COVID-19Technology
November 12, 2020

Retailers Connect With Customers Using Touchless Payments

Smartphone apps, some using QR codes, give customers another way to pay without touching keypads or swiping a card. Members at a recent meeting of NeuGroup for Retail Treasury reported a significant drop in cash transactions since the start of the pandemic, and some are turning to what they’re calling touchless methods of payment to meet consumers’ needs. These innovations depend on using smartphone apps and the internet instead of so-called contactless payments including Apple Pay and Google Pay. Those require a device…
Cash & Working CapitalCOVID-19Risk Management
November 5, 2020

Policies Resembling Guardrails That Withstand Trigger Events

Key takeaways from the Assistant Treasurers’ Leadership Group 2020 H2 meeting, sponsored by Chatham Financial.By Joseph NeuPolicy and procedures off the back burner.  The pandemic put a wide range of policy and procedure review projects on the back burner and more members are starting to refocus on them now as immediate liquidity concerns recede. A session on risk policy reviews, for instance, highlighted how valuable a review can be after an event trigger from a change in business, such as…
COVID-19Treasury Management
November 3, 2020

No More Offices? Corporates Debate Making Work from Home Permanent

NeuGroup members face a future where some workers may never return to office buildings. NeuGroup members have learned to adapt to working from home (WFH) during the pandemic. Some like it, some don’t. But nine months into Covid, many remain uncertain about what role actual, old-school offices will play moving forward. Several discussed their thinking at a recent meeting of the Assistant Treasurers’ Leadership Group. Two members work for companies that have announced plans to close all office buildings, although many…
Capital MarketsCOVID-19
October 15, 2020

Pandemic Shows Corporates Which Credit Analysts See Beyond the Crisis

Volatility and uncertainty boost the importance of analysts with experience and perspective.The pandemic has been a first-of-its-kind challenge for corporates, their banks and investors, each trying to make sense of extreme circumstances and forecast what it all might mean. Credit rating agencies face their own challenges and are taking different approaches to the crisis that, according to participants in a recent NeuGroup meeting for large-cap companies, reflect relative strengths and weaknesses.   One member whose company had plenty of liquidity…
BankingCapital MarketsCOVID-19
October 8, 2020

Why Some Bankers May Root for a Democratic Sweep

Founder’s takeaways from the Bank Treasurers’ Peer Group’s first fall meeting. By Joseph NeuMembers of the BTPG have been meeting in the spring for 16 years running, and debuted their Fall Edition meeting this week, sponsored by Morgan Stanley. Here are a few takeaways I want to share. Banks have enough capital. The expectation is that US banks will pass the next two stress tests, even with with Covid-19 inspired stress scenarios, indicating everyone is well capitalized. This will free up buybacks and…
COVID-19TechnologyTreasury Management
October 8, 2020

Tonic for Zoom Fatigue: Shorter Meetings—and a Day Without Them

NeuGroup Members discussed their approaches to making WFH situations more palatable.“Six hours on Zoom is like 10 hours in the office,” one treasurer of a mega-cap company said during a recent NeuGroup meeting (yes, a Zoom meeting), quantifying a feeling about the side effects of virtual meetings. Almost everyone who has been working from home for seven months knows what she means. At the same meeting, another treasurer said he is encouraging his team “not to book 30-minute calls, to…
Cash & Working CapitalCOVID-19Risk Management
October 8, 2020

Retailers Assess Capital Structure Amid Signs of Rebound

As the economy revives, companies pay down revolvers, resume buybacks and assess counterparty risk. At a recent NeuGroup meeting of treasurers at retailers, sponsored by U.S. Bank, members discussed stock repurchase programs, paying down revolvers and monitoring the impact of capital structure changes on leverage ratios and credit ratings. Members discussed moving from preparing for worst case scenarios in April and May (by increasing liquidity, initiating new revolvers) to more recent moves made in anticipation of returning to more normal operations.…
COVID-19Technology
October 1, 2020

Sharing a Bloomberg Terminal From Home: How Long Will It Last?

Treasury teams relying on Bloomberg’s Disaster Recovery services face uncertainty. During the pandemic, many treasury teams accustomed to sharing a Bloomberg Terminal in the office have made the most of Bloomberg’s so-called Disaster Recovery services (DRS), which has allowed multiple users, working from home, to access a Terminal subscription from different computers.  The value of that access has some NeuGroup members worrying about the expiration of their company’s ability to activate DRS as some workers—but not all—return to offices. One member at a recent meeting of risk managers said using…
Capital MarketsCOVID-19Treasury Management
September 29, 2020

Busting Talent Silos and Reading the Signs on Hong Kong

Highlights from the Assistant Treasurers’ Group of Thirty 2020 H2 meeting sponsored by HSBC.By Joseph NeuTalent development is focused on silo busting. There are two silos in focus for AT members at the moment. The first is the diversity of hires, especially Black and Hispanic professionals along with women, into finance roles.  There is also a mandate to make this a long-term effort to build up the capacities and pool of potential candidates for corporate finance roles. The other silo…
BankingCOVID-19
September 22, 2020

Reality Check: Banks Dial Back PPP Loan Forgiveness Expectations

Delays in applications and action by Congress will affect banks’ NIM and NII forecasts.Forget about forgiveness until early 2021. That, in a nutshell, was among the takeaways from a recent conversation between members of NeuGroup’s Bank Treasurers’ Peer Group. The forgiveness at issue is for loans that banks made under the federal government’s $669 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the CARES Act enacted to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic.The loans can be forgiven if companies used…