On 6 June, the ABBL and ATEL (Association des Trésoriers d'Entreprise à Luxembourg) jointly organised a conference on banking connectivity and payment automation, to identify innovative solutions and best practices. Speakers and panellists representing ATEL, Finologee, LuxHub, JP Morgan, Revantage and 3S Money had a lively discussion on current innovations and the challenges that continue to exist on both the corporate and banking sides. Here are the key points.

Businesses are generally multi-banked and need better banking connectivity, ideally using a one-stop shop. The often ridiculed "drawer full of tokens" was highlighted: each bank uses its own platforms, which increases not only the risks but also the administrative burden for users. This problem could be solved by single banking gateways, which would allow all bank accounts to be accessed using a single tool and all relevant transactions to be carried out. 

Treasurers are expected to increase automation and reach full Straight-Through Processing by integrating Enterprise Resource Planning systems to payment factory. Greater visibility, real time reconciliation and speed play an important role for corporates, who want to know whether a transfer has already reached the beneficiary or where it is currently being processed.

Financial service providers offer innovative solutions to support automation and connectivity. One of the presented use-cases provides with a single-entry payments tool allowing, among others, to simplify access rights management, aggregate all accounts view, streamline approval process, reduce errors and reporting risks.

Another concrete solution for corporates is the use of Open Banking via Payment Initiation Services (with a possibility to remove the Strong Customer Authentication) and Account Information Services (by retrieving real-time banking data).

What other innovative solutions are on the horizon?

Banks and Payment or E-Money Institutions are also working on innovation. For example, the use of blockchain technology will allow treasurers to perform clearing and settlement at the same time and avoid all related issues such as cut-off time and liquidity management. Smart contracts could provide with easier reconciliation and greater visibility in payments.

It was also emphasised that change management at companies’ level is an important part of the future, and that the right mindset is already an important step forward. The good basis for any development, however, is that both corporates and banks are open to dialogue, understand each other's needs and constraints and work together to find ways forward.