As a Senior Consultant with Experian Advisory Services, Gavin Harding works closely with many of Experian’s FinTech and Financial Institution clients to find solutions to complex problems. We sat down recently to talk about bank partnerships, how they come about, what makes them successful, and how Experian supports them.
Do you see a lot of collaboration between banks and FinTechs?
The latest statistics show that 67 percent of banks and FinTech’s are either currently cooperating, or in discussions about cooperating, or exploring collaboration. So, yes a very significant proportion are considering collaborations.
Why collaborate at all?
You know it’s interesting, they have different skill sets, different assets, different backgrounds. So for example; banks have really deep, broad customer relationships. You know think about your Mom or Dad bringing you to your local bank to open up your first account. Think about your student loan. Think about your mortgage.
What kinds of relationships exist?
So banks have really deep and broad relationships. But traditionally the experience with banks has not necessarily been great in terms of turnaround, in terms of the friction or pain involved in getting a loan or opening an account. On the other side, FinTech’s are really good at that customer experience. They describe it as either low or no friction. So very quick turnaround times. But they’re very much transactional-focused, meaning single products.
So FinTech has the technology and the experience, and banks have the depth of relationships with customers. You bring those two parts together and you’ve got a pretty amazing potential opportunity. There are as many relationship types shapes and sizes as there are people on the planet. Everything from cooperation on basic operations, meaning, a FinTech takes applications for a bank and then passes them on. All the way over to full-fledged integration of systems, personnel, capabilities, skill sets, and so on. So pretty much the broad spectrum.
What works well?
So it works really well when they are well-matched. So what I mean by that is, when the skill sets from one organization match the other. When one enhances the other, and it works really well when there are long and detailed discussions and preparations for the relationship. Meaning, they align and discuss goals, objectives, what each organization’s role is, what each brings to the table, and very specifically how they are going to cooperate.
What are the pitfalls?
Well, the same pitfalls. So the pitfalls are that the relationship goals differ, or aren’t aligned, or that one organization feels like they are bringing more to the relationship and that the partnership is equal, or when it feels as if each partner, each organization is not getting value from the relationship over time, and once again that reinforces the need for those detailed discussions before getting into that partnership or relationship.
How does the process work?
So it begins with a discussion. I’ve seen these partnerships start with a discussion over dinner at a conference. I’ve seen them start through a LinkedIn connection. I’ve seen them start over coffee. So it really starts with an exploration of who’s out there? What organizations may be interested in even discussing some kind of collaboration? So it starts with the conversation at the very basic level, even when we see in the Wall Street Journal major strategic alliances between organizations, starts with people, and starts with that very simple conversation and connection.
What are some key elements to be aware of?
Well again it comes down to what each party brings to the relationship and what the goals are. So a good alignment of the capacity of skill sets, an alignment of investment in terms of time and resources, and very specifically a definition of who does what, what the accountabilities are, and what everybody’s expectations are. They are fundamental to the success of any type of business arrangement or partnership.
How does Experian support these partnerships?
So the interesting thing is we have very deep relationships with both sides. So we bring data, solutions, consulting expertise to FinTech’s and to banks. So, it’s really interesting we find ourselves in the middle of a lot of these conversations, and how we help is by understanding systems, technology, data, the best of both organizations involved in the conversations, and how to bring all of that together for a good focused efficient successful outcome.
A couple of years ago this was new meaning that banks saw FinTech’s growing, and kind of looked at them a little bit maybe as competition, as potentially the enemy, FinTech’s saw themselves as disrupting the world and completely innovative and new. What’s starting to happen is both sides are coming together, realizing that they are both part of the same financial industry, serving the same customers, maybe in different or new ways with different products. But in the same industry. So there is very much a coming together, an alignment a co-mingling, consolidation of all these various aspects of the industry. And I think it’s really positive for consumers. More products, more quickly, and a better experience overall.
Do you think a FinTech’s ability to create more dynamic mobile experiences is a key element
Certainly and so the big question we help banks answer in this space is, do we build it? Do we buy it? Do we partner? and build and buy or partner refers to the technology the infrastructure and the experience. So if you have a pretty big bank and they’ve got a old website, old process, lots of paper, lots of regulations, lots of pain in the process. Well they can look at one of the more advanced sophisticated mature FinTech’s and essentially use their platform, their engagement, their data, connect that to the bank’s customers and in a very very short time transform that experience in a very positive way for their banking customers.