By Anita Hawser
BEST BANK FOR PAYMENTS AND COLLECTIONS
As a leading Automated Clearing House originator and receiver, Wells Fargo has played an integral role in helping companies make the move from paper-based payments to ACH. It boasts one of the largest wholesale lockbox networks (26 sites in total) across the US and Canada and has “cash vaults” spread across the country. It offers a wide range of payments and collection services in US dollars and Canadian dollars, and in 2011 it expanded its electronic solutions to encompass euros and sterling as well as ACH credit transfers to 32 SEPA countries.
Deutsche Bank has maintained its position as the leading euro clearer and is a top-five clearer in US dollars. It continues to expand its on-the-ground operations in both Europe and further afield. Its acquisition of parts of ABN Amro’s commercial banking business in the Netherlands has given it a stronger foothold in that market, and in markets such as China, it continues to open branches. One of the fruits of the closer collaboration between its Global Transaction Banking and Global Markets divisions is FX4Cash, which provides automated foreign exchange currency conversion for cross-border payments.
As corporates and banks turn their focus towards optimizing their working capital and cash management across the Asia-Pacific region, they need a bank that knows the region and the different operational requirements in each market intimately. Despite the continued influx and expansion of foreign banks into the region, HSBC still has the competitive edge. It is a leading provider of SwiftNet connectivity in the region to help corporates obtain a single view of their accounts, reporting and payments across multiple banking providers. It has one of the most comprehensive renminbi offerings—encompassing current account, checks, cashier’s order, autoPay, bonds and online banking. It has also spearheaded support for the new ISO 20022 XML corporate-to-bank messaging standards for payments across its operations in Asia.
A consistent winner in this category, Citi has regional capabilities that few banks, regional or local, can match. While it provides a number of universal solutions across most of the markets it operates in, it also is able to customize solutions to specifically cater to the needs of different markets. In Ecuador it implemented a local model for Automated Clearing House (ACH) Debit Collections in conjunction with the central bank. It also expanded its remote deposits capability to markets like Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico and enhanced its receivables offering in Argentina via the use of collections and deposits ATMs.
Despite the slow uptake of the new Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) payment instruments by end users, Nordic banks like SEB are giving corporates a good reason to seriously think about how they can benefit from SEPA standardization across Europe, and how they can use it as a driver of process reengineering.
Using SEB’s Multicurrency Direct Debit (MDD) and SEPA Direct Debit, clients need only one format and one point of entry to manage collections across the eurozone and the major Nordic countries. SEB developed MDD to complement SEPA Direct Debit. It also supports the latest ISO 20022 XML format.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Virtual account numbers to ease the reconciliation process, a premium collection service designed to help companies that receive a large number of incoming payments and support for a wide range of SEPA payment services are just some of the solutions UniCredit offers customers in the CEE region. Its new eBanking solution supports the latest standards in international and domestic payments and provides data capture for a wide range of different payments.
With a footprint spanning 17 countries in Africa and an extensive branch network, Standard Bank is well positioned to service the payment and collection needs of customers. Standard Bank has a 40% market share in South African rand clearing through the Real-Time Gross Settlement system. In markets like Kenya, CfC Stanbic, which is part of the Standard Bank group, has devised an innovative “electronic billboard” solution that provides a single account for collections and automated reconciliations and real-time transaction information for the local tea trade.
There is nothing quite like a crisis to make customers realize that often what they need on the ground in developing regions of the world is a bank that has an extensive local market presence and local knowledge. HSBC also has the advantage of operating some of the largest foreign banks in the region including SABB in Saudi Arabia and HSBC Bank Egypt. It is helping companies in the region automate the transfer of payment files and check issuance and enhance collections for more efficient reconciliation.