Technology

Commerzbank’s TREASURY module

Published: Apr 2009

Optimising liquidity has never been more crucial and in order to achieve this, treasurers need an accurate overview of the company’s cash. Commerzbank’s TREASURY module is a web-based solution designed to give treasurers clear visibility into the company’s bank accounts, together with cash management, reporting, administrative and planning functions facilitating effective liquidity management.

Introduction

In the current market, liquidity is high on the agenda of any treasurer. More than ever, treasurers are looking to ensure that available funds are being used as efficiently as possible. In contrast to the trend of recent years, when companies were more focused on rationalising their banking relationships, treasurers are now choosing to work with a larger number of banking partners in order to ensure they have access to sufficient credit.

This can make it more challenging to obtain a complete, consolidated overview of the company’s liquidity status. Commerzbank’s TREASURY module is a solution that can address this need by giving the treasurer access to all of the company’s accounts, regardless of which bank they are held with.

TREASURY

TREASURY is a module of Commerzbank’s corporate banking portal. Launched in 2006, the module is a multi-banking solution which allows corporate customers to view the status of all the company’s bank accounts. TREASURY is entirely web-based and can therefore be accessed from anywhere in the world with internet access.

TREASURY provides functionality in the following key areas:

  • Information management.

    The system provides account information relating to all participating accounts.

  • Cash management.

    The system includes a cash flow forecasting function. It also allows corporates to run a shadow account of an existing automatic cash pool or to carry out cash pooling manually. Interest income and liabilities arising from cash pooling can be calculated at the end of each period with a few clicks.

  • Liquidity planning.

    Medium and long-term liquidity plans can be automatically created using data from the account statements, allowing the user to compare the plans with details of the company’s actual transactions.

  • Administration.

    TREASURY allows corporates to administrate deals that have already been conducted:

    • FX (spots, forwards, swaps, options, etc).
    • Money market (loans, deposits, overnight money, commercial paper, etc).
    • Interest management (swaps, forwards, caps, floors, collars, swaptions, FRAs, etc).
    • Contract and guarantee management (instalments, annuity and maturing loans, etc).

    Maturity lists and reports can be generated and associated cash flows can be viewed in the cash management and liquidity planning functions.

  • Netting.

    This function is aimed at corporates with significant accounts payable and accounts receivable.

  • Reports.

    All information in the system can be processed and visualised via the reporting tool.

The solution also provides up-to-date information regarding current interest rates and exchange rates.

Target customers

TREASURY is aimed at medium-sized corporate customers with an annual turnover of around €50m and over, as well as larger corporates.

The application is likely to be attractive to corporates that do not have a treasury management system in place, or to those looking to replace an older solution which is no longer able to fulfil the company’s requirements. TREASURY currently serves a broad range of customers in terms of industry and geographical location.

Key features

Some of the most important features of the solution are as follows:

Print screen 1: TREASURY application showing an Overview Account Disposition page

Web-based application

TREASURY is a web-based application. There is no need for software to be installed in-house; the system is accessed using any standard web browser and system updates do not involve any installation of software on users’ PCs. Commerzbank installs updates to the system outside of working hours and users automatically access the newest version of the module on next login.

Multi-banking solution

Accounts from any bank in the world can be integrated into the system, as long as the bank is able to send account statements using SWIFT MT940 messages.

The banks send account information at the start of the working day to Commerzbank in Frankfurt and Commerzbank routes the information through to the customer’s database. If the banks are able to send information intraday, this will be uploaded into TREASURY on a same day basis.

User profiles

The system can support unlimited user profiles and user rights can be customised to allow each user to access the functionalities relevant to their role.

Profiles can be customised by Commerzbank during the implementation process and can subsequently be amended by the user’s database administrator. There are no limitations on the number of users or the size of the customer’s database.

Print screen 2: TREASURY application showing a user profile

Flexibility

TREASURY is a flexible tool which can be tailored according to the customer’s requirements. For example, a standard reporting portfolio is included but it is also possible for customers with specific requirements to receive customised reports.

The customer’s view of data in the various functions is another area that can be tailored to suit the customer’s needs. For example, each user can configure their view on an individual basis.

Interview

Commerzbank TREASURY

Portrait of Rolf Nagel

Rolf Nagel

Vice President, Global Sales Strategy

How is the TREASURY module positioned to help treasurers in the current financial crisis?

