When COVID-19 started to massively spread globally in March 2020, the world was completely unprepared – and most governments had only one choice: hit pause on a vast part of their economies.
Fast forward to the present, we’ve learnt how to live within a global pandemic, we’ve started a massive vaccination campaign, and we’ve found ways to treat COVID-19 patients. We’ve solved some of the fundamental issues that the pandemic presented, but we still have a critical challenge ahead of us: the past year has seen an unprecedented crisis, which started as a health crisis, but soon converted into an economic crisis.
More than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resiliency of our economy, which has failed in many areas. All over the world, a large number of companies did not survive, and many more will close their doors before we see the end of the pandemic. What was missing in the overall economy (but not in banks) more than anything else, in the past few months, was liquidity and access to credit. These are also the key ingredients that will be needed in the upcoming recovery phase.
A virtuous cycle can be triggered to slow down and even revert the downturn on the economy. One option, and a rather powerful one too, is in the hands of the banking system. In the upcoming months, they’ll have to deal with a series of defaults, and might end up contracting the credit, at a moment when it’s so important. Of course, we want to make sure our banks remain well capitalised, and don’t end up themselves in a liquidity crunch: that’s where the treasury role becomes fundamental.
Treasury functions oversee liquidity levels and decide on the fund transfer pricing: having access to the best-in-class data analytics, they can closely monitor the liquidity gap, define ad-hoc FTP prices and ensure the banks can support businesses in sectors that, in current times, would be considered ‘unbankable’. When this is done with the right technology and the right data analytics, banks can take calculated risks and support our economy. It’s therefore imperative that treasuries adopt the best-in-class technology (starting from cloud adoption), which allows for fast and informed decision-making.
From this perspective, a cloud-enabled treasury function becomes a strategic function in the bank, and one of the key drivers of a quick economic recovery, something we all are looking for.