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Electronic money moving a priority

THE ABILITY to move capital electronically is a key priority for business banking clients, says HSBC head of corporate affairs Colin Neathercoat.

Mr Neathercoat said many small-to-medium enterprises wanted to control their own currency transactions.

“Cash management is a huge issue for SMEs – that is, businesses worth anywhere between $3 million and $70 million,” Mr Neathercoat said.

“They want sweeping facilities that can be set up automatically.”

Mr Neathercoat said the SME market was the fundamental backbone to economic growth in Australia.

“Some banks are purely focussed on the big corporates but we want to move more towards servicing SMEs,” he said.

“They are characterised by being much more sensitive to rate and currency movements and their reserves aren’t as great.

“We offer more guidance to such businesses than other banks.”

Mr Neathercoat said HSBC had spent more than $2 billion on its online services technology this year.

“The convenience and time saving of electronic services are key attractors for businesses who realise transactions don’t stop at the end of the working day,” he said.

“Our electronic systems are constantly under a process of ongoing development.”

“A lot of our technology is shared inter-group and this is cost-competitive.”

Mr Neathercoat said HSBC was the only bank in Australia that offered share investment through three methods: online, via a call centre and using a standard touchphone keypad.

He said the ShareInvest service allowed clients to trade from anywhere with a phone.

“You literally punch in the codes on the keypad and it is instantly registered through a direct link to the Australian Stock Exchange,” he said.

“The technology needed for this was developed in Australia.

“You have to be an ASX accredited broker to be able to offer this service and our global reach allows clients to trade on twenty-eight stock exchanges from around the world.”

Mr Neathercoat said this kind of straight-through processing empowered the client.

“You do the trade yourself and there is no other human intervention,” he said.

Mr Neathercoat said HSBC’s trade finance products were the mainstay of its custom.

HSBC is the second largest bank in the world with more than 5,000 offices.

“We have a global pedigree and there is a distinct advantage for businesses to deal with the same company in their home town as in the point of export,” he said.

“Dealing with a bank with a global reach means you are dealing with the same people and the same culture – the efficiencies are enormous.”

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