Today many corporate treasury departments use the automated multi-bank FX trading platforms which make buying and selling FX very easy. Just ask 3-4 banks on your panel of approved banks or approved FX suppliers for quotes, choose the one that best fits your requirements, hit buy/sell and the trade is actioned.
The banks have different appetites for currencies, which affect how competitive their rates are. It all depends on whether they are long or short in the currency. Moreover, the new bank capital requirements in Basel II and Basel III are creating very different FX prices between banks depending on their capital position.
Nevertheless, in some situations, particularly for the larger deals, better rates may be available from a single bank rather than just asking the bank to participate in a multi-bank deal.
The multi-bank dealing platforms offer a wide range of services and facilities - see Trading Platforms.
Individual Bank Services
The large cash management banks offer a range of FX services for the different types of corporate customer. For the bigger multi-national corporation, banks offer advanced on-line dealing platforms combined with dedicated dealer voice services if and when required. For the mid-sized corporations, banks offer dedicated voice services combined with some form of simpler trading or e-commerce platform. The smaller businesses are not offered separate FX services; this size of company tends to make occasional cross-currency payments from time-to-time.