Will No Longer Support Cash Flow Package It Sold
Citicorp is pulling the plug on analytical software for corporate treasurers it has sold to some of the country's largest companies since the mid-1980s.
The software, called CitiIntegrator, is used by corporate treasurers to pull account balance information from an array of accounts in multiple banks, and to analyze and predict cash flow requirements. These systems are commonly referred to as "treasury workstations."
In the mid to late 1980s, dozens of institutions started selling treasury workstations amid great fanfare that treasurers would flock to the newest wave in financial automation.
Follows BankAmerica, Mellon
But after few years, most banks, including BankAmerica Corp. and Mellon Bank Corp., either left or greatly scaled back their presence in the market, after demand proved to be minimal and profits elusive.
Citicorp's decision was apparently driven by similar concerns.
"They told us it was really a profit-and-loss decision," said Catherine Burger, sales executive with ICMS International, San Bruno, Calif., a leading non-bank vendor of treasury workstations.
A Citicorp spokeswoman was unable to respond by press time, but a banker familiar with CitiIntegrator said Ms. Burger's statements were accurate.
Ms. Burger said that Citicorp officials approved a statement on ending support for CitiIntegrator in a newsletter ICMS distributed to its customers last spring.
When Decision Was Reached
In the newsletter, Ms. Burger wrote that Citicorp had decided to halt support of CitiIntegrator at the end of this year. She added in an interview that Citicorp is now referring customers to treasury workstation products from four non-bank players, including ICMS.
Industry observers said they were unsure how many CitiIntegrator users there are. Some estimated that since Citicorp is so big, there could be hundreds.
A cash manager with a large corporation in the metals and energy industries, which has used CitiIntegrator since the mid-1980s, that her company was happy to replace the Citicorp software and install a better product from a non-bank.
"I think it's going to be a good change," she said. The cash manager requested anonymity.
The treasury workstation market peaked around 1985, when about 100 banks and non-banks were selling about 20 different types of treasury workstations, according to Harvey Holman, vice president of sales with ADS Associates, Inc., Calabasas, Calif.
But now, industry officials said, there are fewer than 10 competitors in the market, and at most, only a couple of hundred treasury workstations are sold annually.
Chase Still Sells Infocash
The leading players are ADS, in which Bankers Trust owns a 49% stake, ICMS International, and Chemical Banking Corp., which sells a treasury workstation called Interplex.
Chase Manhattan Bank also sells a treasury workstation called Infocash. Susan W. Schoon, Chase's senior vice president of cash management, said Infocash is used by most of the bank's biggest corporate customers.
Excluding Chase, which bundles Infocash charges with billings for other cash management services, each of the major competitors in the treasury workstation market said its revenues from the products totaled only a few million dollars annually.
BankAmerica was reportedly the first bank to enter the treasury workstation market, when it introduced a product called Microstar in 1983. But BankAmerica stopped marketing the product in the late 1980s, according to executive vice president Colin Klipin.
Instead, the institution is focusing on a product called International Treasurer that is aimed at the smaller, less competitive international market.
Demand for treasury workstations was limited by the high cost of the software. Today, these systems cost from $15,000 to several hundred thousand dollars, with most packages selling for $30,000 to $50,000.
Leading Treasury Workstation Suppliers
Approximate number of customers * CHASE MANHATTAN
500 * CHEMICAL BANKING
500 * ADS ASSOCIATES(*)
400 * BANKAMERICA
350 * ICMS INTERNATIONAL
San Bruno, Calif.
Treasury Management System
120 (*) 49% stake owned by Bankers Trust Source: Company and analyst reports