FinTech companies have been the foundation of innovation in the payments and financial services sphere over the past decade, whilst legacy financial institutions, such as banks, have struggled to keep up. Generally considered in competition with one another, what would happen if FinTechs and Banks joined forces? Prabhat Vira, President of Tungsten Network Finance, explains.
Recent research shows that financial institutions are increasingly forming partnerships with fintechs to create products that streamline and improve the customer experience and eliminate inefficiencies. In fact, when questioned by PwC, 82% of banks, insurers and asset managers said they expected to increase the number of fintech providers they work with over the next 3-5 years. So what is driving this trend and how can commercial banks follow the lead of their retail counterparts?
A symbiotic relationship
Over the last few years, fintechs have evolved the customer experience – prioritising the user experience to connect with and empower customers with alternative finance. Many banks are coming to the realisation that if there is a great opportunity to participate in fintech developments.
In light of this, instead of competing with fintechs, some banks are seeing the wisdom of embracing the dynamic nature of fintechs and are actively collaborating with them. It is a very positive step forward as each party has something significant to offer the other. Fintechs require access to capital, and Banks in contras, are looking for ways to innovate more quickly, provide a slicker customer experience and leverage data to mitigate risk. Collaboration with fintechs enables banks to outsource their R&D to them and bring new products to the market much more quickly and for less cost. Ultimately, the partnerships between banks and fintechs are creating a unique opportunity for the expansion of finance solutions, and thereby adding real value for customers.
Commercial banks following retail counterparts
However, this subject is not purely theoretical for us – we have recently teamed up with BNP Paribas, a leading international bank, to offer e-invoicing linked Receivables Purchase and e-invoicing linked Supply Chain Finance (e-SCF) to large corporates in the USA and Canada. Our customers can now obtain an attractive working capital solution through the same technology provider they use for e-invoicing and procurement activities. It is the first partnership of its type and a sign that commercial banks are following the lead of their retail counterparts in collaborating with fintechs.
By linking e-invoicing with supply chain and receivables purchase, customers are offered a one-stop solution that brings together process efficiency and working capital optimisation in a single portal. They are offered attractive rates in a straight-forward, hassle-free way. From the bank’s perspective, a lot of energy can be spent connecting clients and on the payables side, on-boarding suppliers onto the system. This creates friction in the relationship, and inhibits the supply chain. The advantage for a bank and for the customer is that by partnering with a fintech like us, these trade flows are already on our platform. Therefore, both do not have to onboard suppliers twice and deal with complex technology integrations. Ultimately, the partnership helps to make the supply chain process smoother for all.
We believe partnerships such as this are shaping the future for businesses and financial institutions alike. They are enabling us to work more smartly and offer added value to customers. Speed to market is of the essence in our fast-paced, consumer-centric world and fintech providers are agile by nature and best placed to bring innovations to the masses. As retail and commercial banks realise the mutual benefits of partnering with fintechs, we are certain we will see more and more collaborations that will delight customers around the world.