What is Bank Connectivity? With Joost Kevelam

💲 We simplify Corporate Treasury Concepts - 🎙️ From the podcast Corporate Treasury 101

What is Bank Connectivity? With Joost Kevelam

Bank Connectivity by Joost Kevelam

Bank connectivity is essential to managing finances for businesses, regardless of size. However, connecting with banks, integrating financial systems, and handling transactions and data can be complicated and time-consuming. To mark the 100th episode of the Corporate Treasury 101 podcast, we had the pleasure of interviewing Joost Kevelam from COBASE, a leading provider of bank connectivity solutions.

During our conversation, we gained valuable insights into how COBASE revolutionizes how treasury professionals connect with financial institutions and streamline their financial operations. Recognizing treasury professionals’ challenges, COBASE has developed innovative solutions that simplify and enhance the bank connectivity experience.

This article will explore COBASE’s offerings, examine real-world use cases, and highlight their significant benefits to treasury departments. Our discussion with Joost shed light on COBASE’s unique approach to bank connectivity and its unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality services.

This article provides a comprehensive guide for treasury professionals looking to optimize their bank connectivity processes.

In The Article, You Can Expect to Learn the Following:

  • The Concept of Bank Connectivity and Its Significance for Corporate Treasuries.
  • The Purpose and Importance of Electronic Banking Systems (EBS) Concerning Bank Connectivity.
  • Strategies For Smaller Companies to Leverage EBS Tools Effectively.
  • The Nature of Information Exchanged Between Banks and Corporations, Including Formats and Available Channels.
  • How COBASE Simplifies Bank Connectivity for Corporate Treasuries by Handling Implementation and Technical Aspects.
  • The Offerings Provided by COBASE And Their Efforts to Expand Their Services, Particularly During Periods of Mergers and Acquisitions.
  • And much, much more

Let’s embark on this journey to unlock the potential of streamlined bank connectivity with COBASE and discover how it can revolutionize your treasury operations.

Introduction to Joost Kevelam and COBASE

Welcome, readers! We begin our journey into the corporate treasury with an insightful conversation with Joost Kevelam, the Chief Commercial Officer of COBASE. Now, if you’re asking yourself, “What’s COBASE?” – don’t worry; we have the answer right here.

Joost’s role in COBASE involves overseeing every aspect of its corporate client franchise. This includes marketing and business development to sales and client implementations. Now, that’s quite the task.

Now, let’s shift gears to focus on COBASE. It’s a remarkable technology partner for corporate treasury teams. They provide an all-in-one multi-banking-as-a-service solution. Sounds complicated? Let’s simplify it.

Managing numerous banking relationships (anywhere between 5 to 50) is a massive task for most corporate treasury teams. It involves a complex interplay of bank connectivity, cash management, and payment infrastructure. And that’s where COBASE steps in.

COBASE aims to untangle this intricate web, making it as simple, efficient, and compliant as possible for its clients. In essence, they are the helping hand that guides corporate treasuries through their multi-banking challenges.

Unravelling the Concept of Bank Connectivity

Diving into one of the critical concepts in the corporate treasury world – bank connectivity – can seem daunting. However, with Joost’s guidance, we’ll simplify it for you.

Understanding Bank Connectivity

Joost explained that bank connectivity fundamentally concerns how a company exchanges data or information with its banks. For example, as a treasury professional, you would want to be able to access your account balances across all your banks as a basic requirement.

The Traditional Approach: Manual Processes

The traditional way to do this, as described by Joost, is to manually log into various bank portals every morning and then copy-paste the information into an Excel sheet. But this approach, as Joost rightfully pointed out, is time-consuming, prone to errors, and rife with risk, such as dealing with different logins, tokens, and the potential for typos. Surprisingly, even well-known companies continue to follow this labour-intensive process.

Bank Connectivity: The Lifeline for Efficiency

When looking for more efficient solutions, Treasury teams use the term ‘bank connectivity.’ Joost highlights how this concept provides a lifeline to escape from manual processes. It goes beyond just gathering account balances, extending to critical transaction details, like whether customers have fulfilled accounts receivables.

