A Trusted Advisory Partner for Corporate Treasury
An Interview with Juultje van der Wijk, Global Head of Sales, Transaction Services, and Angelique Meddeler, Global Head of Client Services, ING Commercial Banking
This month, Helen Sanders, Editor, discusses ING’s recent restructuring with Juultje van der Wijk and Angelique Meddeler of ING Commercial Banking, including the factors that contributed to the decision and the benefits for customers.
What was the background to the transformation project on which ING has embarked?
Juultje van der Wijk: Customer satisfaction has always been at the heart of what we do at ING, and as our customers’ requirements change, we need to find new ways of meeting these evolving demands. For example, the working capital and liquidity agenda has become an imperative for many corporations, not least as bank facilities are becoming sparser as a result of Basel III. It is therefore more important for corporate treasurers that their banks can offer cohesive solutions that extend across the financial supply chain, such as receivables financing and supply chain financing in addition to traditional financing, payments and cash management. This requires a change of mindset amongst banks and corporates alike, in order to evaluate and leverage these opportunities.
At ING, it is vitally important to us that our organisation, culture and solutions reflect the new reality, in order to deliver the solutions and services that address our customers’ challenges. To see how we could do this most effectively, we undertook a detailed review of the way that we approach every aspect of our client relationships. One of the findings of this study was that we could improve the way we co-ordinate our customer approach across ING business lines and work together to develop integrated working capital solutions that exceed customer expectations.
We engage with customers to deliver greater value and enhance our customers’ experience of working with us.
Angelique Meddeler: Consequently, we made the decision to embark on a radical restructuring programme to align the different parts of our business and optimise the service we provide to our customers. Our aim was not to undertake cosmetic change, by simply combining our sales teams for example, but to transform the way we engage with customers to deliver greater value and enhance our customers’ experience of working with us.
What form has this transformation project taken?
Juultje van der Wijk: One of the first steps was to integrate our payments and cash management, trade and relationship banking into a single organisation with common measures of success, a process we started in 2012. The project marks a major organisational shift, migrating from separate business lines to a customer-centric, fully integrated approach to devising, developing, selling and supporting customer solutions. For example, we have built a new sales and delivery organisation that is structured around truly understanding and addressing our customers’ needs, as opposed to promoting specific products and services. This is supported by a comprehensive training roadmap to equip employees across the organisation to support a needs-driven approach to customer engagement, including developing an awareness of the entire working capital cycle and working collaboratively to share expertise in order to design and deliver integrated solutions that meet customer challenges.
Angelique Meddeler: This approach, guided by customer needs rather than product lines, is not limited to sales and implementation. The project includes a similar exercise across all our customer services teams to optimise the quality of our customer engagements at every stage of the relationship. We adopted a proven methodology to collate and analyse customer feedback on how they receive services from us and how we could improve. The findings of this analysis have been instrumental in driving our restructuring process and helping us to refine our business culture and develop appropriate training programmes for employees.
As a pan-European bank, how is this restructuring programme affecting ING’s operations in each country?
Angelique Meddeler: ING has the largest network in Europe, and many of our customers choose to work with ING in order to leverage local and cross-border solutions across their European footprint. We recognised that we needed to align our solutions, culture, pricing structures and terminology (such as product names) in every country in which we have a franchise so that our customers can enjoy a cohesive experience across the region. This means that whether a company works with ING in one country or in ten, across payments and cash management, trade, lending or liquidity management, they will enjoy a single point of entry to the bank and a common approach to service delivery, whilst benefitting from local expertise in each local market.
Juultje van der Wijk: This approach is already proving very successful with very positive feedback from customers, which builds further confidence and momentum to the restructuring. In addition to our own direct network that extends across Western, Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, such as Asia, we work closely with SEB to extend our value proposition to the Nordics, with the aim of offering our customers a cohesive experience across our entire footprint.
How do you see your customers’ demands changing?
Juultje van der Wijk: Information is at the heart of treasury processes and strategies. As corporate treasurers continue to centralise activities such as liquidity and working capital, counterparty and financial risk management, payables and receivables, the need for immediate access to complete and accurate information from across their business and across geographies becomes ever more compelling. This increases the demands on banks’ technology so banks can provide the secure, robust, flexible and accessible solutions that our customers need today and in the future. Consequently, at ING, we have an ongoing commitment to replacing legacy systems with integrated platforms for seamless transaction processing across Europe and beyond. We are standardising our product catalogue and fee reporting across countries to create a distinctive and trusted identity across our footprint, leveraging a single payments platform.