Considering Banks in Your Implementation Plan

by | Nov 18, 2016 | Bank Connectivity, Series | 0 comments

Blog Series: The Role of Onboarding in Your TMS Implementation

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As you consider implementing a treasury management system, you may experience relief at the thought of moving away from manual processes, anticipation of greater efficiencies and more productivity in your team, and also dread—dread at the thought of the implementation. If you haven’t implemented a TMS before—get ready. It’s about to get real.

When creating your project roadmap and building your project plan for the implementation, several key elements which typically lead to scope creep come to mind—resources (both internal and external), concurrent treasury projects, IT availability, and getting ROI in the time you’ve promised to secure budget. Another outlier is lurking out there, waiting to wreak havoc on your project roadmap—bank onboarding.

When you talk to TMS providers during sales meetings, they’ll tell you that the banks “come online” in one or two days. Even when you’re signing the final agreement, you’ll see minimal resources dedicated to bank onboarding. That’s because bank onboarding is double-sided—the TMS provider, in most cases, will provide significantly less than one-third of the manpower involved in bringing up a bank for information reporting and less than one-fifth for payments. The other half falls on—you guessed it—YOU! You get to initiate global project teams with the banks for all your main global banks, fill out loads of documents, trace down signatories in all corners of the earth—and even though you have that POA in place which should make global signers possible…it’s not going to be accepted in some countries.

So in this blog series, we’ll explore some ways to make bank onboarding a friendlier process—so you know what you’re up against, can avoid some common pitfalls, and can set a realistic timeline for your project.

There are several logical ways to approach onboarding your banks to your new TMS. After you’ve considered those outlined below as well as others, you can determine what works for your team and structure and incorporate that approach into your project roadmap.

  • Highest Percentage of Accounts / Balances. You might choose to select the banks with which you hold your highest balances across the globe and move forward with those banks first.
  • Regional. Alternatively, you might have a regional approach to your entire TMS project—perhaps you are rolling out the TMS to North America or Europe first and plan to then add other regions later, after the pilot region is complete. In that case, you’d logically onboard the corresponding regional banks for the pilot phase.
  • SWIFT Capability. If you are connecting to your banks via SWIFT, you might target all SWIFT capable banks first and move on to others in a later phase.
  • Big Bang. You might be focused on quick results and go for a Big Bang approach—contacting all banks simultaneously and bringing them up as quickly as they respond.
  • Payments. In some cases, you might think through which banks you’ll plan to do high urgency, high value payments to out of the TMS and move forward with those key players first.
  • Information Reporting. In other instances, you might not be ready to begin payment testing early in the game and plan to implement the payments module further along in the process. In this case, you’d bring up your banks for information reporting (daily statements) first and then approach payments later.


In our next blog, we’ll cover elements to consider as you attempt to set realistic timelines for the bank onboarding portion of your TMS project. Check back in so your project will stay on track and your budget won’t pop up with surprises for you!

Annie Reid is a Treasury Analyst working with Strategic Treasurer’s clients. A connectivity and bank onboarding specialist, she is the head of Strategic Treasurer’s bank onboarding team. When Strategic Treasurer’s clients make a major change that impacts their banking relationships, such as selecting new technology or a new treasury aggregator relationship, her team handles all of the ensuing communication and connectivity changes. This encompasses: information reporting and payments; making decisions regarding file formats and communication methodology; and handling all bank and technology firm calls and documentation management. For payment testing, her team creates a custom test case inventory and oversees and tracks all UAT and production testing. Annie works closely with SWIFT and is a SWIFT Certified Trainer currently delivering training to corporates and bankers on SWIFT for Corporates and Alliance Lite 2.
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