volume 8 ••• Summer 2011
INsider Interview: Paul Nuti, Senior Vice President, Treasury Management Group
Amalgamated Bank Upgrades its Treasury Management Product Suite
Senior Vice President Paul Nuti, who leads Amalgamated Bank’s Treasury Management Group, was responsible for a series of recent enhancements to the Bank’s Treasury Management product line.
In this interview, Mr. Nuti talks about the Bank’s new cash management capabilities, designed primarily to meet the needs of middle market companies with annual revenues of $25 million to $150 million.
Among the most important new products is the Amalgamated Online Treasury Manager™. What are the chief advantages it now offers clients?
PN: The enhanced product enables customers to do more of their everyday funds management and bill pay tasks online. They have the option to pay virtually any third party without having to write a physical check. This can now be done with a commercial bill pay functionality that our old system didn’t offer, and we have expanded the platform’s wire capabilities to include international and other types of wire transfer payments.
What is the advantage of paying a third party via ACH versus traditional online commercial bill pay?
PN: The method is a little cheaper and far more convenient. ACH is designed to work hand in hand with businesses. About 80 percent of payments are made as ACH transactions, but if the vendor’s banking information is not available, you can use commercial bill pay.
One of the important benefits of ACH is the ability to batch payments. With commercial bill pay, you are required to enter each payment individually. ACH allows you to upload a payment file to our system that is executed automatically. For example, if you want ACH to handle your payroll, you can create a payroll file, upload it, and our system creates the ACH transfers, making all the payments as direct deposits.
You mentioned that a client can now make international wire payments?
PN: Yes, previously our system only allowed clients to do domestic wires online—anything international was a manual process. Now, they can execute online both domestic and international wires in either U.S. dollars or foreign currencies.
One of the other key advantages of the new system is the level of flexibility it provides for “entitlements”—which users at a client company can access which accounts. These decisions are now totally in the hands of the administrator on the client side of the transaction. It’s much easier to use from the clients’ standpoint because they have complete control over whom they grant access to and the level of access they allow. If you have, say, five accounts, the administrator can set up a user with full or partial access to only two of the five accounts, while others may have view-only capability.
In the interest of security, users can also be deleted at any time.
We provide top line customer service, especially for small to medium size companies. Here at Amalgamated we offer a unique combination of superior service and broad product functionality that larger competitors are unable to match.”
—Paul Nuti, Senior Vice President
So what are the top three or four products that a typical customer uses, in effect your most popular products?
PN: Certainly ACH, because all clients are trying to get away from paper. There’s still a long way to go, but I think clients conceptually would rather use ACHs to both pay and get paid. If you get the client’s approval to go in and debit an account on a certain date for a certain amount, you know you’re going to be paid. Along those same lines, bill pay is also popular. Even if you don’t have a vendor’s banking information, you can still pay them.
Because there’s always a risk for fraud when issuing checks, clients really like Positive Pay, which protects against fraud by matching checks presented for payment against a master list provided by the client. Exceptions are then given to the client for a payment decision.
How about Remote Deposit Capture?
PN: Yes, Remote Deposit Capture is certainly attractive to many customers. It allows clients to conveniently deposit checks right from their offices, view digital images of checks, as well as custom reports and the status of deposits made in the system. An image is created, and that becomes the legal document. You don’t have to keep the paper checks beyond 30 days, one of the reasons it is becoming more and more widely used.
Has the Bank’s pricing for these services become more competitive?
PN: Yes. We took a look at the actual cost of all our services, and we made pricing adjustments that we believe make us very competitive. Most of our clients are on account analysis, which means that their fees are offset by an earnings credit on balances they maintain in their commercial checking accounts. We changed our earnings credit to a tiered structure that pays a higher earnings credit to customers with larger balances.
We think that with the combination of our re-pricing and our new tiered earnings credit we’re very competitive from a cost standpoint. Equally important, our systems have all the functionality and intuitive ease of use that a business client would want or need.
Are there other changes on the drawing board?
PN: We are planning to add our reconciliation product, which is still a separate system, to the Online Treasury Manager system for the benefit of larger clients who issue significant volumes of checks.
There is one other important benefit that I do want to highlight. We provide top line customer service, especially for small to medium size companies. Here at Amalgamated we offer a unique combination of superior service and broad product functionality that larger competitors are unable to match.