Presented By: JPMorgan Chase
The Benefits of Taking Your Treasury Services Digital
The right treasury solutions can solve complicated issues for CFOs and company treasurers. Partner Insights spoke with Winston Fant, head of commercial real estate Treasury Services for JPMorgan Chase, to delve deeper into the benefits of taking your treasury services digital.
Commercial Observer: You are the first in your role as head of CRE Treasury Services at JPMorgan Chase. Talk about some of the innovations you’ve implemented in your four years there.
Winston Fant: When I first arrived at JPMorgan Chase, we were heavily weighted in the Northeast, so we built the organization more robustly coast to coast. We also had Know Your Customer (KYC) and onboarding teams that were not dedicated to commercial real estate, so we worked relentlessly on our account opening and onboarding processes to streamline them in support of real estate companies’ need for speed and certainty of execution. Then, we created a more specific product roadmap for serving real estate companies. We recently rolled out a scalable rent collection suite for the multifamily housing segment, offering multichannel payment options that connect to property management systems and offer robust data and analytics.
What advantages do clients see from working with JPMorgan Chase treasury services?
There are quite a few advantages to working with JPMorgan Chase. For example, we are working with a particularly innovative multifamily real estate investment trust (REIT) right now. We engaged our Corporate Treasury Consulting team — a resource we offer larger clients to help solve complex treasury issues. Our consulting team worked with the multifamily REIT to help reimagine their tenant portal as a less manual, more integrated experience within their middle- and back-office systems. Now, the multifamily REIT is implementing our rent collection solution to allow their tenants to pay how, where and when they want through an array of payment options. The REIT is also implementing an integrated payables solution that leverages intelligent routing of vendor payments based on the most optimal settlement method. These solutions will allow the company to eliminate several counterparties, technology partners and services. We’re also able to provide data and analytics to help the client understand its tenants’ payment trends and maintain high standards of control and security.
What are some of the client pain points that treasury solutions can help solve?
Oftentimes, companies don’t scale their treasury teams at the same pace as their growth, or they rely on the outdated processes and services implemented when the company was smaller and less complex. We’ve helped companies streamline their receivables, optimize their payables, protect against cyber and fraud threats, and drive better data automation and reporting. We have also assisted companies in areas like mergers and acquisitions integration, technology evaluation, and benchmarking against peer organizations. And, we work with companies to help them approach topics such as centralized versus decentralized processes and considerations from a treasury perspective when entering new markets domestically or globally.
How did the pandemic impact treasury services?
Manual, paper-based processes lacked the mobility that digital solutions offer, and couldn’t be performed from home. This made the pandemic a tipping point, and we worked with clients to make their processes more digital and mobile. Companies also revisited their backup and disaster recovery strategies when faced with issues like slow mail times due to lockdowns. While it can be painful to review and deploy new strategies in a crisis, I think most companies would agree the effort was worth it, and they’re now better positioned as a result.
Talk about some of the potential cyberfraud issues affecting those who use treasury services, and some of the solutions the industry—and specifically JPMorgan Chase—have implemented to help conquer this problem.
The threats are numerous: data breaches, business email compromise, vendor email compromise and ransomware, to name a few. JPMorgan Chase spends an enormous amount of resources on cybersecurity each year. You can see the security of our platforms, the insights we share and the training and expertise we provide to help our clients protect themselves. What you don’t see is the vast array of real-time threat monitoring, the layers of defenses we build around our clients’ data, and the reviewing of unusual transactions.
What are some trends or key issues affecting treasury services, and what are some key changes you see impacting the industry in the coming years?
There has been a boom in innovative fintech and proptech companies that have launched in the last few years. Many real estate companies have partnered with these innovators to solve various problems in creative ways. As I think about the future, I see two areas to watch for. First, it can be counterintuitively resource-intensive to manage an ecosystem of disparate solutions and providers. In the future, I believe there will be a shift toward simplifying and rationalizing the number of relationships real estate companies have with tech companies, which means fewer partners serving more needs. This trend is already beginning. Second, and perhaps a little further out, many of these smaller tech innovators may not be around after the next economic or real estate cycle downturn. Therefore, it’s important to fully assess the long-term viability of each provider a company does business with, and understand the implications if that company folds. Both of these areas reinforce the importance of working with providers that are not only novel and innovative, but also well capitalized so they can be strong partners in the future.
Is there anything else about treasury services at JPMorgan Chase that you think potential clients should know or consider?
I think it is extremely important to work with a treasury team that is leading the way with innovative solutions specific to the commercial real estate industry. Commercial real estate companies have unique needs and challenges, and expertise matters. It’s also important to work with a bank that you trust that is here for the long haul. At JPMorgan Chase, we pride ourselves in our unwavering commitment to our clients and the commercial real estate industry.