Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Banks must get on board with mobile treasury solutions

Despite some cutting edge offerings from certain banks, most banks have been hesitant to invest in mobile banking offerings for corporates as they still fear a lack of demand. But a new survey from Aite Group finds that companies are eager for certain mobile offerings in the treasury and finance space, and many global transaction banks are, in fact, behind the times in meeting the demand for corporate mobile solutions.

The Aite Group survey found that not only are corporate treasurers and finance executives open to using mobile apps for alerts and the like – a service that has been offered by many big banks for a number of years now – but in addition almost 70% of companies are open to performing basic transactions over a mobile channel, and 42% said they were likely or very likely to use corporate mobile banking services for basic transactions over the next 12 months. Plus, the report found that 56% of businesses were interested in looking at a mobile channel for more complex treasury functions – such as initiating payments.

Christine Barry, research director at Aite Group, says there is a clear demand for mobile corporate banking, but it is still in its infancy. “A first-mover advantage exists, therefore, for any institution that launches an initiative capable of addressing the unmet market need for corporate mobile banking.”

Those banks that are already working on or have launched corporate mobile apps will clearly have the upper hand. Deutsche Bank, through its partnership with mobile solution vendor Luup, and Wells Fargo, through its Commercial Electronic Office (CEO) Mobile product offering, are both ahead of the game, and a number of other banks have initiatives in the works or pieces already launched.

TT Insight

The advantage of corporate treasury having access to a mobile channel is clearly seen when time and fast action are of the essence. In addition, mobile connection to treasury systems can provide greater control of such functions. Of course, security and the size of the screen still continue to be an issue for a number of processes, but there are many functions that do lend themselves to mobile access. The use of security measures common to desktop treasury applications – such as digital signatures, two-factor authentication, and tokens – on a mobile device can add further value to a treasury business wherever secure, but remote action is required.

Companies are already using the mobile channel for such functions as:

  • Virtual commercial and purchasing cards management, and purchase approvals.

  • Other A/P and A/R approvals.

  • Foreign exchange trading or wires approval.

  • Real-time cash balance and account reporting.

  • Alerts.

  • Authentication for existing transaction channels, such as online and over-the-phone.

If the Aite Group survey is any indication, many companies are ready to move beyond this to start using the mobile channel as a more integral piece of their treasury and finance operations.