Recently-surveyed corporate treasurers in Europe reported high dissatisfaction with their epayments services—on average, only 9% reported themselves satisfied or moderately satisfied.
While the survey looked at major companies located overseas, results could be instructive for U.S. financial institutions. The survey was conducted by Temenos, a provider of mission-critical solutions to the financial services industry, and IDC Financial Insights. They canvassed the opinions of 245 treasurers within the Financial Times Stock Exchange 500 index.
The survey results stand in sharp contrast to the abundant profitability opportunities currently offered by corporate banking, with payments and international trade showing strong growth.
Banks’ failure to take advantage of these opportunities is leaving them open to disintermediation, with 47% of respondents within Europe having investigated alternative payments providers.
All is not lost
However, the survey identified tangible ways for banks to improve their epayments services, through gathering information on the pain points most commonly experienced by treasurers.
The lack of a universal view and the inability to access and create a single picture from multiple systems scored highest in the survey. The former was predictably the top item on the treasuers’ “wish lists,” recorded by 91% of respondents.
Surprisingly, security concerns ranked high in only one or two geographies, perhaps because security is seen as a core banking function. The remaining pain points included the lack of payment deferral; the requirement to prioritize payments; and the inadequacy of mobile payments functionalities.
“It’s more important than ever that we understand what banks’ corporate customers want,” says Amanda Gilmour, product director, payments for Temenos. “While our survey reveals a low level of satisfaction with epayments services, almost a third of respondents rated their satisfaction level as ‘neutral’.”
Gilmour says that addressing the pain points identified in the survey should raise the rating to “satisfied.” This would forestall the companies’ transferring their business to new providers.
“Where there is a gap, there is an opportunity; we can help banks to focus on this opportunity,” Gilmour says.
Overall, the survey revealed that resolving pain points and offering value-added payments services is clearly the route for banks wishing to improve their overall profitability through corporate banking services. The technology for achieving this already exists; it’s incumbent on banks to act quickly and institute the necessary changes if they’re to avoid losing out to alternative providers.
Jerry Silva, global banking research director, IDC Financial Insights, says: “The technology to address these challenges is available today, and helping their corporate customers overcome these pain points represents an opportunity to strengthen their relationships and drive growth in the corporate payments business.”