Developing and managing a multi-channel approach has been
a key issue in retail banking. But what about Corporate &
Investment Banks (CIBs)? Where do they stand in terms of multi-
channel for corporate clients? Especially, what are the trends
and opportunities in digital channels for them and what are the
For many years, CIBs have been offering electronic platforms
for corporate clients to execute transactions and trades online;
historically, this has taken the form of multiple separate web
banking applications which were specialized per product (cash
management, trade finance, forex, …).
The changing environment is currently creating new opportunities
for banks to provide cross-asset / cross-business e-platforms
and to enrich their multi-channel offering. The combination of
three major elements of disruption is accelerating the pace of
change: corporate clients’ rising expectations, innovation
within leading banks, and new technologies.
First, corporate clients have become more and more demanding
regarding what an e-platform should deliver in terms of services
and features, ease of use and design, and personalization
capabilities. They are looking for simplicity (a single entry point
platform), availability (multi-devices, multi-places) and relevant
information produced in real-time (see Figure 1). They also expect
e-platforms to be collaborative; corporate users want the ability
to interact with bank experts or relationship managers at any time
via the e-platform. Finally, corporate clients expect full security
and require self-service access control for managing user rights
This trend is similar for all corporate clients, with a specific focus
on ease of use for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) clients
and sophisticated functionalities and customized requirements for
larger corporate clients. Banks must bear in mind that corporate
clients are getting savvier and keen to benchmark. Modern
e-platforms are a must have in order to retain clients.
The pace of change has also accelerated due to the innovation
from leading Banks, specifically: those that have been very
creative in services and features development in the past five
years - particularly in the fields of cash management, trade
finance and foreign exchange - thus raising the bar for their peers.
The third pillar of change is technology that enables the
development of efficient client journeys and innovative features.
Among them, three types of technologies are key: integration
technologies, data visualization solutions and data analytics
Push towards Cross-Product /
Cross-Asset Electronic Platforms
Figure 1 - Clients’ demands are getting sharper
All in One
Integration technologies allow customers to set-up a single
entry point for their different e-banking applications (cash
management, trade, etc.) opening client users to a seamless
environment. They can also set-up links between different
applications or embed functions from one application to the
other (i.e. widgets) to create value-added services (e.g. sweeping
from cash account to money market funds, navigating from a
cash movement to the originating operation), which allows the
integration of partner applications, market data feeds, news etc.
Data Visualization tools have also emerged on the market; these
tools enable customers to set-up powerful reporting functions
with visual data representation (dashboards, charts, maps…)
offering the ability to navigate and drill-down into: different asset
classes, different geographic locations or different legal entities.
Figure 3 - Data Analytics
The use of Data Analytics on e-banking platforms
ALL PRODUCTS & SERVICES
ACCESSIBLE ON ONE PLATFORM
NEW INSIGHTS ACTIVITY FOLLOW UP
Many product & services
available in one platform
Next best action
The best reaction to market
Peer group analysis
Market trend analysis
says the Head of Digital Transformation of a European bank.
Finally, Data Analytics has generated a fantastic opportunity to
produce more knowledge for the bank about its clients, which
generate new insights and to create more value for customers.
However, leveraging Data Analytics for e-platforms raises
important questions e.g. which insights and options should be
pushed directly to clients via the e-platform and which should be
pushed to sales (Coverage, Sales, and Relationship managers)?
See Figure 3. Some banks are also considering the opportunity
to create additional revenue streams by selling data analytics
services to clients (e.g. predictive forecast of liquidity, scenario
Conversely, e-platforms represent a tremendous source of
new information about clients: what types of transactions or
queries clients do, what research do they look at, etc.
• To propose relevant reactions to market evolutions / events leveraging analysis of external market data,
• Optimize their investment strategy through predictive forecast of liquidity, leveraging historical cash profiles,
seasonality of positions, etc.,
• Compare client’s activity with their peers and propose best action (avoiding procyclicity),
• Adapt to pricing policy, leveraging algorithmic analysis of price elasticity, etc.
