Citi has taken over as the sole provider of Shell’s western European cash management services after a mandate process.
Mehta says: “Citi will now be covering all of Shell’s cash management operations in Europe. This will cover payments to suppliers, payroll, and all payables and receivables. In the 16 countries Shell operates in across western Europe, Citi is their sole cash management bank.”
The move was not one that the corporate had been planning. “Shell were looking to change, as their previous provider retracted in the geography,” explains Mehta.
A rival banker at a US firm tells Euromoney that RBS was previously Shell's principal banking partner.
Citi has existing business with Shell, which helped with winning the mandate.
| The competition is always there, but there are shifts|
“Citi already has a long-standing relationship with Shell, so it was a low-risk decision to move this part of the business across,” says Mehta. “We are fully engaged in their strategy so can offer them tremendous value on the services they require.”
The corporate’s decision to move to Citi demonstrates the importance of a strong relationship between the bank and the corporate.
“The cash management business is sticky," says Mehta. "The clients take comfort in knowing the capability of the provider and what is already embedded in their systems. They appreciate the trust that has been built up and the quality of service that comes from understanding their business through previous experience.”
The petrochemicals company has an advanced European cash management platform. The task for the bank is to take over this existing system and to develop a model for further streamlining its capabilities.
“We are helping them to find efficiency," says Mehta. "Shell is already very sophisticated in their cash management.”
The agreement means Shell will not be using any other banks in the region, and will benefit from only working from one banking platform.
“We offer a single propriety bank solution," says Mehta. "Going forward, Shell will be working exclusively with Citi without any other partner banks involved in the arrangement. This allows Citi to offer greater efficiency, simple implementation and the ability to use similar processes in other regions.”
Citi will provide card-clearing transactions for Shell’s downstream business in Germany, and direct debits for customers in 11 other countries.
Shell’s European business comprises hundreds of bank accounts across the region. The bank is focusing on improving working capital management through a zero-balance liquidity management solution.
Mehta says: “The agreement means the bank will be processing millions of payment transactions a year. Citi will manage the accounts in all the relevant currencies in Europe.”
The agreement covers euro, Swiss francs and pound sterling transactions.
“We have a strong offering of products and solutions and have proprietary systems end to end." adds Mehta. "The product innovation comes from our end, serving the model of the client, the technology and the support needed to take the risk out of the move.”
The win is a significant one for the bank, and comes at a time when Mehta is seeing considerable changes to the industry.
“There are strategic shifts taking place in the competitive environment, and banks are taking a hard look at the markets they want to be in," he says. "The competition is always there, but there are shifts. There are splits emerging between the various industry players.”