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Foreign Exchange

Review of developments in payment systems 2010: Mass payments and collections

Over the past 12 months companies have continued to centralize and automate their mass payments and collections, producing considerable cost savings and improvements in both efficiency and control. Banks have continued to bring their services together to provide more complete solutions for mass payments and collections. Lesley White, head of ICM EMEA at RBS, explains, "More than ever, corporates want visibility and control over their entire working capital cycle. We’re building innovative, integrated solutions – connecting e-invoicing, supply chain finance and payments processing, for example – that enhance end-to-end processing for our clients."

Companies and banks are now concentrating on improving the level of straight-through processing in all transactions. One area where this is producing significant results is in the reconciliation of payables and receivables, often one of the few remaining manual processes in shared service centres (SSCs). Citi calls this straight-through reconciliation (STR) and has developed new services and techniques to eliminate these manual processes. These include enhancing payment data and delivering it in a single file to maximize auto-reconciliation in ERP systems, standardizing return message integration processes with clients’ internal ERP systems and reviewing the workflows of all bank-to-corporate processes. STR is set to become the new measure of SSC efficiency as companies focus on their overall Order-2-Cash performance. The 2010 Euromoney survey of banks’ mass payment and collection services covers nine leading cash management banks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P.

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