Corporates all over the world have had to react quickly to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In a practical sense, this has meant seamlessly switching to remote working and virtual treasury operations. The digitisation journey that treasurers have been on in recent years has played a key part in making this a success. Karen Braithwaite, Global Head of Transaction Banking, Corporate Banking at Barclays, explains how moving forward with digitisation can bring even greater benefits.
Eleanor Hill, Editor, TMI (EH): How have companies coped with the swift change from physical to virtual treasury operations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic? And what has Barclays done to support this?
Karen Braithwaite (KB): When the pandemic hit and our clients started working remotely, naturally one of their main priorities was gaining access to the systems and tools they required. The majority of our clients were already using our online banking application, which made life easier for them. But to enable them to have remote access to all Barclays online channels we sent out a guide, together with a free software download. To put a sense of scale on the need here, we have seen around 60,000 software downloads since the start of the pandemic.
To maintain security when working remotely, around 10,000 additional smart cards or finger vein readers, for biometric account access, have also been sent to clients. We have also seen a huge uptake in digitally enabled servicing requests, with 88% of our digital servicing requests being processed by our online servicing module. This, in turn, led to our clients receiving quicker responses, since there was a commensurate reduction in calls into our servicing centre, so our teams were freed up to deal with the really critical issues for clients.
Thanks to internal collaboration, we were able to allow additional paperwork to be accepted by our digital signing channels. Our key focus was to enable our clients to get up and running, so that they could get on with their day jobs.