Continued commitment to its customers, together with greater investment and product offering, have led to BBK in Bahrain winning two prestigious awards this year. In this interview, Cash & Trade talks to Rashad Akbari, Assistant General Manager of the Transactional Banking Division
What does BBK offer the Bahraini market in terms of cash management services?
We provide the valuable combination of cash management competences and profound knowledge specific to our clients’ businesses. Our product and relationship managers are thoroughly experienced in working closely with our clients’ CFOs, finance directors and treasurers.
At the core of our Cash Management Team is established expertise and proven skills in solution structuring and implementation. Our Relationship Managers and Product Specialists have broad and in-depth knowledge of Cash Management products and services and they work closely with you to understand your specific needs and structure solutions to meet those needs.
BBK applies the renowned and international tried and tested methods of “global practice” to all our projects, facilitating an efficient approach and a high level of quality.
BBK Cash Management Solutions:
- BBK Vendor Payments Solutions
- BBK Payroll Services
- Dividend Payments Solutions
- Payments for Utilities
- Recurring Payments
- Electronic Remittances (Direct-to-BBK)
- Local Cheque Clearing Service
- Foreign Currency Cheque Collection Services
- BBK Collect Wise – Cash and Cheque Pickup Services
- Direct Debit
- Post Dated Receivables and Custodial Services
- Invoice Collection Services
- Current Accounts
- Call Deposit Accounts
- Fixed Deposit Accounts
- Account Sweep
- Balance Reporting
- Account Statements
- Transaction Reports
BBK’s Cash Management Services are delivered through our extensive branch network and Financial Malls as well as though our electronic channel BBKCashlink.
BBKCashlink is an award-winning internet accessible payments management system which allows organizations to initiate multiple types of payments and view their account related information from their offices. This multi-product payment system is our response to the needs of clients that want to better manage their cash flows by initiating ‘just-in-time’ payments, accelerate their receivables from any location around the world.
Since the introduction of BBKCashLink (in August 2010), our clients have benefitted from a high level of system security, enhanced payment activities and have also enjoyed the benefits of STP (straight-through-processing) .
How is corporate customer demand evolving in the Bahrain market?
Speed, security, information and efficiency are the main things that customers demand from their bankers when it comes to cash management solutions. At BBK we provide superior products and services of high quality through innovation, technology, and lifelong customer relationships.
We are always determined to utilise cutting-edge technology with the highest security standards. The bank recognises this as being most critical in terms of supporting our business objectives, and, given our large market share in Bahrain and our loyal customers, it makes meeting market demand faster. This has also resulted in a higher conversion rate for our channel BBKCashlink.
Comprehensive online, real-time information regarding both accounts and transaction activities are other vital areas that customers look for from their bankers. Therefore, customer service and support are also areas that BBK carefully addresses by having a dedicated product and technology team supported by the bank’s unique call centre.
What is the state of competition for corporate business in Bahrain?
BBK is the first local bank to introduce a full cash management product offering in Bahrain, supported by dedicated technology, together with product and sales teams. International banks been offering cash management products to the market for a long time; however, we feel we have a much larger customer base and can arrive at solutions to meet the local needs faster than them. Also, our cash management products complement the overall relationship we have with our customers, which makes it much easier to cross sell.
What are the main challenges facing banks in Bahrain in the operation of cash management activities?
BBK is playing an important role by working with the market to overcome the issue of security in those instances where some family-owned businesses – and even some large corporates – are reluctant to transact online for security reasons. We work with clients to assure them of the security level we deploy and, at the same time, demonstrate the efficiency and the productivity (as well as the saving) that can be gained through automation.
Looking ahead, what are the main opportunities for development, including technology upgrades?
Regional reach and coverage is important for our clients both inside and outside Bahrain, together with a good product mix. The straight through process (STP) is another area in which demand has to be met by bankers given the investment that corporates make on their ERP set ups. Customers are always seeking efficiency enhancements where payments and collections are concerned.
Our cash management offering also strengthens our liabilities book and expands our customer base in terms of reaching for more non-borrowing relationships.
How do you see the challenges of online banking security and how is the market responding?
Some customers are still reluctant to transact online. However, all use online capabilities to view their accounts and generate their specific reports, and more and more are moving towards transacting online to avoid visiting branches. At BBK, we have a dedicated team to work hand-in-hand with customers to inform them of the highest possible security standards that the bank is deploying.
How important is cash management business for the corporate banking division at BBK in Bahrain ?
It is extremely strategic. Our existing and new customers are always demanding sophisticated product offerings that improve and enhance their capabilities; manage their working capital; and focuses on their core business. BBK continues to invest in technology, people and products to complement our state-of-the-art financial malls around Bahrain.
Our investment, commitment and product offering have this year earned two prestigious awards acknowledging our innovative and comprehensive web-based solutions catering to both retail as well as business customers. The first award was from the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute (MEEAI), and the second was from the government in Bahrain recognising the fourth consecutive year in which we have won the Bahrain eContent Award.