E-platforms are key building blocks
to develop a Big Data strategy
Figure 3 - Maturity curve of e-platform according product coverage
(ACH & RTGS)
Real time operations
Management of client
Sweeps and pooling
Time to market
Despite the changing environment and opportunities, cross-asset
e-banking platforms for corporate clients are still under-developed
in continental European countries. The latter still rely on dedicated
product-specific e-platforms. Major arguments against investing
in client-centric cross-asset e-platforms include: lack of request
from corporate clients themselves, lack of request from Coverage
and/or Sales, question whether such a platform will increase
market share, and questions on the ROI of such an investment.
So why did leading banks invest time and money to build cross-
The first reason is the ability to increase revenue through
cross-selling different products that are all available on the same
e-platform (cash management, trade finance, foreign exchange,
liquidity solutions, investment products, etc). The second driver
is to enhance the customer experience on the e-platform.
Finally, they wish to strengthen the bank’s image on the market
as a digital player.
says a Senior IT executive in a major European bank.
Overall, it appears efficient e-platforms strongly contribute to
the leaders’ continued expansion/stronghold in the Global
Transaction Banking market as well as in Forex. On Forex, volume
Digital channels: a clear driver
of differentiation for CIBs
Differentiation on e-platforms can be created in four dimensions:
- Wide and rich panel of product offers,
- Integrated platform,
- Consistent services and user experience over different form
factors (Web / Tablet / Smartphone),
- Value added functions (data analytics, reporting features,
collaborative tools, …)
In that perspective, a number of banks have invested heavily to
enlarge their e-product offers and to comply as much as possible
with corporate clients’ expectations. The ability to offer a large
number of products under one umbrella is a key indicator of
maturity (see Figure 3). At this stage, only a few leaders (such as
JP Morgan, Citibank, HSBC, UBS, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas)
are able to deliver a wide and rich panel of products through a
user-friendly and integrated platform. Fewer players are able to
provide the same on mobile devices (see Figure 4). Overall, most
European players are lagging behind their American counterparts.
Source: Capgemini Consulting research
traded on electronic platforms has constantly increased these
past years reaching 75% of total volumes, according to a survey
by Greenwich Associates. The biggest beneficiaries have been
banks with the best electronic platforms.
Being able to provide a customer-
centric platform will be a serious
competitive advantage in CIB
Bill payment FX/Currency
Easy search Positive pay Risk analysis
Source: Capgemini Consulting research
Figure 4 Example of best in class services on mobile
Cash management services on mobile are getting more sophisticated Standard offer Best in class Rarely offered
So banks must decide whether they want to develop full-fledged
platforms on their own or whether they want to partner with
vendors for certain products or services. Of course, the different
approaches don’t allow a bank to differentiate itself in the same
way. Two major partnering approaches are seen on the market and
can be used in combination: one is to use white label e-platform
solutions available on the market; the second is to participate to
multi-dealer platforms operated by independent players.
White label e-platform providers offer banks turn-key client
portal solutions which must be integrated with the banks’ systems
(in order to process the transactions and trade orders in the bank’s
back-end systems). Such approaches reduce the costs and time
to market for banks, relieving them of the effort to develop their
own front-end portal. However, such solutions are not suited for
those banks who wish to differentiate themselves on the market
with innovative services and a leading user experience. For large
banks that have the ability to invest in developing their own
e-platform, the challenge will be to make sure their architecture
is sufficiently open and flexible to allow the integration of off-
the-shelf applications for commoditized capabilities (e.g. a
basic cash forecasting module for the SME market clients). This
mixed approach will usually require some customization effort for
the purchased application to ensure a harmonized user interface
through the entire e-platform, including a harmonized logic to
promote and access the different applications on the portal (e.g.
an app store model).
Multi-Dealer Platform (MDP) is the second trend for banks in
partnering with tiers: MDP allow clients to get automatic quotes/
prices for a given trade from several banks participating with the
MDP. Such platforms focus on highly liquid assets with straight
through processing execution such as Forex; they are mostly
used by Institutional clients and some medium/large corporate
clients looking for the best price. Banks usually still offer the same
products on their own e-platform for their direct clients. So MDP
are more seen as an additional channel for clients. Here, it is critical
for banks to define their strategy, because once a corporate is
on-boarded with a MDP, it tends to stay with it. Overall MDP
are growing their market share especially for FX trading; today
50% of FX trading amounts worldwide is managed through such
platforms, while only 25% goes through individual bank platforms
(and 20% by phone) - Source: Les Echos (March 2015).
