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Cash management for financial institutions: Profits under pressure

Transaction banks face the double threat of falling cash balances at financial institutions and a changing regulatory environment. Laurence Neville reports on their efforts to keep ahead of the game.

THE WORLD OF cash management for financial institutions (FIs) is among the most dynamic in transaction banking. The non-contractual nature of the business and the technological and financial sophistication of the client base ensure that it is an effective bellwether for the broader mood of the financial services industry. Notwithstanding the current market turmoil caused by concerns about sovereign debt in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, its mood has, in part, improved from a year ago when the financial crisis remained fresh and painful.

"Despite the disturbances associated with Greece and other potential sovereign risks in Europe, there is a recognition among FIs that things have evolved since the height of the financial crisis a little more than a year ago," explains Paul Camp, global head of cash management, financial institutions, at Deutsche Bank. "Risk is more important than it was before the crisis. But it is not the only focus and many necessary changes in how risk needs to be considered have already been made."

However, although concerns about how to manage risk might have lessened somewhat, FIs’ need to generate profit – both by growing revenue and reducing costs – is an equally intractable problem.

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