As the world becomes more digitised, Danske Bank is embracing that change and delivering innovative solutions to its public sector clients. agendaNi spoke to Danske Bank’s Public Sector Relationship Manager Bryan Deacon about how the bank is helping public sector organisations adjust and innovate.
What does your role at Danske Bank entail?
I have a wide ranging role as relationship manager to the bank’s public sector customers. I work primarily with the finance officers across each of the government departments and their shared service centre, Account NI. I have 25 years’ experience in banking, the last 16 in Northern Ireland in roles covering investment, compliance, treasury, retail and corporate banking. I have been specialising in the public sector since 2010. I also play a significant role in the completion of all bank tenders, as well as any regulatory projects, such as the roll out of cheque imaging and AUDDIS, the service enabling organisations to set up new Direct Debit Instructions to their payer’s bank electronically.
Is the bank particularly active in the public sector?
Yes, in fact, Danske Bank have been the primary bank in the public sector. We have been the primary bank for the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) for more than 20 years and we’re proud to count more than 70 per cent of all the major public sector organisations in Northern Ireland as customers. We are the primary bank for five of the 11 councils and in the past year we have begun working with the six regional colleges and a number of other non-departmental bodies and agencies.
Are you able to be innovative in the public sector?
We have been working in the public sector a long time but we continue to innovate to help customers improve processes and services. We work collaboratively and proactively with the public sector to understand their requirements, not just currently but in the future, and to establish how we, as a key banking partner can support, and enhance the delivery of those strategies.
A recent example was our partnership with the CUSOP payments system. By giving credit unions access to our systems we have enabled a straight-through electronic payments service for the credit union movement in Ireland. A lot of their users previously would not have had access to the automated payments system.
We have also created a bespoke NICS payment protection solution to ensure that an automated file conversion process is available in the event of BACS payment file failures, to convert files to Faster Payments to ensure government payment deadlines are achieved. In the event of a failure this would ensure that, for example, recipients of social security benefits would still be paid on time. That creates confidence in the system and ensures efficiency.
Banking is increasingly going digital, what does this mean for the public sector?
Digital transformation is driving change in corporate and personal banking and this is informing what we offer to the public sector. We have created a number of integrated IT solutions for customers, for example, working alongside government accountancy software providers to create an integrated BACS payment solution. It is a direct straight through processing system for BACS payments, integrated to NICS accounting packages, which will save time and improve efficiency.
We are currently looking at providing NICS with a direct automated solution for cheque imaging facilities. This would give them the ability to scan their own cheques, which would streamline processes, create efficiencies and reduce NICS administrative costs in future.
Bryan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 077 1751 1230