Helaba’s Transaction Banking segment brings together the Cash Management and Settlement/Custody Services business divisions.
Helaba serves as the central giro institution for all of the Sparkassen in Hesse, Thuringia, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg, which together represent 40 % of all Sparkassen in Germany. Cash management consists in the main of liquidity planning, the management of liquid assets and payment stream optimisation in order to ensure solvency at all times. Clients in this area include corporate customers, domestic and foreign banks and the public sector as well as the S-Group Sparkassen.
The Bank’s aims in its payment transactions activities are to enhance its customer-specific product packages on a continuous basis and to carry on developing the standard services while maintaining the existing high level of performance. This approach enables it to maintain its position as one of the leading payment transactions service providers in Germany and far and away the largest transaction processor for the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe.
New regulatory requirements are being added in this area all the time, necessitating further investment on the part of both Helaba and the customer. The Bank also actively supported the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe with the introduction of instant payments in 2017.
Helaba continues to work hard on expanding its card processing business and optimising and consistently developing its service range, which has now been extended to large retail companies and network operators. Other priorities for product development work include digital customer solutions, among which are product offerings for electronic commerce, especially mobile commerce with contactless technologies, and internet payment processing. Helaba is playing a leading role within the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe in the development and marketing of paydirekt.
The Cash Management unit has faced a number of challenging years as a result of the prevailing persistently low interest rates. Negative interest rates are having a noticeable detrimental effect on the banks but Helaba intends to maintain the consistently positive trend it has seen in recent years in this area by providing alternative payment transaction services and digital product solutions and making the most of the edge conferred by the high quality and advanced nature of its proposition.
The Settlement/Custody Services unit provides processing services in respect of all of the securities, money market, foreign exchange and derivatives transactions concluded within the Group and with customers. Helaba offers a comprehensive special funds depositary service for the Sparkassen and institutional investors as well and provides services for Sparkassen and their customers in the foreign notes and coins and precious metals product area. The Settlement/Custody Services unit also oversees the Helaba Group’s own portfolios, on both the assets and the liabilities sides, and manages all of the outsourced securities services.
The unit focuses on ensuring that the settlement services offered deliver the high level of quality expected and on implementing further efficiency and process improvements at the Offenbach and Düsseldorf production sites. Recently the Bank has introduced a system for the optimal settlement of liabilities-side promissory note loans and registered securities, for example. Regulatory requirements continue to drive activities too: the main issues in this respect in financial year 2016 involved transaction-based reporting, the minimisation of risks, and depositary business.
The Settlement/Custody Services unit began providing its foreign notes and coins and precious metals services centrally from the Düsseldorf site in 2015. Bringing processes together on one site ensures that all customer deliveries can be completed to the same high standard and at an attractive price despite more and more customers receiving a personalised service. Helaba revised its secure transportation processes and contracts in 2016 with this in mind. Secure transportation costs are rising across the board, but Helaba has been able to offset the impact of this trend by optimising production processes at the Düsseldorf site so that customers can continue to enjoy a high level of price stability in future.
The Helaba depositary’s powerful technical system platform gives it a scalable basis on which to meet specific customer requirements optimally. Investors benefit from the high quality of investment asset processing and safekeeping and from having their assets covered by important oversight functions to Helaba standards.
Prompt implementation of regulatory requirements is a priority for the Helaba depositary as part of its commitment to ensuring customers always receive the high level of quality and security they have come to expect. New products and value added services are consistently aligned with customer requirements, moreover, and piloted and implemented with customer involvement. The Helaba depositary tracked the changes in the allocation of investment assets, the notable increase in global diversification and the expansion of asset classes closely in 2016, significantly increasing business volume as a consequence and elevating Helaba to the position of ninth largest provider in Germany.