According to Jim Gifas, there's no reason a bank's corporate clients can't benefit from the convenience technology has afforded consumers. "People want to conduct business the same way that they live," says Gifas, executive VP, head of treasury solutions for RBS Citizens (Providence, R.I.; $118 billions in assets).
On that note, RBS Citizens has invested heavily in mobile banking services for corporate customers. Its corporate mobile system, accessMOBILE, debuted in 2010; is supported by iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices; and was one of the first corporate mobile banking systems in the U.S. The app, built on the SAP/Sybase platform, lets corporate clients approve pending transactions, release wire transfers and view previous-day transactions, among other functions.
The service has a 73% adoption rate among its initial target market after one year, and Gifas' team is preparing for the launch of the next generation of accessMOBILE later this year -- while many banks are just rolling out their own corporate mobile systems. This version will have more transactional capabilities, as well as informational ones, such as viewing account balance snapshots, Gifas says. "The difference between the first generation of accessMOBILE and the 2.0 version is moving from an information-oriented to an action-oriented system," he adds.
This transition is based on feedback from a client advisory group RBS Citizens had convened, Gifas reports. He says initially the idea for accessMOBILE was to assist business clients while they were out of the office, but many were telling Gifas they wanted to use it on a more day-to-day basis as well.
Midmarket corporate customers will benefit from having more transactional capabilities, Gifas says. "Large corporates have big treasury staffs and many people to process transactions. The middle-market operation is a bit leaner, and these customers are managing these transactions themselves."
Gifas constantly evaluates the merits of building applications in-house versus partnering with technology providers when considering adding to the RBS Citizens treasury management product suite. When looking to expand payments processing services, Gifas partnered with Bottomline Technologies to integrate its Paymode-X digital payment and invoicing system. The cloud system lets clients receive electronic invoices and send electronic payments with detailed remittance data to and from suppliers, customers and employees. It also helps businesses eliminate paper payment costs and earn dividends for payments made through it, with a percentage of a customer's payment file total being returned directly to it, Gifas says.
While integrating Paymode-X into RBS Citizens' treasury management suite, Gifas took several steps to ensure that the project would be completed on time and on budget, which was especially important since this was happening concurrently with several other large projects. "In order to launch new solutions, we go through many internal controls," he says. "We go through a vetting process and also seek feedback from existing customers." In this instance, he received "positive feedback all around."
The product rollout began in October 2012, and took approximately eight months to complete. RBS Citizens went live with the product in June. During the implementation, Gifas made sure there were regularly scheduled review meetings, and constant communication between the bank and Bottomline to ensure that the process was going smoothly. If something wasn't going right, the implementation team would hold emergency one-off meetings to immediately address the problem.
"Having these protocols in place, and involving your technology partner, is the recipe for success," he says. Paymode-X "has been a very well-received solution by our clients, resulting in a very robust pipeline of clients interested in learning more about it and implementing this solution."