Importance of Two-Way Data Flow

Joost further emphasized the importance of two-way data flow in bank connectivity. This means receiving information from banks and sending payment files to them through the same connectivity. And, of course, you’d want this to be automated.

Benefits of Automation

The advantage? Joost shared that automation replaces inefficient and risky manual processes, especially when dealing with many banks. The more banks you have, the greater the benefits of automation. This allows you to focus on making data-driven decisions instead of getting bogged down with manual tasks.

Joost believes bank connectivity is your passport to more streamlined financial operations. So, it’s time to say goodbye to manually logging into bank portals and embracing the world of automation.

Understanding the Need for Multiple Bank Accounts in Treasury

If you’re new to the treasury world, you might wonder why a company would need multiple bank accounts, as Hussam did. Joost provides an insightful explanation. International companies usually work with numerous banks. Each bank has its strength – one might excel in Asia, while another shines in the Americas or Europe. Even when partnering with top-notch banks, a company can end up with an extensive banking group.

Funding Needs Lead to Multiple Banking Relationships

Aside from operational necessities, companies often seek funds for various purposes, including working capital or investment projects. These funds usually come from several banks. Why? Because specific projects might require a bank with particular expertise. Or, a single project might be so large that it requires funds from multiple banks.

Why Do Treasury Teams Need Daily Balance Updates?

Now, let’s discuss why companies need daily balance updates from all their bank accounts. Ideally, companies strive to optimize their balances across different banks. They want to dodge unnecessary borrowing in one place when excess cash is available elsewhere. While this balance-checking exercise could be performed weekly or monthly, advanced treasury teams prefer daily checks.

Maximizing the Use of Excess Cash

The rationale behind these daily checks is straightforward. You want to avoid lending where it’s unnecessary and don’t want excess cash lying idle where it could be used. In simpler scenarios, a company might want to keep its money in the bank account, offering the highest interest rate. Although interest rates have been low recently, this approach is becoming relevant again as rates shift.

As Guillaume sums it up, it’s all about cost and cash optimization. You want to utilize the group’s funds as much as possible and borrow only when necessary. With Joost’s expertise, we better understand the logic behind having multiple bank accounts and the necessity for daily balance updates. Therefore, it’s not just ‘Treasury 101’ but an essential practice for efficient financial management.

Decoding the Connectivity Technology in Treasury

If you’re delving into the depths of the treasury, Hussam’s question about different types of connectivity technology might pique your interest. In response, Joost introduces us to the SWIFT network, a significant player in the interbank world. If a corporate treasury team wants to connect their systems to the banks automatically, it must decide on the technology to deploy. SWIFT is a well-known option.

Now, you might wonder: “What’s the catch?” Well, SWIFT is an interbank network that can be quite costly. Moreover, different banks interpret the network’s standards differently, leading to discrepancies.

The MT940 Format: A Standard with Variations

Here’s an example of such discrepancies: the MT940 format. You might assume that MT940, a standard message template used to send transaction and account balance information, would be identical across all banks. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The structure and content within the MT940 messages differ from one bank to another, making it a bit tricky for corporate use.

Host-to-Host Connectivity: A Preferred Choice for Corporates

So, what’s the solution? According to Joost, many corporates prefer traditional host-to-host connectivity over SWIFT. The advantages? This technology is accessible to many bank clients, and the exchanged files can contain much detailed transaction data. Plus, since it’s an old technology, most people know how to work with host-to-host connectivity, making it easier to adopt. Lastly, it’s light on the client’s infrastructure, which adds to its simplicity.

In summary, different connectivity technologies like the SWIFT network and host-to-host connectivity are used in treasury. While each has strengths and drawbacks, understanding these technologies helps treasury teams streamline operations and make better-informed decisions. It’s another layer of complexity that makes treasury such an intriguing field.

Understanding Host-to-Host Communication and Bank APIs

Hussam inquires if host-to-host connectivity resembles a custom communication setup between two banks. Joost affirms this for the corporate use case. Although custom-made, the beauty of this technology lies in its simplicity. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy, you’ll find it easy to comprehend as it can be straightforwardly explained and neatly bundled in a manual.

