Insight & Analysis

Building towards treasury on demand

Published: May 2024

The treasury team at Hunt Companies is working towards what its head of treasury refers to as ‘real time everything’. El Paso, Texas-based Hunt Companies is a diversified, family-owned holding company with more than 4,300 employees worldwide that invests in operating businesses, real estate assets, and infrastructure assets.

Alarm block sitting with lots of dollar bills

Its subsidiaries include Hunt Capital Partners, a leading affordable housing provider that has raised over US$3bn in tax credit equity to create housing for low-income families, seniors and special needs households across the United States. It manages almost 760 project partnerships, representing over 75,000 homes in 48 states and territories.

The firm’s four-person treasury team – headed by Treasurer and Senior Vice President, David Miller, who joined Hunt Companies 13 years ago – is located across four different cities in three states and manages more than 35 domestic bank relationships and over 750 bank accounts globally.

“We are constantly opening and closing accounts at these banks – at one point we had almost 1,500 active accounts across the business,” explains Miller. “We process billions of dollars every year through our payment hub (Kyriba), which makes the process of managing these bank relationships and accounts much more efficient.”

One of the company’s objectives has been to push to implement APIs wherever possible and utilise them across the business for payments, real time reporting and investment portals. Miller acknowledges that Hunt Companies has only started using APIs relatively recently but adds it has been involved in some interesting initiatives.

“For example, we were the first client to process real time payments with J.P. Morgan through Kyriba – a project that took well over a year from the start until the first payment was processed with a lot of technology development work involved,” he says.

“It was well worth waiting for,” adds Miller. “Now, anything under a million dollars coming out of our J.P. Morgan or Bank of America accounts that is going to an eligible ABA (bank routing number) can be sent as a real time payment so I know immediately that the payment has either been posted to the beneficiary’s account or rejected.”

There are some limitations to this process – for example, the payment limit is US$1m and payments can only be sent to domestic banks that participate in the programme. However, the clearing house has new banks coming online on a regular basis so Hunt Companies regularly reviews the list of participating banks.

Miller observes the firm would like to do real time payments with all of its partner banks, but notes some of these banks aren’t there yet in terms of using APIs and some are still unable to originate a real time payment.

“We set out to build out real time reporting so we have real time information, balances and connectivity with our investment portal for money market fund purchases and redemptions,” he says.

The firm’s vision for API-enabled real time treasury is driven by a desire to reduce payment costs, generate immediate notifications of payment delivery and simplify payment visibility and reconciliation.

“I just want real time everything and there is no reason why corporate treasurers cannot have this in 2024,” says Miller. “We will get there as an industry, it is just a matter of how long it takes. When I talk at conferences, I urge my fellow practitioners to say to their banks that if they don’t have APIs, they should go and build them.”

“The more of us on the practitioner side that demand real time treasury, the more of a priority it will become for the banks – which is just going to make us more efficient and allow us to reduce costs,” he adds.

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