by Sheetal Shah, Managing Partner, Africa Treasury Management Company
There are a few constants in the life of a corporate, one of them being the company’s bankers. A corporate’s banker is usually a corporate’s first business partner; the first lender and the keeper of their most trusted asset: their cash. Given the current challenges facing the banking industry globally, it is becoming more and more difficult for corporates to build long term relationships with its bankers. Meanwhile, banks are constantly upgrading their back end systems and processes with the latest in products and technology. What worked for a corporate a few years ago may not exist or may no longer be valid. An RFP (Request for Proposal) process allows corporates to review technology, products, services, efficiencies and savings periodically – plus, it keeps your bankers to their toes!
Good treasury management practice uses RFPs as a way of giving your banking partners an opportunity to put in a proposal and price for a service or product in an ethical and professional manner. The RFP process is all about starting a formal dialogue with a pool of potential banking partners who you feel are best suited to respond to your needs.
We find more and more corporates in Africa are choosing to work with a combination of both local and international banks for their treasury requirements to get the benefits of both. Africa is such a diverse region – be it regulatory, policies, exchange rates, people or culture, and corporates are increasingly expanding their businesses into more markets across the continent. This consolidation of banks has its benefits in this unique environment. Banks are interestingly getting more creative to provide regional solutions that are unique to the African business.