In general, what we hear from our customers is that ensuring they have sufficient liquidity at any time has become extremely important for them. Obtaining an accurate view of group-wide liquidity at any time, and managing that liquidity, is therefore a major priority for treasurers. The TREASURY application places the corporate treasurer in a position to fulfil this aim and as a result we are seeing significantly more interest in the application.

What challenges was the application designed to overcome?

Going back a few years, we launched our previous treasury system in 2000. We subsequently re-launched in 2006 with the system we are running now. At the time, treasurers generally had two options: they could use Excel, which is easy to use, very flexible, but not an integrated comprehensive solution; or they could adopt a server-based treasury management system, which was highly expensive, with additional running costs per year.

The objective for us was to create a solution that was in between those two options, which was easy to implement, train and use. We also wanted to create a solution whereby the customer had no need for additional IT server and services.

Today, the application is valued by treasurers looking to obtain visibility over their group liquidity on a daily basis. It is also able to address reporting requirements arising from Basel II. Functions like the ability to monitor cash pool and internal account activities are particularly useful.

What benefits would a corporate achieve through choosing TREASURY over another application?

There are a lot of benefits. The independence of location is a major benefit, due to the fact that the solution is web-based. Also the automatic preparation of the group-wide liquidity status is a very great benefit, so the treasurer has the transparency and visibility over group cash that they need at a time when liquidity is absolutely crucial.

Also TREASURY is a flexible tool with a lot of individual customised functions. The customer pays only for those functions which he is using. So this is a tailor-made solution meeting the customer’s requirements.

How does TREASURY compare to a typical treasury management system?

The main point of differentiation again is the internet-based architecture. Take a corporate with a lot of locations around the world – if they want to use a classical treasury management system, they have to install the system in their own environment. In our solution, they only need internet access. This is the main difference.

What have customer responses to TREASURY been?

We have a proven track record and have received a lot of very good feedback from customers. They are satisfied that they feel very comfortable with the application. They have told us that TREASURY is user-friendly and easy to handle, and within a few days of using this tool they are completely comfortable with the solution. Since the solution was re-launched in 2006, a broad range of customers has begun using TREASURY.

How do you plan to develop the application in the future?

TREASURY is enhanced on an ongoing process and the development of function and features is driven by the needs of our customers. We run regular functional updates on the system (one or two major releases per annum) and several improvements and optimisations during a year.

Secure internet platform

Users access the system using their user ID and password. The system uses minimum 128-bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. If a web browser does not support this level of encryption, the user will not be able to access the system.

Low investment cost

There are two components to the fee. There is a one-off charge at the outset, which relates to setting up the company’s database and providing on-site training. This tends to be lower than the set-up fees associated with a traditional treasury management system, which requires installation of the system at the company’s premises. There is also a monthly user fee, which varies depending on the scope of functions accessed and which includes maintenance and hotline support. There are no annual running costs or update fees.

Implementation

The web-based nature of the solution means that implementation is straightforward. From the customer’s point of view, all that is required is a PC running a standard internet browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari.

Commerzbank provides on-site training at the customer’s premises. From the decision to use the system to going live, implementation is completed very quickly because no installation is needed and there is no need for any further technical requirements.

Conclusion

Liquidity is a key concern for all treasurers in the current market but the tendency to work with multiple banks can make it more challenging to obtain an accurate overview of the company’s cash. Commerzbank’s TREASURY module is well positioned to serve treasurers’ needs in the current market, with its convenient web-based architecture, its wide range of liquidity management tools and its ability to incorporate account information from a number of different banks.

The new Commerzbank

With the takeover of Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank opens up a new chapter of its corporate history. Commerzbank AG and Allianz SE agreed on the sale of Dresdner Bank AG to Commerzbank on 31st August 2008. As of 12th January 2009 the takeover has been completed and Commerzbank has become the sole shareholder of Dresdner Bank.

The leading bank for private and corporate customers in Germany

The transaction will make Commerzbank the leading bank for private and corporate banking in Germany. With some 1,200 branches, the new bank will have the strongest branch network of all German banks, and its customers stand to benefit from an even broader and more attractive range of products and advisory services.

At the same time, the takeover will enhance Germany’s standing as an economic and financial centre. The new Commerzbank will be an even stronger long-term partner for the export-strong SME sector and corporate customers, combining the expertise and clear commitment of both banks to the German market under a single roof.

Contact details:
Jasmin Maraslioglu
Corporate Banking,
+49 (0) 69 136 46966
Kaiserplatz,
60261 Frankfurt am Main,
Germany
www.commerzbank.com

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