Of the many commercial relationships which fall under the purview of the CFO, the banking relationship is of paramount importance. It is not simply the obvious, namely that a banking relationship is a channel to liquidity, but also that the duration tends to be long-term and it comes hand in glove with a heavy compliance overhead.
It is easy to become dissatisfied, given the regulatory environment, and to believe that life would be easier working with a different provider. But, really, how do you know? Unless you maintain accounts with multiple banks, itself a burdensome overhead, you cannot reasonably judge whether or not switching banks would make much of a difference. And there is a high price to pay to switch in terms of the time it takes to onboard with another bank. It is a complex process, and it seems to be designed to provide maximum frustration.
If, like us, you are an advocate of evidence-based decision making and the insights inferred, then you will be pleased to know that there are comprehensive surveys which can help you. In particular, East &Partners conducts voice of the customer research with corporate treasurers, CFOs and business owners to benchmark relationships with banks to measure customer satisfaction, enterprise market share, switching intentions and share of wallet. These studies cover FX services, trade finance, and transaction banking.
So, rather than guessing or relying on anecdotal evidence, these peer-based surveys provide a benchmark to compare banking relationships across large, structured samples of real-life customer experiences. Even if you have some frustration with your banking relationship the feedback from your peers may perhaps be positive. This could indicate that the problem may be with the relationship manager and, changing that is a lot more straight forward than switching bank. Conversely, your own banking experience may be much better than your peer group would suggest.
In either case having this benchmark data informs you ahead of your next negotiation with the bank. And information drives better decision-making.