Host-to-Host vs SWIFT: Making the Choice

You might wonder why I should choose host-to-host over SWIFT or vice versa. Here’s where Joost sheds some light on the pros and cons of each. SWIFT, although powerful, tends to be expensive to deploy and maintain. Meanwhile, host-to-host channels excel at providing rich data, which is crucial for automating reconciliation processes. However, this depends on the quality of the sending bank.

There’s a catch for smaller entrepreneurs: some banks only offer host-to-host services to their corporate plus clients. So, if you’re a small-sized company, you may not always have access to this technology. But don’t fret! Manual downloads can still be your friend.

The Future: Bank APIs

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) have created buzz for years, promising to transform how treasury departments work. They can potentially deliver data on demand, a significant advantage for treasury operations.

But remember, not everything that glitters is gold. While the technology is straightforward, the APIs are unique to each bank. Once you receive the data, you must harmonize the incoming data feeds into a format you can use. Moreover, there’s a considerable variation between banks regarding data richness provided through the API.

So, weighing the pros and cons is crucial, whether choosing between host-to-host and SWIFT or contemplating using bank APIs. The right choice can simplify your operations and provide the data you need for effective decision-making. Remember, it’s not about choosing the most popular or advanced technology but the one that best suits your needs.

Bank Connectivity in Different Channels
Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash

Cost Comparison and Connectivity in Different Channels

In the quest for cost efficiency, Hussam questions the price aspect of APIs compared to host-to-host and SWIFT. According to Joost, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. He explains that, in theory, deploying API connections could be cheaper because they’re efficient.

On the other hand, the costs might be similar to other methods because the benefit you receive from getting your account balances or transaction information is pretty much the same, regardless of the channel.

This leaves us with different possibilities. However, what’s certain is that you must evaluate your needs, assess the pros and cons, and make a decision that fits your budget and requirements.

Global vs Tailored Connections: SWIFT, Host-to-Host, and API

Guillaume puts forth another interesting perspective. With SWIFT, you have a global connection that lets you connect with a wide range of banks and financial institutions. In contrast, host-to-host and API connections are tailored per bank. So, if you’re dealing with multiple banks, you need to establish individual connections with each.

Joost validates this but introduces a fascinating alternative. Firms like his operate several host-to-host channels with their frequently collaborated banks. This provides an added benefit to their customers. They don’t need to set up their host-to-host channels. Instead, they can simply leverage the company’s connections with various banks.

So, for instance, if you work with a company that already has these host-to-host channels in place, you get a ‘mini SWIFT network.’ You can connect to your banks via the company’s pre-established connections. It’s like getting a shortcut, saving you from the hassle of establishing these connections yourself. This can be a significant time and cost-saver, especially for businesses with multiple banks.

Handling Complex Bank Connectivity and Implementing EBS for Small Companies

Hussam dives into the question of regional connectivity. He wonders if a company like Joost’s establishes individual connections for different regions of the same bank, such as Barclays UK and Barclays Europe.

Joost acknowledges this as a tricky part of working with global banks. While some banks have a uniform backend across regions, others do not. However, Joost reassures customers that they shouldn’t worry about this. His company handles the complexity and ensures seamless connectivity, whether it requires one, two, or more backend connections.

For US-based businesses, the situation may vary. The US market comprises numerous small local banks requiring different host-to-host connections, if available.

Electronic Banking Systems (EBS) and Small Companies

Guillaume shifts the conversation to smaller companies that might need to manually download and reconcile files. He inquires about the role of Electronic Banking Systems (EBS) for these businesses.

Joost confirms that EBS is indeed one of the two main avenues for these companies. Within the EBS, they can typically find an area to export reports in various formats, such as CSV, PDF, or MT940.

He also mentions some banks offer plugins compatible with local domestic accounting software. However, these are very region-specific and might not cater to global corporations.

Visa and Mastercard in the Picture

In the final part of this segment, Hussam brings up Visa and Mastercard, wondering why they can’t be used in place of all the discussed methods.