While large corporate clients can behave like institutional clients,
small institutional clients may also have similar needs as corporate
ones; hence, Banks should look closely at their client
segmentation to capture the cross-selling opportunities
and also determine how to do it. Should banks offer distinct
e-platforms for Corporate and for Institutional clients (still reusing
components or services between the platforms)? Should banks
offer one platform serving all client segments (with personalization
capabilities)? It is expected that modern and well architectured
e-platforms should offer the flexibility to adapt to different client
types & segments.
states the head of CIB of a Mutual Group.
Looking at the small business segment (a rather large number of
clients), many banks are not offering the specific digital products
& services they require. As a result, it is estimated that one-third
of them may shift to non-banking challengers (2014 Aite Group
Study). See Figure 5.
It is one of the many questions banks need to address before
embarking on the journey of cross-asset e-platform development!
E-platforms can even be tailored to
the needs of SME clients
Will non-banking challengers transform the market? As few banks offer comprehensive e-platforms, it is estimated that up to one-third of
small businesses may shift to non-bank solutions (2014 Aite Group Study).
YODLEE SMALL BUSINESS SOLUTION
Yodlee, a new player in the banking system, has found a vacant place between banks and small businesses. That vacant place represents
a very large market segment (e.g. 30 million in the USA) of customers mostly dissatisfied with their Bank (only 25% said to be pleased
with their current primary financial institutions).
Yodlee’s core activity is to deliver online banking solutions especially designed for SMEs, but also to provide its services to financial
institutions to incorporate the Yodlee solution into their online banking platforms. Yodlee Small Business Solution offers:
- Quick and easy on-boarding of accounts
- Single entry point access to services, and easy to use tools such as accounts receivables, account summary, cash flow, expense
management, credit scoring for SMEs, payroll, time management, transactions, qualitative insights, consolidated dashboard with
360-degree view of accounts
- Strict bank-level security and encryption technology.
Figure 5 - Non-banking actors challenging banks
The implementation of such e-platforms with a true multi-channel
approach for customers entails a number of deep organizational
and operational transformations.
First, an e-platform alters the relation between Relationship
managers, Sales and their clients: indeed the former are able
Reshuffling the bank’s
Figure 6 - E-platforms raise a number of questions
Client targets (segmentation)
Pricing strategy and incentives
Country speciﬁc restrictions
SECURITY AND COMPLIANCE
Return on investment?
Ability to invest heavily?
Data and platform security
Make or buy
Linking with Big data
Capital market involvement
Sales force organization
Role of the middle ofﬁce
Transversal team on e-banking
GOVERNANCE AND ORGANIZATION
to spend more time on advisory services, however, they must
also provide additional value that the electronic system does not
This raises a number of key questions, such as: should clients
be segmented and oriented to the most relevant channel or
should they choose by themselves; what value is expected from
Coverage, from Sales; is there a need to rationalize the sales force,
and should it focus on the product or on the client relationship;
should the remuneration system evolve? Etc.
The CIB industry has definitely entered the multi-channel era
with e-platforms becoming cross-asset, mobile device support,
data analytics etc. But e-platforms will need to be properly
articulated in a global multi-channel approach, also
considering contact center models to cater for certain
clients both for trading and advisory. Here again, it will require
banks to think through their client segmentation to determine
which client to direct to which channel and how to adapt their
organization. Top-end CIB players have already started down
this new journey based on the lessons learned from their retail
In addition, e-platforms have a strong impact on the operating
model, and in particular on the role of the middle-office which
is bound to evolve. Three main options can be envisioned to
take advantage of the middle-office current competencies: 1.
refocusing on their controlling role, which encompasses both risk
and increasingly compliance, 2. a shift towards marketing, with
the creation of a Big Data center of excellence, or 3. an evolution
towards sales support, leveraging e-platforms monitoring tools.
Thirdly, we see great opportunities to embed security and
compliance functions in these platforms to support banking
processes. But which technologies can provide the necessary
capabilities for Financial Security?
Finally, such development requires a high expertise from IT and
the ability to optimize investments. Various options are now
available to minimize costs (such as white labeling and licensing
software) but all of them require a global view of the competitive
landscape as well as a deep understanding of customers’
expectations, which can only be developed through a close
partnership between business stakeholders and IT.
Not yet the end game of
multi-channel for CIBs