A recent study by Greenwich Associates of 207 treasurers of large companies found that corporate issuers favor online services and are looking to the Internet for debt issuance. About 50 percent of respondents said that online services are important to them, and about one-third said they have directed more business to banks that have superior online capabilities.
A related survey conducted by Greenwich showed that middle-market companies are among the quickest adopters of online services. Of all the online-banking products, cash management seems to be catching on the fastest with midsize companies. Indeed, 32 percent of middle-market companies now conduct cash management virtually, up from 18 percent in 2000. The number of large-company treasurers doing debt deals online is expected to quadruple to 12 percent next year.
Interestingly, the surveys also show that banks are have been slow to increase online services, possibly to protect traditional banking fees. Only 20 percent of respondents said their bank relationship managers were “E-knowledgeable,” and 54 percent reported that they have never even received a marketing call about their bank’s online capabilities.
“Wide gaps between expectation and service do exist,” says Steve Busby, a Greenwich Associates consultant, “especially in such areas as access to information, reporting services, cash-management, and real-time account information.” According to Busby, reviewing account information is the most common online banking activity. The vast majority of respondents in the polls of middle-market companies said they go to just one bank Web site on a regular basis.