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Cash management survey 2011: Cash gets central billing

As corporate executives make cash management an increasingly important part of their treasury function, so transaction banks are realigning their businesses. Now it is increasingly part of the overall corporate relationship. Laurence Neville looks at the models the leading banks are adopting.

TRANSACTION BANKING, THE process of facilitating buying and selling for companies and financial institutions, has never been the most glamorous of activities. To be sure, parts of the business might be able to claim romantic origins serving the merchants of Renaissance Italy while, at the same time, the contemporary industry is driven by the type of kit that is inevitably accompanied by hyperbole about bleeding-edge technology. Nevertheless, the reality of transaction banking has been prosaic. Contract periods are long (for corporates anyway) resulting in a business cycle that seems positively lethargic compared with the cut and thrust of capital markets, for example. Moreover, despite liberal use of sophisticated widgets, much of transaction banking is broadly the same as it was five, 10 or 20 years ago – after all, the broad goals of companies and investors scarcely change.

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