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eBAM is not dead. It is progressing slowly and in right direction

Discussions with suppliers of eBAM (electronic Bank Account Management) and two presentations showed that:

  • corporates still long for full eBAM across all their banks
  • eBAM usage is growing slowly as corporates and banks first update their systems and processes and sort out their bank account management data.

The state of the eBAM evolution is slow, but not dead as J.P. Morgan’s chart on readiness for interoperability shows:

Source & Copyright©2014 - J.P. Morgan 

Both corporates and the banks - J.P. Morgan and Citi - stressed the need for focusing on: simple solutions, the data and collaboration. 

UnitedHealth Group case study

Karen McCormack, Director, Treasury Solutions at UnitedHealth Group described their progress in the eBAM evolution. First, they had to get their house in order - which was quite a task because they had some 6,000 acocunts, 340 legal entities and all sorts of disparate processes and controls. Their key objectives for bank account management (N.B. NOT for eBAM) were:

  • visibility: keeping critical information current and in one place
  • control: strengthen across the whole organisation
  • efficiency.

After they had installed a system for their bank account management which:

  • created consistent processes for account openings, closings, and maintenance requests across team members
  • defined a process; assign, coordinate and implement tasks
  • tracked and reported on progress
  • remediate issues
  • automated and electronifid all communications and data storage
  • provided mass update/replace authorizations/contacts/bank mergers

they asked their banks whether they could accept and process eBAM messages. ONLY two of 15 banks were ready to do this. They connected with the two banks that were ready and since July 2013, they have send a total of 451 eBAM messages:

  • 234 Account Closing Requests (acmt.019 – request to close an account)
  • 127 Account Opening Requests (acmt.007 – initiates a request to open a new bank account)
  • 59 Account Exclude Mandate Amendment Requests (acmt.015 – request to edit an account without an authorized party change)
  • 29 Account Report Requests (acmt.013 – request details about an account)
  • 2 Account Mandate Maintenance Requests (acmt.017 – request to change authorized parties on an account).

Karen finished her presentation with the question: “How can eBAM truly be electronic Bank Account Management if we are still required to provide letters and documents with signatures?” She felt that some of the remaining issues included, digital signatures or not? what internal issues still need to be considered? 

She listed the main benefits from their eBAM project which are:

  • straight-through-processing for bank account closings
  • time savings utilizing JPMC’s eForm for bank account openings (no other documentation is required)
  • supports company “green” initiatives
  • standardized processing flows across team members
  • more accessible compliance with regulatory, corporate governance and internal/external audit requirements
  • opportunity to help steer the direction of eBAM and standardization across banks
  • single solution for multiple banking partners.

UnitedHealth Group plans for future development include:

  • piloting with a third bank this Fall
  • discussions with several other banks on future pilots/initiatives
  • continued collaboration among banks, corporates and vendors to create standard process
  • discussions regarding new and enhanced messages because currently eBAM can only be used when a legal entity has an existing relationship, and bulk requests are needed to update authorized parties on multiple accounts.

Community effort required

Glen Solomine, Executive Director at J.P. Morgan, who had given the presentation with Karen, finished with a slide saying a community effort is still needed to ensure that eBAM adoption and usage progresses:

Source & Copyright©2014 - J.P. Morgan 

Vendors data exchange

Vendors are starting to exchange eBAM data with other vendors. IdenTrust already exchanges data with two vendors, and is also certifying with other banks to ensure that they will be ready when the bank has their first eBAM clients.

CTMfile take: This presentation was an excellent summary of the difficulties and opportunities in the development of eBAM. As always, solving BAM before concentrating on ’e’ is critical as Karen showed. The other vital ingredients were also shown here: optimism (who else would have said that there was “unprecedented collaboration”), dedication and persistence. Glen and Karen are determined that eBAM will happen globally. I now believe it will …… eventually, and sooner than the pessimists think.

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