New offerings make corporate treasuries far nimbler.
Transaction banks continue to invest in innovative payments solutions to help make cash management for corporates more flexible and efficient. From instant payments to new functionalities, such as request-to-pay and accounts receivable/accounts payable management offerings that help overcome rejected cross-border transactions, several new tools improve corporate treasurers’ liquidity planning.
In 2021, Societe Generale, the year’s Best Bank for Cash Management, extended its Instant Payment service for corporates—which has been available in France since 2019—into Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, Spain and Switzerland. The offering lets clients that operate across borders send and receive instant payment remittance via the bank’s channels or the Global Cash cash-management platform.
Societe Generale has also enhanced its Virtual Account Management service with Instant Payment and expects to expand its Instant Payment application programming interface (APIs) across Europe. Both are already available in France.
API Technology Opens New Options
Citi, which took home the Best Bank for Payments & Collections award, rolled out its Spring by Citi service, which helps clients grow their e-commerce sales, to the UK market in 2021. Using APIs, Spring by Citi delivers insights from real-time data. In addition, it provides payment gateway technology, access to various payment options, support for a broad range of currencies and enhanced reconciliation and reporting. The bank plans to deploy the service to more European markets later this year.
Citi’s Global Instant Payments, an API-enabled proprietary platform that provides uniform global connectivity to domestic instant payment schemes, approximately doubled its geographic footprint in 2021. The Global Beneficiary Services tracker, meanwhile, provides real-time payment notification and keeps tabs on cross-border payments for beneficiaries as well as the sending banks.
Citi fully integrated notional pooling with a new range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) money market funds, earning it the Best Provider of Short-Term Investments/Money Market Funds award for its expanded ESG offering, which is available via an automated sweep from Luxembourg-based accounts. As a result, Citi clients can participate in sustainable short-time investments and automate their ESG initiatives end-to-end. Since its September 2021 launch, clients can harness multicurrency notional pooling, automated ESG investment options and broader liquidity management capabilities that include target balancing, multibank target balancing, cross-currency sweeps and virtual accounts to meet the client’s treasury objectives.
Intesa Sanpaolo, winner of our Best Bank for Liquidity Management award, launched its Corporate Treasury service—integrated with its Inbiz corporate banking portal—to help manage liquidity across a client’s bank accounts, including those with third-party banks. The service comes with a dashboard that monitors multicurrency account balances, real-time usage of short-term credit facilities and account balance cash forecasting up to 90 days. Targeted at small to midsize enterprises that want a treasury workstation at an affordable price, Intesa Sanpaolo plans to make Corporate Treasury available to the rest of Europe following a successful rollout in Italy.
Real-time liquidity management and the potential to send and receive payments at any hour on any day without any cutoff times will help improve liquidity planning, reduce the need for overdraft facilities for businesses and free up liquidity that can be used elsewhere. However, the negative interest rates across the eurozone have made managing excess cash problematic, which is why it is so important for corporations to know where and how to best place their cash. Technology enables banks to streamline treasury processes and provide richer data with improved forecasting and better-tailored analytics to their clients. These are welcome tools for corporate treasurers, who select their banking partners based on who best advises them on investing cash while minimizing their costs and maximizing their yields.