What People Get Wrong About FinTech and Banking Partnerships

There was a time, not too long ago, where industry experts and the media alike touted the rise of financial technology companies as a risk to banks and traditional financial institutions. Words like “disruption” were thrown around almost as pejoratives — these less-than-well-regulated usurpers were beginning to steal a traditionally unmovable client base.

But this bank-pocalypse never came to pass. In fact, while there was some disruption to the ways banks have traditionally carried on, it has largely been positives. These old-school institutions began to see values in trying things in a new way and offering their customers a fresh experience.

Some banks decided to transform digitally themselves. But more often than not this process was unduly expensive and time consuming. So banks turned to a once-enemy, FinTechs, and began to look for ways they could work together to build a better world to bank in. Companies like Zafin exist to partner with banks and improve their relationships and offerings to their client base.

But many are still hung up on misconceptions about how challenging partnering with FinTech companies can be. Given that hasn’t been our experience at Zafin at all, we thought we’d shed some light on these myths. Here’s what you need to know:

Regulations Make it Impossible to Build Successful Bank/FinTech Partnerships


Anyone who is working in the banking will know that regulations are the bane of innovation. And, frankly, not without good reason. When it comes to dealing with other people’s money, it behooves banks to tread with extreme caution, especially when implementing new technology.

However, the financial technology space isn’t as fresh, green and naive as it was a decade ago. As banks began to see the possibilities offered by strategic partnerships, FinTechs have been able to develop experience working within the tight regulatory space of the financial industry.

Worried that the FinTech you want to work with won’t be compliant? Look no further than their list of logos. If they’ve proven their ability to work with other large (and highly regulated) banks, you can bet your boots they’ll apply the same considerations to your institution.

It’s Easier to Build it in House than Pursue a FinTech Partnership


This one is understandable. Banks have access to enormous resources and often employ the talent to put together a solution. But rarely do they have teams dedicated to developing solutions from scratch — the back end of banking is complicated enough already, and many internal resources are busy maintaining the status quo.

Reassigning teams to develop solutions in house is a costly and time consuming affair. We’ve written about this before — banks are good at banking. Technology companies are good at building technology. So why not partner with a company that can focus on what they do bese while banks focus on, well, banking?

SaaS FinTech solutions are growing increasingly affordable, even for small banks. They require far less implementation and are largely out of the box (or, at least Zafin is.) This means you can start increasing profitability at a lower cost, more quickly. That’s a win-win.

Culture Conflict Makes Partnerships Difficult


If there’s a stereotype about bank culture, it’s one of stuffy board rooms, cubicles and suits. And the one for tech companies is nearly completely opposite — coders in flip flops sitting in bean bag chairs.

While neither of these is completely accurate, they nonetheless point to a divergence in approach and internal corporate culture. How can banks and FinTech companies partner when they’re just so different?

I don’t necessarily ascribe to the above platitude. Rather than attract, I think the difference in cultures fosters an environment of growth. Banks need to be strict about the way business is done to ensure the security of their clients, and technology companies need the flexibility to chase innovation. By working together, a bank and FinTech partnership can offer a learning opportunity to both.

Conclusion


The era of bank and FinTech animosity is over. Now, partnerships are a far more fruitful pursuit for both entities. Yet, people still have hangups from old misconceptions that might be having a deleterious effect on progress.

Partnerships are good — as our clients would attest to. Want to learn more about how a FinTech partnership could benefit your bank? Get in touch with us today!