The Bank of Montreal (BMO) has stepped up efforts to streamline consumer products by launching a combined Treasury and Payments division, it has been announced.
The move responds to feedback from corporate clients looking for better ways to tackle complex treasury and payments solutions, says the bank. The new division aims to provide customised, flexible solutions that can easily be integrated.
The first steps in this direction were taken last year, when BMO began looking at ways of merging the treasury and cash management side of the business with its corporate card services. To achieve this, customer data from both organisations is undergoing extensive integration – an arduous task, but a necessary one if clients are to receive a joined-up service.
“The more we listened to what our clients and prospects were telling us, we really wanted to bring those two teams together,” said Kevin Kane, Managing Director and Head of Sales for Treasury and Payment Solutions in the US. “Things are getting more complex [for corporate clients]; the pace of change is picking up, especially with the evolution from paper to electronic in the payments space. We interpreted those macro trends and listened to their corporate objectives and came forward with ideas to simplify and streamline their payments environment.”
The overarching idea, according to Kane, is to move towards a consultative approach, rather than pushing staff to sell customers a particular product. “We look at their disbursement side, the payments distribution, how many vendors they have, the suppliers they work with, how they use ACH and payments cards, and then analyse that and make recommendations of where they can gain savings and process improvements,” he said.
Steve Pedersen, BMO’s Vice President for North American Corporate Card Products, Treasury and Payment Solutions, agrees. “We still have specialization within the sales team, but when you unify the whole team it has a great impact,” he says. “Even the hardcore, longstanding salespeople, I’m seeing them adapt and change.”
“We don’t want to force a square peg into a round hole, but give the client holistic solutions,” he added.
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