When you speak to Michael Salerno,Vice President, Global Banking Group at First National Bank of Omaha, it immediately becomes clear just how passionate he is about helping the bank’s customers to grow internationally.
Founded over 160 years ago, family-owned First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) delivers banking services to businesses and individuals alike across the Midwest and beyond. What makes FNBO unique is its commitment to building trusted and transparent relationships with customers so that they can provide the best financial advice possible.
Delivering gpi data insights
FNBO is constantly looking for ways to help their clients to expand their international business – whether that be exporting agriculture commodities to China, exporting farm machinery to Australia, or offering financial services to firms in London. Yet, due to the frictions inherent in the traditional correspondent banking system, the bank has not always been able to offer its customers the smooth cross border payments service they desire. Until recently, neither FNBO nor its customers had the data they needed to track and trace international payments.
“We really couldn't tell if a payment got there or not,” says Salerno. “For payment initiation it was fine, but if things went wrong, we had to rely on our correspondents, or the beneficiary bank, to resolve issues,” says Salerno. “It meant a lot of heartburn, plus time and effort on our end.”
The drive for data
“The data is crucial for us,” says Salerno, “If we really want to be true partners to our clients, we need to continually find ways to make their lives easier and to help them save money.”That’s where SWIFT gpi came into play when it went live back in 2017. “It was a huge moment for us,” says Salerno. “We began to receive the data that we needed to provide certainty to customers. Since then, not only can we offer a better customer experience, but we can also deliver on transparency of fees.”
Guaranteed data access
Despite all these improvements, until FNBO became full members of SWIFT gpi in 2020, the bank had to rely on their counterparts to provide the gpi data they needed.
Soon the team realised they needed full control of the data in order to deliver the customer service they pride themselves on. “We noticed that in the early days of
gpi, when our counterparties went live they provided us with all the data. Then we started seeing it be sanitised somewhat and then some of the data disappeared,” says Salerno.
Therefore, relying on their network for the data was not a long-term option for the bank. “We felt that in order to keep our promise to our customers to be as transparent as we can, direct gpi membership was a crucial step for us,” says Salerno.
Offering a truly digital experience
Guaranteed access to the gpi tracker data opens up a number of opportunities for FNBO. To access the data, the bank previously had to rely on multiple different apps offered by their counterparties.
The bank can now pass the information directly on to their customers. Ultimately, the vision is to offer customers an API to fully integrate with the gpi tracker on the backend. This will allow them to check the status and details of their international transactions directly from their own treasury management applications.
“They can always give FNBO a call, but if they want quicker access to the data, they’ll have it at their fingertips,” he said. “It’s all about giving clients the digital experience that they want – and that's what gpi is going to enable.”