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Establishing a Successful Partnership Between a Financial Institution and a Fintech

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Establishing a Successful Partnership Between a Financial Institution and a Fintech

By Matt Johnner, president and co-founder of BankLabs 

As featured in William Mills Agency’s 2018 Bankers as Buyers Report.

Our society associates financial institutions with stability and trust, while fintechs typically epitomize change and innovation. These two opposing forces may seem to have very little in common, but that does not mean they can’t successfully work together to achieve a common goal.

According to PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) 2017 Global Fintech Report, over 80 percent of financial institutions believe business is at risk to innovators. That may be true if the innovator is attempting to stand alone or replace financial institutions altogether. However, by partnering with a financial institution, innovators can work with a bank or credit union to solve an issue or meet a need.

Additionally, PwC reports that 82 percent of financial institutions expect to increase partnerships with fintechs in the next three to five years. This shows that financial institutions are willing to explore the innovative world of financial technology in order to provide better service to their customers, or scale a product outside of their traditional market.

 

Benefits of Partnerships between Financial Institutions and Fintechs

By partnering with a fintech provider, financial institutions improve upon the things they are already doing well. Technology can be used to solve an issue, update an existing process or enhance customer interactions. Fintechs have a lot to offer financial institutions, such as advanced, forward-looking technology and a fresh, outside perspective.

Of course, the partnership is just as beneficial to the fintech provider. Fintechs may hope to disrupt the industry by creating an unparalleled user experience, but solely focusing on this is not enough to be successful. A fintech provider without a financial institution to serve often ends up biting off more than they can chew.

With the implementation of a fintech service, financial institutions can differentiate themselves from other lenders in the space. By automating services and providing consumers with an innovative and efficient tool to make their lives easier, the financial institution becomes more competitive while also broadening their market. And, customers receiving a positive user experience from their bank or credit union will likely choose to stay with that bank or credit union.

A successful fintech partnership can also provide an additional revenue stream for the financial institution. Some fintechs can offer financial institutions modern, user-centric services that fulfill consumers’ needs while simultaneously charging a small fee on transactions that goes straight back to the financial institution. Think about how many paper checks still exist in unique industries or processes.

 

Tips to Create a Successful Partnership

Let’s start with an unsuccessful partnership; this is one that is created with the purpose of looking for a problem rather than solving one. A successful partnership begins when a fintech and a financial institution see a solution to an existing problem and need each other’s help in bringing that solution to life.

A smart fintech understands that a financial institution’s brand is extremely important to its success and cannot be jeopardized. Fintechs must approach potential partnerships with a thoughtful, conservative mindset. A failed fintech reflects poorly on the financial institution and its brand.

An equally important factor in a successful partnership is the financial institution ensuring its fintech provider has a strong background in banking. While fintechs offer unique, outside perspectives, they should also understand the fundamentals and the complexities of banking. The best fintechs have established bankers as part of their team or board of directors who understand the banking industry and the sanctity of its brand, needs and technology.

In addition, fintechs should leverage the financial institution’s existing products if speed to market and velocity is important. The solution must seamlessly integrate into the existing landscape and utilize the financial institution’s pre-existing product or distribution to solve a problem.

Lastly, open communication between the financial institution and fintech provider is key. The two should take part in an open discussion at the beginning of the partnership to determine goals and expectations. As previously mentioned, each party has a very different way of thinking, so it is imperative to discuss the definition of success early in the relationship.

It is important to remember that fintechs and financial institutions should not be competing with each other; they should be supporting each other. The best partnership is one in which both the parties achieve a goal that helps improve processes, reduce costs and enhance the user experience.

Matt Johnner is president and co-founder of BankLabs, a national provider of innovative, mobile technology products that help community banks improve efficiency, increase time for relationships with customers and create marketplace options that expand business opportunities. BankLabs believes that community banking is a way of doing business, not a size. For more information, visit www.banklabs.com.

Dallas Innovates: Startup Helps ‘Level the Playing Field’ for Community Banks

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A startup that provides innovative technology to community banks is revolutionizing the process for making construction loans while also arming the institutions with another weapon against their biggest competitors — FinTechs and large multinational banks.

BankLabs, which is equally based in Dallas and Little Rock, was formed as part of Radius Group, a Little Rock, Arkansas holding company, in January 2016. It immediately hit the market with Construct, it’s appropriately named product that enables banks to automate the construction loan process.

BankLabs describes the current procedure used by most banks as a “noisy process” involving spreadsheets, paper files, and emails, creating “unnecessary delays and wasted opportunities to increase profit and enhance customer relationships.” By switching to the Construct app, BankLabs President Matt Johnner of Dallas said banks can improve efficiency by 50 percent.

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FinTech Can’t Beat Community Banks

By | Blog

My team and I have been called contrarian, which we will take as a compliment; we believe that the best community banks will beat the best FinTech players. Best on best so to speak.

Why do we feel this way?

Because, FinTech cannot win against modern community banks that combine their in-market, relationship-based banking with progressive technology.

To start, we define things a bit differently than most…

Community Bank(ing): ‘It is a way of doing business, not a size. It is about in-market, relationship-based banking.’

Progressive Technology: ‘Mobile-first products built to be banker-first (not bank) to enhance customer relationships, plus, marketplace technology that expands loan opportunities.’

BankLabs‘ ‘why’ is to ensure the survival and growth of community banks. Traditional financial institutions and the companies that have historically served them face disruption like never before. There are approximately 2,400 FinTech companies hunting for success and community banking customers are in their crosshairs.

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BankLabs Wins 2017 FinTech Breakthrough Award for Best Consumer Banking Mobile App

By | Award

BankLabs has been awarded the 2017 FinTech Breakthrough for “Best Consumer Banking Mobile App.” FinTech Breakthrough is an independent organization dedicated to helping the best financial services and technology products and companies “Break Through” the crowded FinTech industry. The FinTech Breakthrough Awards recognize the top companies and products in the financial services and technology industry today. View the full list of winners here.

 

Beginnings and Endings in Banking and FinTech

By | Blog

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions, doorways and endings. Considered to be one of the most important Roman gods, Janus was often depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions, the past and the future.

This is a great metaphor for what FinTech is not just doing to, but also for regional and community banks… Much like Janus has two faces that represent beginnings and endings; FinTech has unknowingly created a Face of Opportunity for progressive banks looking towards the future, not just the Face of Doom that most have latched onto.

FinTech has technology, easy processes and speed. But now some progressive community banks are deploying mobility technology to get their bankers out of the office, to work with borrowers in person and for those same borrowers to use the mobile technology to get money faster and easier. Community banks are winning this battle now because they can combine the new Mobile Technology + In-market relationship-based banking whereas FinTech just has the tech.

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Two Traits of Community Banks that Will Survive FinTech

By | Blog

First, let me start with our bias. We believe that everyone, even millennials benefit when they have a community banking relationship.  Why? There simply is no replacement for a face-to-face conversation when something special is needed or goes wrong in your work or personal life.  FinTech startups cannot handle this easily (at least today, but watch for retail partnerships).

Don’t get me wrong, I personally use many electronic only financial institutions and would not give up my investment bank, my ability to deposit checks with a camera, etc.   But they will not have my back when I need something special or unique.  Electronic only is great for single purpose, fast, commoditized transactions for relatively simple exchanges (this too will evolve).

My point?  Community banks that focus on timely, in-market relationship-based banking will do well as we continue along the FinTech disruption continuum. But relationships alone will not be enough; community banks also need modern, easy-to-use, mobile technology for their bankers (notice my emphasis on bankers not banks) to negate the tremendous technology advantage that the new guys bring to the table.

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