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July 8, 2004
2 Min Read
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank One are on a fast track to combine their respective treasury services operations. The combined companies have the scale to deliver more technology-based services to the marketplace, including tighter integration with their customers' core accounting systems, said Heidi Miller, head of treasury and securities services, in a conference call Wednesday. Treasury services are financial transactions that banks perform on behalf of businesses, such as wire transfers and remittance processing.
"Clearly, treasury services is the business that is most impacted by the merger," said Miller, formerly CFO at Bank One.
The companies, which completed their merger July 1, have embarked on an integration strategy that leverages each other's strengths--for example, Bank One's in remittance processing and J.P. Morgan Chase's in treasury management. For J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank One's remittance processing platform fills a void "given that this is probably the weakest part of [Chase's] product set," Miller said.
Chase is the stronger of the two, in terms of serving large business customers; it has invested heavily in technology for its Insight treasury-management workstation, which delivers a gamut of services from real-time balance and transaction reporting to complex analysis.
Before the merger, Bank One had evolved a technology strategy to broaden its online distribution channel to include smaller companies, which form a pillar of its commercial banking franchise. For example, last year it struck a deal with Microsoft to integrate Great Plains accounting software with Bank One's treasury services, enabling smaller companies to send and receive transactions electronically. It's incumbent upon J.P. Morgan Chase to continue that strategy, Financial Insights analyst Maggie Scarborough says. "Financial institutions have to be able to send and receive information from different-size companies in different ways," she says.
One of the outstanding questions is whether the new J.P. Morgan Chase will use its heft to forge similar deals with other suppliers of accounting software, Scarborough says. Another is how much IT resources the bank is willing to commit to creating an integrated and seamless customer-service experience.
Separately, J.P. Morgan Chase on Wednesday selected TSYS, a unit of Synovus Financial Corp., to provide credit card processing for its 87 million credit cards. TSYS will provide all card-processing functions, such as maintaining account transaction information and providing transaction authorizations. Chase will have the option to transfer card-processing services in-house under a license of TSYS's TS2 software.
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