Joost explains that while different, they are complementary. They come into play when a company wants to integrate card transactions into their overall transaction overview or include online wallet balances in the overall cash overview.

So, if you want to include cash stored in PayPal or Adgents or card transaction information within your financial software, companies like Joost’s can help. They enable the integration of this data, making your daily cash overview comprehensive and easy to manage.

Types of Information Exchanged in Bank Connectivity and Overcoming Format Challenges

Guillaume starts this segment by confirming that Joost’s company also connects with card payment networks like Visa and Mastercard and banks. Joost acknowledges this, setting the stage for further discussion on the intricacies of bank connectivity.

The Complexity of Payment Formats and Templates

Moving the conversation forward, Guillaume wonders about the information exchange in bank connectivity. Specifically, he wants to understand what goes from the corporate side to the bank.

Joost highlights this as a critical corporate area, primarily due to the associated risks. He outlines that while status reports and tracking of payments is one aspect, the real challenge starts with managing payment formats and templates.

These formats and templates vary across banks, payment products, and countries. So, when you need to send a large payment batch from your accounting software to the right bank in the correct format, it becomes a daunting task for the specific payment product,

Joost underlines that tackling this challenge alone is nearly impossible for corporations. Here, software solution providers come into play. His company, for instance, takes a large payment batch from the corporation’s system, splits it, and converts it into smaller batches per each bank’s requirements.

Risk and Complexity in Incoming and Outgoing Payments

Though incoming payments (bank statements) have less risk attached as they involve only information receipt, their complexity in terms of formats is the same as outgoing payments.

The last part of the conversation revolves around the function of bank connectivity tools. Guillaume confirms that these tools receive a bulk of payment information from a corporate entity, process it, and ensure that the right amount of money is sent to the correct bank with the accurate transmission of information. Joost agrees with this summary, concluding the discussion on this subject.

Ensuring Proper Execution of Payments and Additional Features of Bank Connectivity

Tracking Payments with a Traffic Light System

Moving on to the next question, Guillaume asks how to ensure that sent payments have been executed correctly or are on their way to the right destination. He wonders if there’s a status report that banks can send through their connectivity channel.

Joost mentions that there are various technologies available for this purpose. One of the most intuitive methods he discusses is using a “traffic light” system. This dashboard allows users to track the status of their payments. It informs them whether the payments are in process or accepted by the receiving bank.

Role of Bank Connectivity in Bank Account Management

Turning the conversation towards other potential uses of bank connectivity channels, Guillaume seeks to know if there’s more to bank connectivity than payment execution, payment status reports, and bank statement information.

Joost brings up bank account management, a feature that many clients inquire about. Although he admits that the uptake of electronic bank account management (e-BAM) at the bank’s end is limited due to the lack of a market standard, Joost highlights an interesting side effect of having a centralized payment software-as-a-service solution, or a “payment hub.”

Once the payment hub is in place, managing users’ authorizations, approval rights, and payment approval processes becomes straightforward. In essence, it adds an extra layer of security and organization. This feature is a significant driver for companies to explore bank connectivity. Joost explains that when a new employee joins or leaves the company, the changes can be managed through this single platform without informing all individual banks about the personnel changes.

Overview of Bank Fees Through Bank Connectivity

Finally, Guillaume asks whether bank connectivity can provide an overview of bank fees. Joost explains that the reporting of this information isn’t standard. However, if a bank sends explicit information, it is possible to generate automated reports based on transaction codes. But, the bank must send this information in a structured way, which may not always be true.

So, from this part of the conversation, we learn about some of the additional benefits of bank connectivity, including the tracking of payments, ease of managing bank account authorizations, and potential visibility into bank fees.

Setting Up Bank Connectivity: What’s the Process?

Setting up bank connectivity primarily depends on the partner company you are working with. Joost mentions two scenarios:

  1. When the bank is within the partner’s network: Here, the partner company can manage most of the process. The client simply informs them which bank they want to connect with, and the partner takes it from there.
  2. When the bank is outside the partner’s network: In this case, the client initiates a discussion with their bank to establish a connection with the partner company. After this introduction, the partner company handles the complex details.

