Fifth Third to Enable Payments Advisory Solutions for Corporate Clients

  • Diana Asatryan
  • March 17, 2017
  • 1

Payments is an important part of any bank’s business.

But for some, like Fifth Third, payments business is an area of differentiation.

In 2016, revenue from payments business made up 15% of the bank’s total revenue, at $973 million. The bank processes 680 million in annual transactions, and $32 billion in annual spend,  Tim Spence, Fifth Third’s chief strategy officer, said during Barclays Emerging Payments forum this week.

As part of the continued focus on payments – and part of the bank’s three-year Project North Star – Fifth Third will enable advisory support solutions for its corporate clients, Spence said.

We want to leverage the fact that, as a bank, we have a view into all of our commercial clients’ payment activity. So, we are utilizing data analytics to develop tools or services to allow us to optimize their receivables or payables. There is a digital record of the amount that our clients pay their suppliers. When you aggregate that information, you can start to have interesting advisory conversations with treasurers and CFOs about the way they run their operation. One of the early solutions we will be rolling out this year.

For most businesses, Spence explained, it’s not about the large, one-time payments to suppliers, it’s about the tail of payments. “That’s where most of the leverage is, so what they need is solutions and advisory support,” he said. “[We will advise on] where there are suppliers that need to be enabled to accept virtual or commercial card payments [instead of ACH], or where the suppliers are enabled already, but they don’t utilize that.”

As corporate clients become more open to virtual payments – and move away from ACH and cash – the goal for the bank is to increase efficiency and decrease timing of transactions for those customers.

The services will present a new revenue stream for the bank, but, more importantly, will give it a competitive edge against “larger banks and payment firms,” according to Spence.

In November, Fifth Third sold part of its stake in Vantiv, spun off from the bank in 2009, and one of the nation’s largest merchant transaction acquirers.

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One thought on “Fifth Third to Enable Payments Advisory Solutions for Corporate Clients

  1. Where is the real advantage for a supplier to be enabled on virtual or commercial card payment instead of an ACH? Remittance data is important to them and I know the virtual and commercial card solutions can provide this, as can ACH, if used correctly. Speed of payment may certainly be a reason. Is there another that helps justify the interchange cost to a supplier? It certainly justifies it for the bank, but why would a supplier say yes if ACH is an option?

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