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Re-drawing the map

The changing landscape of cross border banking and payments

Multiple forces are tearing up the map of correspondent banking and cross-border transactions. The rise of the digital-first business, which is often global from inception; the retreat of large global banks from their correspondent banking networks; and increased customer expectations for more fluid, lower-cost international payments. These are coming together to shake up a market largely unchallenged since the dawn of international trade.

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Margin compression, the influence of consumer-driven Fintech innovations, and regulatory enforcement designed to open up fiefdoms that were previously closed to outside competition are partly responsible. But while the market may be at an inflexion point, the battle is far from lost for incumbent or institutional providers of cross-border banking services. So far.

While the map is being re-drawn, as this paper based on insights from interviews with mid-tier and large banks reveals, incumbents of all sizes remain in pole position to seize the opportunity of the industry’s gradual digital overhaul. For the moment.

The challenge ahead is not for the faint of heart. Meeting it will require resolute commitment and a progressive shift in institutional mindset. The research emphasizes that to seize the opportunity, banks should start from the top with a strategic re-think of the cross-border product set, working right through to sales, marketing, and distribution channels.

Institutions that put the customer and the re-definition of global business at the center of their operations — and can banish the rigidity of the pre-digital age — will be best poised to benefit from the new golden era for global trade.

Saxo payments Banking Circle believes that winning in the digital age is not about making existing processes faster or better but re-imagining processes to put the customer first. Banks should be moving up the value chain and focussing resources on delivering the best possible service to the customer, allowing core banking functions to be delivered by financial utilities which have the technological capability to do so more cost-effectively and efficiently than they can. That is why we have sponsored this white paper, researched and published in partnership with magnaCarta.