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SPECIAL EDITION - HELPING THE SECTOR GET THROUGH COVID-19
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New data, new insights on cross-border payments. Every week.
 

This week is a special letter. Life is materially worse for many people since last week and our thoughts are with everyone and their families around the globe. This week we focus all our efforts on helping those who are struggling the most within the industry, especially smaller businesses, and how you can help.

We are fortunate to be in a unique position. Thanks to the grateful support of our readers and the tireless work of our team, our newsletter is the most widely read publication in the cross-border payments space. We want to use this position to help. This week's letter has three main items:

1) We launch today an independent hub full of resources and updates to help businesses in the cross-border payments sector get through the crisis. We need your help to keep building out the hub - please visit it and add something where you can.
2) Best practice advice from seven leaders in the sector who took the time to speak with us this week.  
3) We want to hear from you. Where else is help needed and where can you help?

A resource hub for the industry for the crisis

We launch today a free, independent hub focused entirely on knowledge sharing and support to help the industry get through the crisis. We have already had some great input from a number of you to launch but we need much more help to add more country coverage and keep the guidance up to date.

Please visit the hub and if there are areas where you can help provide content or have questions you would like answered, please write in. 

Thank you in advance for your help.

(Latest thank you credits can be found at the bottom of the resource hub page)

Help the industry get through the COVID-19 crisis

Best practice right now

On Monday I reached out to ten leaders in the space. Seven were able to take the time to share how they have been preparing their businesses for the months ahead and how they are approaching the crisis. We share a few elements below. The full best practice section can be found on our COVID-19 resource hub.

Communication

  • Communicate with your customers, employees and suppliers about how you are handling the situation. If you can be ahead of government guidance, all the better.
  • Be sure to have a plan but be ready to keep updating it. Many business continuity plans were written for a few days of shutdown, not weeks or months out.

Supporting your customer service teams

  • Try to connect / liaise your customer service teams with those of your partners. The more aligned your messaging is, the better. Customers need your help right now.

Liquidity management

  • There are two sides to this. Maintaining your banking relationships to minimise the additional costs as we know margins are being widened.
  • But also recognise the opportunity to carefully extend credit or pay faster, especially with your key customers and suppliers. How you help those in need now may solidify very long-term relationships. 
  • How quickly can you shut down a corridor if either the send or receive market is forced to close? How do you minimise the FX risk and the holding of currency for payments you will then be unable to fulfil?

Marketing messaging

  • Think carefully about any marketing campaigns you have running. Are they appropriate for the times?
  • Review any automatic campaigns you have running, particularly online. There are some tone-deaf sales pitches still going on.

Systems and Backups

  • Continue to test the fail-over and backup systems you need to ensure your company can operate. 
  • Customer service, liquidity management and the processing of payments are three critical functions.

Governance

  • What policies do you need in place to enable decision making in a remote work environment?

Thank you to the following people who helped contribute to these best practicesPaul Byrne, CurrencyFair; Nick Day, Small World Financial Services; Keith Hatton, Currencies Direct; Sebastian Kanovich, dLocal; Michael Kent, Azimo; Prajit Nanu, Nium; Jeff Parker, WorldFirst.
Visit the sector's COVID-19 resource hub

Some final thoughts

Many people in the industry have never experienced a downturn. Our ultra-competitive sector may have to decide how much it can work together to help one another. I'm a great believer that you can learn a little about people and organisations when things are going well but you learn a lot more when things are going badly. 

There is much we can all do. We can take a conservative approach to all the health guidance, especially in terms of following social distancing and providing safe and appropriate working environments through this time.

And if you are a large bank, major payment company or big business working with smaller businesses, realise the power you have to help these partners and suppliers of yours through a difficult time. If you can pay them a little faster or extend them some credit, that may be the most important thing you ever do for them - and they will never forget it. Cash flow is everything right now (I love this example of Morrisons supermarket chain in the UK taking the lead and promising to pay all small suppliers immediately) .

Share an idea to help the industry get through this global crisis
On our radar this week:
Curated by FXC Intelligence's Team
Swift to delay ISO20022
It will take more time for banks to switch over pushing the initiative back to 2022
Finextra
Monzo targets businesses
The digital bank launches it business banking product. Tough timing
Wired
Travelex positions to go it alone
Within the troubled Finablr group, Travelex looks to be spun out
London Stock Exchange
TransferWise partners with Alipay
The fintech is the next group to add to its China payout options
Techcrunch

Missed the last few weeks?

Cross-border payments lessons from the 2008 Financial Crisis (here)
Gender imbalance at the top of the sector (here)
Cross-border payments go digital (here)
 
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Stay healthy and please help your clients, suppliers and partners where you can,

Daniel
Copyright © 2020 FXC Intelligence Ltd, All rights reserved.

London New York | Washington DC

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