Three ways for treasury leaders to increase visibility

Mary Ellen Georgas-Tellefsen December 30th, 2019
Treasury Management

Elevating the function of treasury management helps strengthen its contributions

As our leadership interviews have shown, treasury management stands at a crossroad. Historically, the department operated as an administrative, customer service and back office function.

However, as FIs face greater pressure on fees and deposits, more competition from Fintechs and a need to modernize technology, many are rethinking treasury’s role within the organization.

“High levels of quality service are still expected from treasury management, but the group is being looked at more and more for sales, leads and revenue generation” stated one executive.

A growing number of FIs now position treasury as a self-sustaining sales and service organization. This autonomy enables treasury to:

  • Focus more readily on strategic priorities
  • React more quickly to changing market conditions
  • Generate new income streams
  • More quickly and directly address customer requests

If you’re a treasury manager, taking the department in this new direction can seem daunting, productive or even exciting. (Possibly all three at once!)

What is clear from our interviews with treasury management leaders is that even without a formal restructuring, treasury can elevate its stature into a more visible and strategic role that generates clear value for the financial institution.

Share treasury’s success stories

Moving forward begins by reorienting treasury’s perception within the FI. As the senior leaders in our study shared, only when others view treasury as a credible peer to commercial or retail counterparts will real change begin to occur.

“We can do a better job of educating lenders on how and when to engage with the treasury management team,” noted one leader.

Simply put, treasury leaders must broadcast their successes across the organization, and work to elevate the profile of the treasury function. With or without a formal restructuring, these tactics help treasury break down organizational silos and take advantage of often overlooked opportunities.

“Our success in requesting additional resources depends upon on credibility, competition for resources and our ability to tell the story,” noted one senior treasury leader.

Relationships are another crucial component.

“We wouldn’t be successful without significant cooperation with all departments of the bank,” another participant observed.

Three ways to increase treasury’s visibility

Here are three ways to increase treasury management’s role and visibility within the FI:

Leverage internal relationships. Treasury management teams excel at getting others to cooperate and support their goals. Leaders who leverage this unique level of collaboration have a head start in enhancing treasury’s role within the FI. To create a more strategic treasury function, staff must expand relationships across all levels of the organization, especially with senior management. Treasury must be seen (and act) as a thoughtful business partner, able to think and act in the strategic best interests of the FI, identify new solutions and inspire other lines of business, in addition to its historical role in implementation.

Advocate regularly. Getting the word out is the next step toward changing ingrained internal viewpoints and putting treasury in a new light. Often, it means a more vocal and outgoing role for treasury leaders. Start by documenting wins with individual clients, and sharing these anecdotally. Advocacy continues to be reinforced with regular, ongoing KPI reporting. It’s also critical to work with senior leaders to ensure treasury has a seat at the table for key organizational decisions.

Redefine success. To be viewed as a more progressive and strategic part of the organization, treasury must demonstrate how its efforts make a direct impact on top line and bottom-line results. That means capturing different data, and redefining the function’s objectives beyond customer service and administration. Look for goals and metrics that link up corporate strategy (i.e., increase deposits or fee income) and down the line to target customer segmentation, product development, sales incentives and compensation structures.

Evolving treasury’s role brings many benefits, but it also represents a new way of doing business; expect to encounter some internal resistance at first. By anticipating the impact of change on the FI’s culture, you can ease the transition and smooth the way for strong results.

Up next in our treasury management series: Avoiding blind spots—why marketing is critical to treasury’s future growth.

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.