Launched in 1997 Sainsbury’s Bank is the oldest supermarket bank in the UK, and provides multiple products to its 2.1 million customers; including loans, currency exchange, insurance and savings.
Central to the bank’s success is the Treasury team, who oversee and control the group’s cash via their Treasury Management System (TMS), monitoring transactions and making payments as and when they are needed.
Addressing the challenge of manual processes across Treasury Operations
The team make high value cross-border treasury payments every day via SWIFT, but without a direct connection to SWIFT through their TMS, the process proved time-consuming when done manually.
“Formatting and uploading the payment data to process these payments manually, then checking it for accuracy, can take hours. This is time our team members could be spending doing other tasks crucial to our bank’s success.” Warren Hyde, Treasury Operations Manager
Sainsbury’s Bank wanted help eliminating these manual processes, by integrating their Treasury Management System directly with SWIFT. AccessPay supported Sainsbury’s Bank in achieving this goal.
Simplifying Treasury payments
Key to the success of their integration project was the creation of payment files compatible with both Sainsbury’s Bank’s existing back-office systems and SWIFT.
An interoperability between the two would allow the bank to deliver straight-through processing of payment files through the SWIFT network, with no need for manual rekeying of data; the team could instead focus on approvals, analysis and other strategic tasks within the Treasury function.
We worked closely with both Sainsbury’s Bank and their TMS provider to deliver this goal, setting specifications for the new payment file formats that could easily be transferred through the AccessPay platform without making formatting changes to any other systems.
The technical expertise of our Engineering team shone through as we built a new infrastructure to connect Sainsbury’s systems to SWIFT in order to streamline the processing of treasury payments.
“Throughout the project, AccessPay’s customer support was excellent. They provided expert guidance on SWIFT, helping us to understand what was needed to fully automate our treasury payments, and liaised with our system providers to help create the ideal payment file formats for the job. The team regularly updated us on progress so we knew exactly what was happening at every stage.” Warren Hyde, Treasury Operations Manager
Delivering Treasury Transformation for Sainsbury’s Bank
With the integration made possible via the AccessPay platform, Sainsbury’s Bank’s cross-border treasury payments are now fully automated. The impact of this eliminates the need for team members to manually handle payment files or key in data themselves, saving time on key Treasury processes and boosting productivity across the function.
Automating the payments process also mitigates the risk of fraud and error, whilst ensuring there are no missed payments to support the operational efficiency required by the Treasury team. Alongside the treasury payments process, Sainsbury’s Bank also utilise AccessPay’s cash management solution to enhance global cash visibility.
Through the connection to SWIFT, the team now receive both intra-day and end-of-day statements in the form of MT940 and MT942 messages. This data can then be grouped and analyzed by different banks, accounts, countries and entities; giving greater levels of insight and control over global liquidity.
Using AccessPay, the bank benefits from automated statement retrieval across its banking estate every hour, enabling the team to review their liquidity position in near real-time, which can then be consolidated with the group’s TMS for onward reconciliation.
“Without AccessPay, we’d have to revert to old manual processes, and we wouldn’t have the oversight of our cash we enjoy now. The platform has transformed the way we work for the better.” Warren Hyde, Treasury Operations Manager
A gradual expansion of AccessPay services
After successful implementation of AccessPay to support the Treasury function, Sainsbury’s Bank started to look at supporting the wider finance function by pushing UK payments through AccessPay.
“AccessPay had an impressive roster of customers it had helped to achieve the same efficiency goal, particularly financial institutions like ours. We were confident the team would be able to meet our needs and transform our operations.” Warren Hyde, Treasury Operations Manager
The payments offering was more gradual and involved the AccessPay development team providing information and functionality on the product. The system went live in June 2020.
Looking to the future
After a successful partnership with Sainsbury’s Bank, we are continuing to work closely together to continue to meet their ongoing transformational and regulatory needs. Continuing our work together to enhance their back-office treasury processes further.
“We’re really happy with AccessPay. The platform is reliable, intuitive and easy for our team to navigate. What’s more, the customer support is excellent, not just during the delivery of the project, but afterwards as well. They are always on hand to support us with anything we need and with new projects. We’re looking forward to continuing the relationship well into the future.” Warren Hyde, Treasury Operations Manager