LAS VEGAS—It will likely still be a little while before Electronic Bank Account Management (EBAM) becomes mainstream for corporate treasury departments. However, thanks to a recent industry collaboration effort that time might be coming soon, SWIFT said Monday at the 2013 AFP Annual Conference.
The financial messaging provider has been working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi and JPMorgan to bring corporates on board with EBAM through the G.R.E.A.T (Global Rapid EBAM Adoption Team) Project, a part of the Common Global Implementation (CGI) EBAM workgroup. USI Insurance, Weiland/Fiserv, e5 Solutions Group and SunGard also contributed to the effort.
“Our mission was to help multiple clients, banks and vendors productively use eBAM in their daily operations,” said Glen Solimine, executive director, J.P. Morgan and EBAM workgroup coordinator for CGI. “While unique in the approach, working together was critical to our mutual success. EBAM truly benefits from the network effect. With broader adoption by all parties, the value to each participant increases.”
Bank account management is currently still a paper-based process between most banks and corporates. EBAM automates a corporate's account management and facilitates the integration into back-office applications (TMS, ERP, HR-databases, etc.). According to SWIFT, moving to EBAM will lead to significant cost and time savings, and ensure there is a consistent view on account structure by both corporates and banks.
Stacy Rosenthal, director, corporate and banking initiatives, SWIFT, told AFP that this industry collaboration is a key milestone in the effort to achieve greater EBAM adoption. “The banks are truly working together with the corporates, versus working one-on-one, with the corporate having a bilateral discussion. It’s now a multilateral discussion, with the corporate really defining what the goals and milestones should be,” she said. “The banks really opened up; they helped corporates develop how they can build the business case for EBAM, how to potentially do vendor selection, and when to pick SWIFT versus a proprietary solution.”
Rosenthal explained that G.R.E.A.T. essentially moved EBAM out of the “classroom” stage by taking the corporates that were operationally ready and getting them onboard. “So now it’s not just, ‘I can do this; let’s send a live message but we’re not going to do any activity.’ The corporates are actually going live and staying live.”
Rosenthal added that the next phase will be increasing overall adoption, expanding to more regions. “We do have some other key milestones; we want to bring on additional banks and additional countries. The regions right now are the UK and the U.S. primarily, and then we’re looking to tackle Asia in the future,” she said.
Nancy Colwell, director of treasury for USI Insurance, said that EBAM will help her organization streamline processes and gain efficiencies through standardized and automated account management. “The collaboration and innovation between the banks and application vendors has been instrumental to the project’s success and will continue to promote industry adoption,” she said.