the Chinese domestic market and a number of countries in the Asia Pacific area.