Banks in the Nordics have a bold vision to establish an integrated regional payments network, and to open up access to information so companies can better manage their cash and liquidity.
The Nordic region has always embraced openness, trade and partnerships. And what it lacks in scale, it more than makes up for with innovation.
This year will see the launch of the P27 initiative—a reference to the 27 million people who live in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland—whereby a group of Nordic banks, including Danske Bank, DNB, Handelsbanken, Nordea, OP Financial Group, SEB and Swedbank, will build a pan-Nordic payment network.
With a bold vision “to establish the world’s first integrated region for domestic and cross-border payments in multiple currencies through an open-access, common infrastructure that should deliver state-of-the-art payment experiences to customers across the Nordics,” the P27 initiative promises to transform electronic invoicing and direct debits in the region.
Another driver for change in Nordic treasury operations is open banking using Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs. Nordea’s Open Banking developer portal now has more than 3,300 registered users. Tino Kam, head of Payments, Liquidity Management and Corporate Channels at Nordea—which scooped all four regional categories in this year’s TCM awards—says open banking initiatives will help deliver solutions for both consumers and corporates that are faster, more secure and tailored to their needs. “Value-added services, such as aggregation services in personal financial management, will be introduced via third-party solutions through our open banking platform,” he states.
Instant Reporting is Nordea’s API, allowing corporate customers to download their account and transactional data and giving them the chance to directly access real-time information, which they can then integrate with their own back-end systems and processes.
Five Nordic banks—DNB, Danske Bank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB—have established a Nordic Know Your Customer (KYC) utility to simplify customer onboarding and information exchange, and to facilitate the ease of doing business while increasing compliance.
Nordea is also a lead partner in a blockchain-based trading platform called we.trade, which aims to simplify and digitalize the entire trading process by allowing companies to find commercial counterparties, create trade proposals and purchase orders, request related services from their banks and set payment conditions, which can then be agreed upon and executed in a secure space.
Nordic treasurers expect sophisticated services from their banking partners. Kam believes the onus is on the industry to meet their expectations. “This year, we will continue to see a focus on how the treasury function can meet the challenges of freeing up time to become even more of a strategic partner for their business stakeholders,” he says. “This can be achieved through further automation and standardization of the accounts payable and accounts receivable processes, for example, through solutions such as virtual accounts and by optimizing their cash forecasting to improve the management of their FX and liquidity risks.”
Nordea made the decision to change its core banking and payments platform to ensure that it would not be held back by legacy infrastructure. “Our new platforms will give us the ability to offer a harmonized Nordic cash-management offering that is the same in all markets for all customer segments,” Kam says. “This will improve our delivery capability to become more agile and shorten the time to market.”
|Best Overall Bank for Cash Management||Nordea|
|Best Bank for Liquidity Management||Nordea|
|Best Bank for Payments and Collections||Nordea|
|Best Provider of Short-Term Investments/Money Market Funds||Nordea|