Changes to SMB sales cycles better position teams for the challenges ahead

| July 27, 2020

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Sales cycles for smaller teams had long been changing, even before a global pandemic transformed everything about the way that businesses and customers interact. In response to an increasingly digital customer base, teams have adjusted not only how they communicate, but where they advertise and how they manage leads. And many of these changes have actually left them better prepared to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, even as they face layoffs, fewer conversions, and increased customer churn.

Spotlight

Valliance Bank

Valliance Bank was established in Oklahoma City in 2004 as a financial partner to business owners and executives interested in customized solutions to their banking needs. A true community bank, Valliance has grown to include banks in Norman, OK and McKinney, TX, all chartered to focus specifically on the needs of their local customers.

OTHER ARTICLES

Will financial institutions make the SRDII deadline

Article | March 6, 2020

With barely six months remaining before the September 2020 deadline for European Commission’s implementing regulation 2018/1212 for Shareholder Rights Directive II (SRDII), firms operating as financial intermediaries are focused on planning for compliance. SRDII is aimed to improve corporate governance in EU member states. The European parliament published SRDII in May 2017 as an amending directive to 2007 SRDI, aimed to strengthen the position of shareholders and to improve shareholder influence on corporate governance and other factors in companies that are either traded in the EU’s regulated markets or have a registered office in any of the member states of EU.

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How FinTech Can Withstand the Coronavirus Outbreak

