Accelerating change in financial services

Accelerating change in financial services

Open collaboration supported by cloud technology can help redefine finance for good

Elly Yates-Roberts |

When technology and real-life challenges meet, the global community is presented with the opportunity to come together in order to build a better tomorrow. As the global Covid-19 pandemic has brought the future forward and accelerated the drive to digital transformation, now is the optimum time to empower change across the industry, supporting individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises and communities as they navigate through change.

Finastra has a bold aim to improve the lives of millions of people, as well as small businesses and communities. But we cannot achieve this alone. We know that collaboration is crucial to success and we’re working closely with our customers and partner ecosystem to create new solutions and initiatives that help to deliver better outcomes for everyone. 

This approach to collaboration reflects Finastra’s whole ethos of enabling ‘open finance’. For us it’s about encouraging all ecosystem players, big and small, to contribute and innovate together, making the world of finance and technology more accessible, more equal. 

With this in mind, we recently announced a multi-year global strategic agreement with Microsoft to accelerate the transformation of financial services. Together, we aim to provide people, businesses and communities with the solutions and services that fit around their needs and lives. We already support 3,000 banks and financial institutions across payments, lending, treasury and retail banking on Azure. Our partnership with Microsoft is also helping accelerate our product roadmaps to bring even more of our mission-critical solutions to the cloud for our 8,500 customers.

The move to cloud has been particularly crucial during lockdown, when bank branches have been closed and employees redeployed to work from the safety of their homes. Cloud is now very much the enabler for continuing connections.

Many financial institutions are leveraging our services to do more. IFIC Bank in Bangladesh is helping to bring more people into the banking ecosystem. Using Finastra’s solutions, IFIC Bank is now onboarding more than 10,000 customers every month and delivering the benefits of digital banking to a much wider audience, many of whom didn’t hold a bank account before. Shah Sarwar, managing director and CEO at IFIC Bank, said, “In the next two years, we want to grow our customer base by roughly 20 per cent to around one million people. And we would like to have at least half of these customers using our digital channels. Finastra will play a key part in this strategy, helping us shape the personalised experience we need to reach more customers.”

TONIK in the Philippines is another good example. The bank is introducing digital banking to a market ripe for digital disruption. The Philippines has high internet usage and a large unbanked population of around 70 per cent. Using digital technologies and a lower-cost operating model – delivered through Finastra’s Fusion Essence Cloud and Microsoft Azure – TONIK is able to offer customers the products and services they need in a convenient way, as well as helping to drive financial inclusion. 

It’s not just retail banking customers who can benefit from digital transformation. Supporting businesses is crucial in keeping economies moving. CIH Bank in Morocco recently digitised its end-to-end corporate banking services. The lockdown meant the bank needed to remove every manual step from the banking process and ensure business continuity for all customers, enabling them to access services online, rather than in-branch. Despite not being able to work onsite during the pandemic, the teams from CIH Bank and Finastra worked closely together to complete 70 per cent of the project remotely. 

A crisis situation often forces new ways of looking at things and stimulates innovation. For example, when Covid-19 hit, community-focused banks and credit unions in the USA found they needed to provide access to critical financial assistance for small businesses impacted by the pandemic under the CARES Act. Finastra pivoted to build a CARES Act solution and it is estimated that over $6 billion in loans have been processed through the system, helping over one million people receive pay cheques and support their families. 

There are undoubtedly more opportunities for Finastra and our partners across the world to help banks and other financial services providers better support the communities they serve; be that through accelerating digital transformation, increasing automation, or using artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to deliver added value. 

The need to be agile and responsive has never been greater. Covid-19 is accelerating the appetite for digital transformation. We have a key role to play with our partners in helping banks and financial institutions accelerate through change and support their customers in the best way possible. At a time when economies and communities have been hard hit, it’s so important that we share our collective expertise in technology transformation and delivering on our vision to redefine financial services for good. 

Denise Parker is the senior vice president of partners and ecosystem at Finastra

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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