gtnews Survey Reveals Corporates’ Growing Frustration with Banking Services

While corporate treasurers are fairly satisfied with their banking relationships, they feel that the specific types of services their banks offer could be better, according to the recent gtnews Transaction Banking Survey, sponsored by CGI for the second straight year.

In May, gtnews surveyed corporate and banking readers on banking relationships, generating 1,007 responses, including 263 from corporate practitioners. Regional analysis was limited to responses from the Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe regions.

While 70% of corporate practitioners rank their banking partners’ services highly overall, only 62% are satisfied with bank-provided foreign-exchange (FX) services (including hedging). Even less respondents indicated high levels of satisfaction with pooling/netting (58%) and payments services (56%). Less than half are highly satisfied with trade finance, liquidity and open accounts services, and only 22% rated forecasting services highly.

“Clearly a key area for frustration is access to and evaluation of bank services, especially as corporate treasurers have, on average, between 60 to 100 bank partners and between 76 and 149 bank accounts,” said Penny Hembrow, Global Head of Banking, CGI. “There is a strong desire to streamline and centralise treasury departments. This is partly due to the emergence of global interoperability standards, as well as the lack of cross-bank and cross-service portals. Treasurers are looking to banks to help streamline their bank-to-corporate integration with intelligent routing and multi-bank, multi-service portals.”

This year’s survey saw a 16% increase in the number of companies with over 150 bank accounts, largely due to increased globalisation. However, the number of banks that offer multibank portals fell 6%.

Still, most companies are reasonably satisfied with their banking partners. A full 70% rate banking partners a ‘4’ or ‘5’ on a five-point scale, with corporate treasury departments in North America marginally more satisfied than their Western European counterparts (73% vs. 69%).

Globally, the survey found that banking relationships tend to be influenced by a few critical factors. When selecting banking partners, companies consider quality of service to be most critical (98%), followed by availability of service (97%) and the bank’s financial stability (95%). Only 78% of Asian companies surveyed rated quality of service to be critical, compared to 99% in North America and 98% in Europe.

Other services that companies deemed important to banking relationships were payment capabilities (86%), technology platform capabilities (86%) and pricing (85%).

Surprisingly, the survey found that 56% of corporates still access bank information by paper or fax and that even trusted banking partners fail to make information available in a way that could be used to make forecasting decisions.

Financial professionals suggest that banks improve their service offerings by harmonising standards between banks and integrating services. Additionally, banking service providers can increase client satisfaction in the area of forecasting. The survey suggests that banks that are able to deliver on the above will strengthen their client relationships.

“Transaction banks are being asked to innovate and provide more value-added services to their corporate clients in new and different areas,” said Hembrow. “Corporates are becoming digital consumers and expect much greater service personalisation based on an understanding of their business, their industry and the long-term value placed on their business.”

Download the full survey at
www.gtnews.com/research
.

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