In-house Team vs Software Vendors

Joost confirms that they rely on an in-house team when asked whether his company uses software vendors or an in-house team. He highlights two key teams:

  1. Bank Implementation Team: This team specializes in setting up bank connections for corporate clients.
  2. Client Implementation Team: This team aids clients through their implementation process, providing help with documentation, setting up the portal, and managing users on the platform.

Type of Connectivity

As for the type of connectivity offered, Joost’s company provides host-to-host (or peer-to-peer), API connectivity, and SWIFT. The choice of technology is determined based on the client’s specific needs and the bank’s capabilities. They keep the process simple by suggesting the best technology for the client and taking care of its deployment.

In summary, the entire process is designed to minimize complexity for the client, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience when setting up bank connectivity.

Impact of Fintech Acceleration on Bank Connectivity and the Role of PSD2

The rising trend of Fintech companies has sparked significant changes in the banking world. Joost believes that these companies have forced banks to become more client-focused. They’ve encouraged banks to think about what treasury teams genuinely need and how they can meet these needs.

Fintech companies help bridge the gap between banks’ commercial and technical teams. They fulfil a critical role in navigating the technology landscape. As a result, Fintechs are helping reshape bank connectivity, making it more client-centred and efficient.

Understanding PSD2

When Guillaume asked about PSD2, Joost explained that it’s a regulation forcing banks to open their account data to third parties. This initiative mainly benefits the retail sphere, empowering third parties to assist end consumers with their banking needs.

The experience consumers get from this open banking also sets their expectations for their professional lives, which is where treasury teams come in. Therefore, in a nutshell, PSD2 is the foundation of open banking, offering more transparency and accessibility for consumers and businesses alike.

In conclusion, the accelerated growth of Fintechs has significantly influenced bank connectivity, making it more flexible and customer-centric. And regulations like PSD2 are crucial in making banking data more accessible and transparent, shaping how we understand and experience banking today.

Integrating Bank Connectivity Tools
Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

Integrating Bank Connectivity Tools with Corporate Systems

Guillaume questioned how bank connectivity tools, like the one provided by COBASE, integrate into a corporate’s infrastructure. Is it through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or the Treasury Management System (TMS)?

Joost answered by stating that it all depends on what the client wants. For some, a simple dashboard to initiate payments to different banks without dealing with different portals is enough. For them, COBASE provides an online cloud solution where they can log in, have all their banking information in one place, and make transactions easily.

The Role of COBASE in Streamlining Bank Connectivity

Most corporate clients, however, want to use the information downstream or upstream. In these cases, COBASE does more than just provide a dashboard. COBASE aggregates all account information, balances, and transactions and then converts and harmonizes this data into a single format called the “COBASE format.”

This uniform data is then made available to the client’s ERP or TMS, effectively integrating bank connectivity with the client’s system. This automated and integrated solution allows corporate clients to consume and utilize their banking data more efficiently, enhancing their operational efficiency.

In summary, integrating a bank connectivity tool like COBASE with a corporate’s system allows for efficient data utilization. This process is tailored to the client’s specific needs, ensuring that the data is made available in a way that suits their operations. This leads to better operational efficiency and improved banking processes for corporate clients.

Different SWIFT Connection Types and COBASE’s Service Offerings

Guillaume, eager to learn more about the connectivity aspects of banking, asked Joost about different connection types when it comes to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

Joost clarified that while he’s not a SWIFT specialist, he often discusses alternatives to SWIFT with treasury professionals. These alternatives include the SWIFT Alliance Lite, which requires the operation of a local server to receive documents and files. However, COBASE mostly utilizes SWIFT by participating in its network to benefit its clients. Using the COBASE BIC code, they can receive transactions on behalf of their customers.

This gives COBASE’s customers a simple way to connect to less common banks that don’t offer host-to-host services.

COBASE Service Offerings

Hussam then asked Joost to elaborate on the services provided by COBASE.

