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How can financial service providers become more agile to meet changing customer needs

By Alex Price, Head of London Outbound Sales “at moneycorp”

Global banking is changing. Customers are no longer loyal to one banking institution, and are willing to shop around, using different providers for a number of services like FX and international payments. Traditionally banks have been slow to adopt new technology and expand their offering into FX-tech, whilst fintechs are often characterised as more tech than finance.

But with 93% of SME adopters preferring to find a technological solution where possible, customers now expect providers to work with them in a collaborative manner and require multiple solutions. In the race for market share, banks and fintechs alike need to be agile and open to collaborative partnerships with established providers to meet customer needs.

What’s changed?

Efficiency, simplicity and value are the driving forces of change within the financial services industry. The reliance on a global marketplace means that business customers want fully integrated FX provisioning as part of their day-to-day services, but without a traditional banks’ clunky connectivity, payment challenges.

Customers are increasingly looking for innovative alternatives beyond their existing banks. And straying eyes have given rise to a rapid period of growth in neo-banking and payment apps, which offer value in slick and timely solutions in the form of microservices and APIs. However, they cannot yet offer the full range of FX derivatives expertise.

So, there begins the customer dilemma, tech or expertise. Or rather, the financial services dilemma – how to diversify and thrive, or just barely survive.

The challenge ahead: 

Clients from start-up’s to large financial service providers are looking for embedded electronic payment and expert FX solutions that allow rapid speed of delivery and ease of API connectivity. Yet historically it been cumbersome for banks to build their infrastructure out to meet these demands. Many traditional banks have underspent on technology to instead focus on market position retention. And despite being embedded in their locality, they lack global geographic reach.

 Banks will also have to confront the challenge of replicating the foreign exchange and transfer applications predominant in the private client space, in the corporate SME space, which typically focusses more on business to business provision. Traditional web-based applications are playing second fiddle to mobile based applications, as business customers, such as gig economy workers and SME owners, become more comfortable with having payments in the palm of their hand.

But the rising trend of mobile banking does not signal the automatic win of market share to fintechs disruptors. The rapid development of cutting-edge open banking mobile apps will only fragment the market, and payment disruption will further accelerate with faster transactions and approval delivery. Speed and accuracy of pricing will lead to better risk mitigation, and so the focus will instead be on deeper client understanding instead of traditional credit ratings.

Moreover, tech-savvy fintechs often want instant gratification and super-fast delivery, which rules out leaning on the client expertise and understanding of lumbering banks. In order to keep up with the gig economy, fintechs shun banking’s limited working hours and seek full weekend integration and service to serve their customers’ needs.

The building blocks to full-service provisioning

 To achieve both technology and expertise, financial service providers must look to streamline the building blocks to financial solutions in order to achieve agility.Whilst fintech disruptors focus on open banking architecture and mobile app development, in order to service the full range of client needs, one needs the rapid integration of these new products into an established banking and payments solution.

Looking forward, this is where partnerships will become key for agile growth. Partnerships would allow, banks, fintechs and businesses to outsource to established providers that can help them integrate rapidly with a full cross border payments and FX platform that offers multi-bank and multi-payment channel integration, to build out their technological capabilities and grow their global reach.

Technology lacks purpose if it lacks personality

But with collaboration comes the need for service and flexibility – the key to achieving a smooth and personalised integration process. Personalised customer service can be overlooked by app only and banking providers who often provide a one-size fits all solution, but in a new era of globalised banking where customers loyalties are no longer ingrained, customer service will remain king.

Tying customer service to technology gives us the opportunity to build a bespoke experience. It’s the ability to choose between either embedded API integration or an add on to an existing front-end, to overcome the inflexibility of standard bank formatting and choose the most viable and cost-effective payment option of a range of channels, with an expert on hand to help you decide. It allows you to tailor a bulk payment solution so that it accepts wider file formats than any bank could, and to pick up the phone to a dedicated integrations team who work with you and your needs. Fundamentally, it’s the confidence in connectivity and security afforded by integration detection that you may not need but know it’s always there.

Alex Price, Head of London Outbound Sales said:

“The bespoke payment service at moneycorp is unique in its embeddedness and in its much wider service offering. This breadth of service I believe will be crucial in a new age of collaborative global banking.

 “Our payments platform can help banks, fintech and businesses build out and grow FX into their own global payment service, and our wider business model provides the expertise to do this well. In our case with breadth comes depth and with size comes stability: corporate and individual payments afford sector expertise, inform derivative structuring, regulatory robustness and a breadth of FX currency offering through an established network of local banks in over 140 geographies. 

 “In practice, a partnership is being with a client at every step of their integration journey and every step of the payment lifecycle. Recently, we worked with Amicorp Bank to build their global payments platform and mobile app through integration to our API. In order to optimise speed and efficiency, this meant walking through the payment life lifecycle, from the formal request, to document checking, confirmation messages and the funds reaching the other end. We’ve worked side by side to ensure that automation isn’t done in isolation from the real customer needs, which ultimately decide the credibility of the solution.”

As we move into a new era of globalised banking, the demands of greater simplicity, security and efficiency permeate all levels, from the customer and client to the service provider, signalling a new dawn for collaboration and partnerships. However, when loyalty is low and market proliferation is high, customer service is integral in setting yourselves apart from competitors. It is customer service that will determine the user experience, from design to delivery.