Article | April 15, 2020

Soon after, the World Health Organization declared the Novel Coronavirus outbreak an official pandemic, a sudden pandemonium busted across the globe. The COVID-19 crisis carries with it the potential equally disruptive economic fallout. It has brought a dominant shift in reality; in addition to the effects that the virus has had on our private lives, businesses in every industry are being forced to find innovative ways of operating on every level and the world of Fintech is no exception. Investors began drawing out their money. The stock markets of the world collapsed. Central banks made off-cycle rate cuts and inserted liquidity to keep the economy running. The financial services are currently confronting challenges on multiple fronts: banks have reduced their opening hours serving a few customers at a time due to social distancing rules, putting additional stress on channels like telephone service, online banking, and social media. Simultaneously, numbers of consumers are desperately trying to contact their bank with questions, concerns, issues, or to request appropriate solutions for their finances impacted by the fallout from the coronavirus. This is not the first or last global crisis. FinTech and banking companies of the 21st century need to be programmed to operate in such circumstances. Being a fairly new sector, fintech companies are already well-positioned to adapt to a world that suddenly exists primarily online; most fintech platforms now exist in online formats anyhow. Still, the paradigm shift brought to the world by coronavirus is forcing the fintech sector to come up with creative solutions when it comes to supporting customers, building relationships, boosting company morale, and planning for the future in this unprecedented situation. The behaviors that people can execute from their living room or from their den are going to grow, and behaviors that require face-to-face interaction or getting out into the community are going to diminish. What does that mean? You should have greater mobile apps and digital adoption in general. If I had been holding off on signing up for PayPal, for instance, I might just do that. Nigel Morris, Managing Partner of QED Investors, Co-Founder of Capital One “Fintech companies are probably some of the best-equipped organizations to take on this crisis.” If you’re a Fintech, you’re probably no more than 10 years old and as a result, have built your backend and developmental stacks on cloud environments allowing for operations to continue anywhere. Also, many business-to-business (b2b) communication tools that FinTech companies have naturally adopted and made available to employees such as Slack, Teams, Skype have been more heavily leveraged. Legacy financial brands are more than likely finding this time to be a bit more difficult. Paul Geiger, President, and Co-founder of Post-Trade Asset Management Firm Theorem Technologies The coronavirus pandemic could be destructive for multiple companies, but it's also flashing a spotlight on the potential of fintech. It has the potential to revolutionize how consumers and businesses handle financial transactions. There will surely be hits and knocks along the way, but fintech can manage to make this transition a lot easier. Here’s how. Table of Content: - Moving Back to the Digital Infrastructure - Utilizing Robotic Process Automation Software in Banking (Robo-Advisory) - Acceleration of Cashless and Contactless Payment Methods - Artificial Intelligence and Block chain Technology - Fintech Firms Providing Free Technology During the Coronavirus Crisis Moving Back to the Digital Infrastructure As the number of cases ticks up in the U.S., many are choosing to go cashless to circumvent potential hygiene concerns around handling banknotes. Almost half of the world’s population is now practicing self-quarantine. Interaction between humans is limited. All the public gathering places are closed down. Businesses that rely on people coming in or the shops that are commonly crowded are now starting to close down. The prevailing crisis will change our mindset and habits and make us re-evaluate our current way of doing things. All thanks to fintech, giving smaller communities a chance to keep their business open and operating. With digital payment options and online transactions, you can pretty much order any service, any product. You can even access your favorite types of entertainment online and all that without breaking the rules of self-isolation. Social distancing is the only effective method to fight the spread of coronavirus, and fintech has made this practice much more natural. Online services that we can pay for through fintech are now substantially covering every industry. These digital services have become such an essential part of our lives, and we should be appreciative of how easy it is to quarantine these days. Ordering groceries, favorite food, watching the newest movies, stuffs delivered right to our door, all this is only possible, because of different financial technologies and digital payments that have made money transfer easy and secure. Learn more: https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/19/next-day-delivery-the-challenges-for-retailers-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic Utilizing Robotic Process Automation Software in Banking (Robo-Advisory) Robo advisors, without human interference, provide automated support for all financial advisory services, such as trading, investment, portfolio rebalancing, and tax saving. It works with a pre-defined algorithm and analytics, calculating the best returns and plans for each individual as per his/her requirements and preferences. The need for no-touch and low touch investment solutions, which can deliver more informed intelligent analytics back to the user, will be more important than ever. Robo advisors are the next level in the evolution of asset management and financial advice. For the banking industry, robotics outlines a unique and underutilized way to increase productivity while minimizing traditional repetitive and manual-labor-intensive processes. The growth of Robo advisory services is attributable to the fact that it enables low-cost services, scalability, cognitive advice, and next-generation user experience. Though, for the next generation, virtual agents may be an acceptable help for financial matters. It is a fact that client advisors must fit with Robo-Advisors and artificial agents and a human-led technology-enabled model to a technology-led human-enabled business model in financial services. Acceleration of Cashless and Contactless Payment Methods The new coronavirus fears could be enough to introduce mobile and cashless payments to those who otherwise didn’t see the appeal. Learn more: https://capital.report/blogs/how-open-banking-is-catalyzing-payments-change/8262 Before the outbreak, mobile payments in the U.S. had not come close to global adoption rates. In China, by contrast, more than 80% of consumers used mobile payments in 2019, according to management consultancy Bain. In the U.S., major mobile payments apps had adoption rates of less than 10%. Major payment companies have already warned of the virus hitting U.S. spending. Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal have all cut guidance due to the coronavirus. I think this is an opportunity for a move to digital. Zelle, PayPal, and online banking could see a boost. I believe this crisis will accelerate and move people to utilize all forms of digital financial services. Peter Gordon, Executive Vice President and Head of Emerging Payments at U.S. Bank, The mobile fintech payment service that facilitates easy online and off-line payments are reaching millions of people and can truly capture the under banked population. The coronavirus crisis represents a huge opportunity to accelerate cashless and contactless payments. Retail and consumer payments are leading the way in the adoption of innovative payment capabilities aided by the growth in e-commerce and increased penetration of mobile phones. B2B opportunities are also gaining increased traction as a result of being more efficient and cost-effective. Some key trends in digital payments are: Contactless payment. This includes Near Field Communication (NFC) adoption, host card emulation and QR code generation for electronic interactions between consumers and retailers. Adoption of payment hubs. Banks are getting interested in looking at investing in harmonizing their payment infrastructure by moving to payment hubs. These hubs can process any form of payments irrespective of the origination channel. Real-time payments. This is transforming the retail funds' transfer process by providing electronic cash to anyone in the span of a few minutes. Peer to peer money transfers has been around for a while and have witnessed high growth. Virtual currency. Built on blockchain infrastructure this offers greater speed and efficiency of the transaction. Rise of marketplace banks. Challenger banks are being supported across geographies and given licenses to operate freely. Banks, by adopting open banking, has started exposing their APIs to third parties for large scale payments. Omni channel offerings. The framework of digital payments provides a seamless customer experience across channels leading to better transaction experience. The future of payments was already revolutionizing with new entrants such as contactless payment, NFC enabled smart phones, cloud-based PoS, and digital wallets. The crisis will merely accelerate the desire to tackle the issues with these new banking technologies. Artificial Intelligence and Block chain Technology Artificial intelligence and machine learning built upon distributed datasets and shared information are used for dynamic and psychographic client segmentation based on behavior and automated investment services. The adoption of such technology will become pivotal for large financial institutions to manage their client base and investment portfolios efficiently. In fintech, blockchain finds application in areas like digital ID, customer authentication, insurance, to name a few. Blockchain practitioners are experimenting with this technology to bring out new use cases and applications to solve the complicated issues in the fintech industry. PWC’s study of financial services and fintech shows that about 77 percent of the financial services industry is planning to adopt blockchain by 2020. The blockchain sector in fintech has been intended to provide banking with a more seamless and efficient experience. We will soon see the process of cash to crypto and vice versa to become ubiquitous. Blockchain asset management solutions are an alternative to offshore banking because there are substantial efficiency gains for cross-border transactions, for both private clients and businesses. Traditional banking and blockchain solutions will converge over the next decade with blockchain to become a commonly used technology in financial services. Learn more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkauflin/2019/12/26/five-fintech-predictions-for-2020-according-to-kleiner-perkins/#40c46b7d3d5a So, when we look at these phases of development in the fintech sector, we understand that it’s not just about inserting technology into banking, there is a larger shift here. Part of the shift is around trust and the utility of the bank. Fintech Firms Providing Free Technology during the Coronavirus Crisis Right now, you will be feeling the need for more reliability in software and information. Luckily, some fintech companies and teams are there to alleviate these issues. To help banks help their customers through these difficult times, many fintech providers are extending free, discounted, or accelerated deployment offers to financial institutions. Conclusion Business downturns are not uncommon. Sometimes there are unexpected circumstances. During these periods of change, the winners and losers will be defined by those firms able to make quick and decisive transformation reflecting the new environment. This is not just true in banking but in every industry. Fintech companies from across the world are all-in when it comes to coping with the current global health crisis. The progressions in digital technology are making the crisis more bearable and are empowering businesses to keep working with access to key services (communication, payments, credit, collaboration, etc.) while enabling social distancing and helping to fight COVID-19. We expect digital technology to experience another boost during and after the crisis.

