A year after paying huge sanctions-related fines, BNP Paribas is on the path to long-lasting cultural change, according to its recently-appointed head of transaction banking, Jacques Levet.

Asked what has changed in the bank’s transaction banking business since his appointment in February 2015, Levet tells GTR: “The main change is a change of mindset: Everybody realises there is a need for change, so this governance reshuffling is not just another reorganisation – it’s about reinventing the model and challenging the existing. We need to be more innovative and creative, and we shouldn’t let the past necessarily drive the future.”

According to him, the bank has become more client-centric, and is centralising some of its transaction banking services to facilitate decision making for corporate treasurers. For example, where there used to be a cash management manager, a trade finance manager, and a foreign exchange manager, some treasurers now only have one point of contact at BNP, a corporate banker, who can advise on working capital as well as plain-vanilla transaction banking.

However, Levet explains that this model is really geared for smaller companies, where all financial decisions are made by one person.

“We have become even more client-centric and strive to smooth the client engagement process. We have also reinforced our advisory function, as opposed to the product pushing attitude often witnessed in the industry, and we created a few advisory roles to help incorporate all of that,” he adds.

In terms of areas of focus, Levet points out that the bank targets the European market as a whole, with Germany as “a key growth area”.

Additionally, he does not dismiss the possibility of nearshoring to cut costs.

“We all realise the need to rationalise our processes and bring down our costs so nearshoring is naturally something we look at; there is a need for it and room for it.”

BNP recently conducted a survey of 500 corporate treasurers around the world, which found – among other things – that corporates are now happy to pay for added-value services, as they require a more holistic transaction banking approach. The survey also found that, after market and economic risk, cyber-threat is corporates’ second-biggest concern, leading BNP to look at developing more cyber solutions in the future.