Annual guide and fintech programme, The Fintech Power50, has revealed candid findings of its exclusive member research. Exclusive answers from businesses such as SmartStream, Global Processing Services (GPS), and OakNorth, reveal how they have evolved during the ongoing pandemic.
These findings have emerged via a qualitative questionnaire completed in August 2020 and were drawn from a cross-section of fintech businesses, including payment processors, digital banks, and mobile payment platforms. This is the first time the results have been revealed.
Many of the businesses – such as SmartStream, Global Processing Services (GPS), Modulr, and OakNorth – stated that orchestrating the shift to working from home was the biggest challenge caused by the pandemic, with OakNorth particularly referencing onboarding new staff as something it had to approach in an entirely new way.
While Power 50 members such as Modularbank and Contis had fewer issues with the transition to home working, with a Contis adding: “As a totally cloud-based company, we thankfully faced few operational risks in the transition to working from home. “
On shifting to remote working, a spokesperson from GPS stated: “We have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of the company’s workforce across our locations throughout the ongoing pandemic. Through weekly pulse surveys, we continuously gain insight into staff welfare, ensuring physical well-being with appropriate working environments and mental health support too. Alongside increased all staff presentations, we have ‘upped the ante’ on definitions of policies and procedures to make it easier to on board remotely, as well providing more variety of flexible working hours to cater for childcare.
We consider supporting our staff to be paramount to the overall success of GPS. From survey feedback all implementations have been positively received, so we feel we’re in a strong position to ensure a successful operation no matter how long remote working remains necessary.”
Mark Walker, COO of the Fintech Power50, said: “We decided to undertake this research to help support a community sentiment across the Fintech space. And we’re so glad we did, as these insights clearly show how the Fintech industry has refused to be phased by the pandemic and has instead used it as an opportunity to grow and prove its continued viability.
In fact, if anything, the Fintech community has shown how vital the digitalisation of the banking and money management industries are, as consumers all over the world have turned to online payments and digital banking methods throughout the crisis. The pandemic has shown that Fintech can be a necessary force for good and is here to stay for the long haul.”
For example, Penguin Portals, the global network of comparison websites including Confused.com, experienced a drop in demand for some comparison products, such as travel insurance, and questions from customers about cover for products like car insurance. To tackle this, it decided to use the dip as an opportunity to reinforce its purpose by empowering its customers to make choices. The comparison websites created COVID information hubs to keep their customers up to date about what the changing environment meant for the products it compares, resulting in increased visits from customers.
Alternatively, Meniga reported that the pandemic brought about a surge in demand for its products and services, stating: “Personal finance management becomes even more important in times of economic turbulence and people are now, perhaps more than ever, relying on their banks to provide guidance. While this has meant a lot of hard work for us it has also been a significant opportunity for us to demonstrate just how much of a valuable partner we can be for banks, during times of crisis and beyond.”
In fact, a spokesperson from Grab also stated: “Our long-term plans in financial services have not changed because of the pandemic. Our ‘Thrive with Grab’ strategy, recently announced on August 4, is focused on expanding GFG’s consumer ecosystem to tap into SEA’s vast mass market financial services opportunity.”
And Contis also stated that their main goal throughout the pandemic has been maintaining growth.
Mark Walker continued: “By conducting this research we got to understand the unique challenges our members have faced during this pandemic. What was most insightful for us was understanding how the Fintech community came together during this crisis, going to incredible lengths to support both employees and customers.
“As a result of this research, we can be confident that the culture of business within the Fintech industry is extremely positive. Moving forward, we can’t wait to see the long-term impact of this culture and the innovations it is certain to foster.”
The Fintech Power50 has recently announced a new role in helping to discover young fintech talent during the pandemic as an official gateway representative to the government’s Kickstart scheme.