Responding to Trends in International Cash Management: Solutions based on heritage and innovation
An interview with Roemer Paquay, Head of Transaction Banking Sales, Fortis Bank
Fortis Bank has a long and respected history of serving the pan-European cash management needs of mid-cap and large corporates. Until the demerger, Fortis Bank was the number one challenger in Europe, with a network spanning 20 countries and 140 business centres. Since the split with Fortis, Fortis Bank Nederland has rapidly rebuilt its cash management network and retains the heritage, culture and absolute commitment to service that clients associate with the Fortis name. In this interview, Roemer Paquay, Head of Transaction Banking Sales for Fortis Bank Nederland discusses the structuring of the bank, looks forward towards the legal merger with ABN AMRO in the second half of 2010 and assesses the business environment in which it operates.
Have clients’ needs changed with respect to accessing services internationally from their bank?
Corporates across Europe have changed the way they work with their banks, and consequently, they now have different priorities when choosing to work with a banking partner. Financial stability and access to liquidity are typically the first priorities, but after this, we see that our clients value a variety of different elements of the service that Fortis Bank Nederland offers today, and in which we continue to invest. Based on close communication with our clients, we have developed some key differentiators in our services:
Service culture. The Fortis name has always been synonymous with a strong service culture, which remains pivotal to our approach both today and in the future once the merger with ABN AMRO has been concluded. Our new transaction banking centres, and the strength of our partner bank network ensure that we deliver local services in the locations that our clients need us most. Looking forward, we will further expand on our multiple award-winning service model.
Centre of excellence in cash management. Treasurers are increasingly looking to their banks for advice and support on defining and delivering an international cash and liquidity management strategy. To address this requirement, we have formed a centre of excellence in cash management, based in the Netherlands, dedicated to the cash management requirements of our large corporate clients. This centre is staffed by cash management experts who have extensive international experience, a deep knowledge of the bank and of our delivery platforms. We use integrated technology internally to ensure that we have full insight into each client relationship.
Short communication lines. As working capital and liquidity optimisation have grown in importance, treasurers have taken on a wider variety of responsibilities across the financial supply chain. As they look across their business on an holistic basis, treasurers are seeking a similar approach from their banking partners. Consequently, in addition to the use of integrated technology internally, short communication lines are key in order to be proactive and responsive towards our clients.
Client satisfaction goals. Enhancing client satisfaction is an ever-evolving objective: when we achieve our targets, we set ourselves even more challenging goals. Client satisfaction is a key metric of our success that we constantly measure and seek to improve.
Connectivity. Treasurers and CFOs are seeking both efficient transaction services for payments and collections, and information tools to obtain visibility and control over their cash position. As companies have banking requirements in different countries, maintain different internal systems and employ different business processes, a bank needs to deliver flexible connectivity solutions whilst ensuring simplicity and convenience. For example, clients of Fortis Bank Nederland will soon be able to take advantage of ABN AMRO’s web-based system Access Online, widely regarded as best-in-class for corporate-to-bank communication. We also actively support SWIFT Corporate Access, and provide a Connectivity HUB for host-to-host connectivity between Fortis Bank Nederland and clients’ internal systems.