Joost highlighted three main offerings:

  1. The COBASE Bank Connector: This tool links banks and specific ERP systems strongly. It converts bank data for use within certain ERPs, with Oracle NetSuite as an example.
  2. The COBASE Payment Hub: This service isn’t limited to a specific ERP and offers a richer Graphical User Interface (GUI) where users can enter manual payments. It also has more advanced workflow designs and improved reporting and dashboarding functionalities.
  3. Treasury Management System (TMS): This payment hub with extra functionalities like dealing with Foreign Exchange (FX), hedging FX risks, in-house banking, liquidity forecasting, and balance optimization.

All these offerings are cloud-based and include a fully managed bank connectivity and file transformation service, making it easy for COBASE to maintain and secure for their clients.

Clarity on Cloud-based Solutions

Guillaume and Hussam then sought clarity on what being cloud-based means for these offerings.

Joost confirmed that all of COBASE’s services are cloud-based, meaning they don’t install software on their clients’ servers. Clients connect via the Internet, which simplifies deployment and enhances security.

So, to sum it all up, while SWIFT connectivity is important, COBASE focuses on providing efficient, easy-to-use, and secure alternatives for bank connectivity. Their services are designed to streamline banking and treasury operations, taking complex processes off their clients’ hands and ensuring the safety of their data in the cloud.

How Does COBASE Help Corporates Connect to Their Banks and Stand Out from Other Service Providers in the Industry?

Guillaume poses a great question to Joost, asking him to share how COBASE assists businesses in connecting with their banks. He also wants Joost to highlight how COBASE sets itself apart from its competitors.

Joost explains that COBASE holds a unique position for a few key reasons. Firstly, the Dutch Central Bank has issued a license to COBASE, which reassures their clients of their commitment to maintaining the highest standards of system and process security.

Secondly, COBASE provides a standard service that includes file transformation and maintenance at no extra cost. So, clients don’t have to worry about additional fees when the bank formats change (which they often do). COBASE works behind the scenes to ensure a seamless experience for its clients.

Lastly, Joost emphasizes their high service levels. He shares that their clients appreciate their commitment to service, especially after the initial sales process is over and the more challenging implementation phase begins. He cites an interview with Joanne, the Group Head of Cash Management, published by TMI, as an example of their happy clients.

COBASE’s Geographical Scope and Client Focus

Guillaume, eager to know more, asks about the geographical operations of COBASE since their cloud-based solutions can technically be anywhere in the world.

Joost clarifies that while they connect with banks and work for legal entities worldwide, their marketing focus is on European treasury centres. This focus includes both European companies and European treasury centres of non-European companies.

The reason for this geographical focus is simple: COBASE likes to work with local implementation teams and deliver on their promises. Working during European business hours with European treasury teams ensures they can do just that.

However, if those European treasury centres need to connect with global banks or have entities globally, COBASE can fully accommodate these requirements. They do this daily, making them a reliable partner for treasury teams worldwide.

In conclusion, COBASE’s commitment to security, transparency in cost, excellent service levels, and global-yet-local approach makes it a go-to service provider for European treasury centres seeking effective bank connectivity solutions.

COBASE Solving Connectivity Issues for Rapidly Growing Companies

Guillaume is curious about the practical applications of COBASE’s solutions. He asks Joost to share an example of where COBASE’s bank connectivity solution has been implemented and the benefits derived from it.

The Challenge: Rapid Expansion and Acquisitions

Joost starts by mentioning a common situation encountered by COBASE: companies that are growing and expanding quickly. These expansions can occur organically or through acquisitions. In such cases, every new acquisition brings along its unique banking environment, financial software, ERP systems, and the team of professionals.

This variety introduces a challenge. The acquiring company finds it difficult to gain prompt financial insight into the newly added entity and control over local operations.

The COBASE Solution: Providing Insight and Control

Joost clarifies that while COBASE’s software may not centralize every aspect, it provides two crucial benefits: insight and control. With COBASE, companies can understand the authorization rights in the newly acquired entity and monitor the cash balances, even if payments are still approved locally.

This level of insight and control is why clients value COBASE – it can grow with them.

