Banks Europe Fintech Partnerships

How Banks Are Adapting to Fast Innovating Fintechs

How is the banking community coming together to resolve the procurement and onboarding process for fintech startups? The answer is ‘people’.

People are at the heart of the process when it comes to solving the process of fintech startups onboarding into big banks.

Whether it’s the folks setting up and following a dream by growing an innovative fintech, the people working tirelessly to procure and onboard solutions for their customers at legacy institutions, or the industry enablers trying to set the conditions for faster compliance and conversion of exciting young companies; they’re all people with families and a mortgage, trying to make a big impact on the financial services sector.

Layla White
Layla White, CEO and founder, TechPassport

That’s the message that comes across loud, and very clearly, from the industry experts who are navigating the obstacles associated with getting small startups into leading banks. Layla White, CEO, and founder of TechPassport is one of the people driving change and offering a better way.

With experience as a digital and innovation procurement specialist for some of the biggest banks in the world, she is uniquely placed to understand the challenges – and solutions – to getting exposure for fintech startups, and helping them clear the very necessary hurdles that large financial institutions have in place.

Beneficial connections

White’s company, TechPassport, sits in the middle of innovation by enabling big banks to find certified startups, and startups to find certified banks. Layla says that finding mutually beneficial relationships between polar opposite companies is tough. “Everybody goes into it very personally, with a lot at stake, and when things go on hold during the onboarding process, it can be hard for leaders and innovators in startups to understand.”

After all, founders are a slightly different breed. “We’re probably nuts,” White says, “but progress is only made by people who push boundaries. Survival is about those who are able to adapt but we also need to be able to protect those people; they still need to be able to pay the bills.”

It’s not only founders that TechPassport seeks to assist. At the end of the day, it’s retail customers that are demanding better service, and they want it now. They want better access to their money, better access to social mobility, and better access to products. Customers are the ones that pay the bills. If you’re cumbersome and slow, those products and organisations will lose out. “We need to innovate,” Layla says.

Spotting barriers
Steve Suarez
Steve Suarez, global head of innovation, HSBC

Someone who wholeheartedly agrees is Steve Suarez, global head of innovation for global functions at HSBC. For him, it’s also about people. Speaking in his private capacity as a member of the board of advisors at TechPassport, and with a unique perspective from inside the financial services sector more generally, Steve says it’s about identifying the blockers to people getting things done and then rebuilding the processes.

“I find that if something helps streamline processes, makes it easier, makes it cheaper, and takes excuses out of the equation; people want to use that kind of innovation, and that makes it exciting,” Steve says. It comes back to people again and people need to be able to augment their day-to-day work to be more effective.

“I don’t think you will find anybody who says, ‘Hey, I’m not going to use this new technology that’s going to make me faster and better or give me an edge. I think we can use these technologies – and teach people how to use them – and show people that they can have a positive impact on their lives and the lives of other people too, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

Via TechPassport, White and Suarez are ensuring that those at the heart of fintech startups are benefiting from industry knowledge and streamlined processes that allow them to navigate and understand the onboarding requirements for big banks.

Banks are in turn working more collaboratively with one another, and with the startups themselves, to remove blockers and aid in the germination and growth of exciting technology. This ultimately benefits customers who rely on and use financial products to improve their lives.


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