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How Fintech Startups Are Disrupting the Payments Industry

Article | February 21, 2020

Long in the past, transfers of value took place between royalty, merchants and commoners who all used gold, silver, cattle and other physical commodities to thrive and survive. That ended in 1971 when the U.S. dollar and other world fiat systems fully detached from the gold standard and embraced floating exchange rates. Over the past 50 years, financial institutions built payment systems that are partially obsolescing in the wake of fintech disruptions like virtual currencies, distributed ledgers and decentralized protocols.

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Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) Empowers Any Brand to Offer Financial Services

Article | May 14, 2021

Digital banking is not new – major banks began to offer internet banking services in the mid-1990s. However, the traditional banking industry is facing significant pressure from rapidly shifting consumer expectations, changing regulations and increasing competition from digital-native disruptors. Younger Gen Z customers are more apt to use alternative transaction methods such as mobile wallets or P2P payments (e.g., PayPal or the Dutch payment app Tikkie), and businesses are beginning to favor real-time digital payments to improve efficiency, reduce cost and better manage their cash flow. Moreover the ongoing global health crisis is accelerating the movement toward real-time contactless digital payments. Fifty-six countries are now live with real-time payments, and six countries more than doubled their volume of real-time payments in the past year. [i] Due to a joint implementation of the major banks led by the Dutch Payments Association (Betaalvereniging Nederland), the Netherlands is a European leader in terms of the adoption of real-time payments. In the midst of this fast-changing landscape, new business models are arising as digital-natives, FinTechs and incumbent banks partner to offer new banking and payment services in the cloud. One example is Dutch Cobase – a subsidiary of ING Group that bundles business accounts – which recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Nordic bank Nordea and the French Crédit Agricole. Amsterdam-based banking platform Five Degrees supplies its technology to banks such as ABN Amro, Van Lanschot and Knab, among others. Collaboration like this is spurring further innovation as these digital ecosystems expand, attracting new participants. But successfully delivering these new digital services requires the direct and secure, low-latency, reliable exchange of data between partners that interconnection can provide. BaaS needs FinTechs AND banks FinTechs born in the cloud have the IT infrastructure, skills and agility to deliver digital banking and payment services on-demand. They can also offer these BaaS capabilities to any brand who wants to embed financial services in their customer experience. Sometimes referred to as “embedded finance,” BaaS enables businesses to create new products and services along the customer journey as the diagram below illustrates. However, FinTechs typically lack the assets and regulatory license to fulfill financial transactions, and that’s where banks come in. To ensure that deposits and money transfers stay safe, banks are heavily regulated and often insured up to a certain dollar amount for each depositor. This combined with a longer history with customers means that banks have an advantage when it comes to perceptions of how safe and secure a financial transaction will be. As a result, there are a few collaboration paths that FinTechs and banks generally pursue to bring BaaS services to the market: The FinTech buys a bank that already has a license such as Jiko purchasing Mid Central National Bank in the U.S. or Raisin GmbH buying MHG-Bank AG in Germany. The FinTech partners with a bank to borrow their license such as Chime partnering with Stride Bank, N.A. and The Bancorp Bank. The FinTech acquires its own license (a lengthy process that could take up to three years) such as Railsbank in the U.K. or Varo Money in the U.S. The bank partners with a FinTech to launch BaaS services such as Deutsche Bank partnering with Traxpay to integrate supply chain financing technologies and solutions within its own offerings. Regulations are shaping the partnering model The regulatory environment may also impact the partnering model. For example, open banking laws in the European Union and the U.K. require banks to open APIs to third-party developers, making it easier for FinTechs to gain access to bank data. Regulations like these are helping to reduce uncertainty for startups and accelerate innovation in the European banking system. Challenger banks such as U.K.-based Revolut have also benefitted from special licenses that allow them to directly accept deposits, process payments or lend. In the U.S., the Durbin Amendment is accelerating partnerships between small-medium banks and FinTechs in a different way. The Amendment, which has been in effect since 2011, aimed to lower prices for consumers by reducing the fees that retail stores pay to banks when customers use debit cards. In reality, banks just responded by increasing the fees that consumers pay to make up the lost revenue. However, the Durbin Amendment exempts financial institutions with less than $10 billion, making them ideal partnering candidates for FinTechs. How BaaS actually works A hybrid digital architecture for BaaS with a mix of on-premises, colocation and public/private cloud elements. In this example, the bank is the license holder partnering with the FinTech BaaS provider to deliver embedded financial services to a Brand (such as a retailer or transportation business). The bank has also partnered with other FinTechs for real-time and cross-border payments, although it handles any card transactions in-house. Interconnection will be critical for ensuring secure, low latency data flows between the partners and digital infrastructure across the regions where the BaaS is offered. Partnerships like these are steadily growing into ecosystems of digital exchange around financial services that include clouds, networks, banks, FinTechs, payment rails, fraud detection and other service providers. By placing their digital infrastructure close to these ecosystems, leveraging an interconnection approach, banks and FinTechs alike can maximize their competitive advantage. Interconnection provides a more scalable, reliable, secure approach to moving data between members of the value chain than the public internet. With an interconnection strategy, banks and FinTechs can deploy a digital core, extend across edge locations and enhance their capabilities through digital exchange to create new BaaS markets for any brand.

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Spotlight

Valliance Bank

Valliance Bank was established in Oklahoma City in 2004 as a financial partner to business owners and executives interested in customized solutions to their banking needs. A true community bank, Valliance has grown to include banks in Norman, OK and McKinney, TX, all chartered to focus specifically on the needs of their local customers.

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