Last Banks Standing

As the banking industry consolidates, its relationship with Corporate America is changing.

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Just how much do CFOs bank on their banks? Almost half of the 198 finance executives surveyed by CFO consider their banks to be business partners that play an important role in their companies’ business decisions. A little less than one quarter, by contrast, consider their banks no different than any other supplier. Beyond how companies manage their banks, our survey asked about the global reach of banks, the perceived impact of popular financing techniques, and the impact of new and pending regulatory changes. These themes, and many of the survey responses, can be found in articles throughout this issue. Respondents also described the biggest change in their bank relationships over the past five years: companies of all sizes complained that consolidation left fewer banks to choose from and caused constant turnover among their bankers. But the dwindling number of banks affects companies in other ways, too. Some companies with revenues between $100 million and $500 million reported that they are reducing the number of banks they deal with or even consolidating all banking services into one bank, except for investment-banking needs. Companies with revenues ranging from $500 million up to $5 billion, by contrast, found the remaining banks “more competitive” and “more involved and interested in the details,” though “willing to dump long-term clients if their profitability under their models didn’t measure up.”


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