Catering to Constant Growth and Expansion

COBASE caters to companies continually acquiring new entities or those branching into new markets organically. When a company enters a new market, it usually begins working with a local bank. With COBASE in place, incorporating this new bank into the existing financial structure becomes easier and less complex.

For growing companies dealing with many tasks, COBASE removes one major worry: bank connectivity. By providing insight, control, and scalability, COBASE is an invaluable partner for businesses on the rise.

COBASE Making Bank Connections Easy for Expanding Clients
Photo by Khwanchai Phanthong on Pexels

COBASE: Making Bank Connections Easy for Expanding Clients

Guillaume raises a valid question about the practical aspect of connecting with a new bank, particularly in an unfamiliar country, when a company is expanding. He wonders whether COBASE clients have to carry out this process themselves or if the COBASE team handles it for them.

COBASE: Handling Complex Tasks with Ease

Joost reassures that while the task might not be easy for COBASE, the goal is to simplify it for the client. The COBASE team, backed by their experience, takes on the challenge of setting up the new bank connections. Their mission is to ensure that the process is as smooth and painless as possible for the client.

Building Connections with New Banks

Next, Guillaume delves deeper into the scenario. He wonders if COBASE establishes a connection when the client’s desired bank isn’t initially part of the COBASE network. He wants to know if these new connections extend COBASE’s portfolio, benefiting future clients.

Joost agrees and explains that this aligns with how COBASE likes to work. The client, who already has a relationship with the bank, introduces COBASE to the bank, asking it to make its data available via COBASE.

Exploring Different Routes: Working in Client’s Interest

COBASE tries to establish a channel in its name, meaning they act as a hub for clients to connect with the bank. If they can accomplish this, they can add more clients later, building a “library” of connections. Some banks, familiar with such tech-side operations, cooperate.

However, many banks find this novel and prefer a more traditional approach. In such cases, while the same channel might not serve multiple clients, the established relationship with the bank aids in setting up connections for new clients. This way, COBASE builds a network of banks that understand how to work with them, providing an ever-expanding list of potential connections for future clients.

A Word of Advice from Joost Kevelam

After thoroughly discussing COBASE and its functions, Guillaume asks if Joost has any additional insights on bank connectivity or COBASE that they might not have covered yet.

Joost takes this opportunity to stress the importance of exploring and understanding bank connectivity. His advice to the listeners is to do their market sounding, that is, gather feedback from the market about their product or service. This process helps them to understand what questions they should be asking. He warns there’s a vast difference between what’s marketed and what’s delivered in this complex field.


So, we have uncovered the intricate nature of managing financial operations and the challenges faced in connecting with banks, integrating systems, and handling transactions and data. Our interview with Joost Kevelam from COBASE has provided valuable insights into how COBASE revolutionizes how treasury professionals interact with financial institutions and streamline their processes.

COBASE has recognized treasury professionals’ hurdles and has developed innovative solutions that simplify and enhance the bank connectivity experience. Their comprehensive offerings encompass implementation and technical aspects, catering to different channels such as SWIFT, Host-to-Host, and API connections.

We have explored the significance of bank connectivity, the importance of electronic banking systems (EBS), practical strategies for smaller companies, and the exchange of information between banks and corporations. COBASE’s unique approach to addressing these challenges has been illuminated, showcasing its commitment to delivering high-quality services.

The complexities of bank connectivity, including format challenges and payment execution, have been examined, with COBASE presenting solutions to overcome these obstacles. Additionally, we have delved into setting up bank connectivity and the impact of fintech acceleration, such as the role of PSD2.

As treasury professionals navigate the intricacies of bank connectivity, COBASE emerges as a reliable partner, simplifying the process and unlocking the potential for streamlined operations. By integrating bank connectivity tools with corporate systems, treasury departments can optimize their financial operations and achieve enhanced efficiency.

In conclusion, this exploration has provided a comprehensive guide for treasury professionals seeking to optimize their bank connectivity processes. The significant benefits of streamlined bank connectivity have been highlighted by harnessing COBASE’s offerings and examining real-world use cases. With COBASE as their ally, treasury professionals can revolutionize their operations, reduce complexity, and gain greater control over their financial processes.

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