We've had ten guests give their two cents on the world of fintech and the future ahead on our podcast, Interchange.
Doing some back of the napkin math, that's about 20 cents. Luckily, the knowledge we've gained throughout the first episodes is worth a lot more than that.
We’ve chatted with some of the most prolific thinkers in the fintech space: We’ve gone deep on data privacy; we've processed the nuances of processors; we've mined the ins and outs of working with regulators.
Now is a great time to take a look in the rear view mirror and share key nuggets of knowledge that have been shared over our airwaves.
Brands Need Easier Access to the Financial Ecosystem
Our first takeaway comes from our conversation with Roy Ng, CEO at Bond.
We have a rallying cry at Bond that every brand can become a fintech company. But, this adage can be easily misconstrued. It's not about changing a company's focus or encouraging them to work in a different vertical; it's about increasing financial access and independence for every part of society. Soon, financial services will finally meet people where they are when they need it.
“The future of financial services is seamless and integrated into the services people use every day,” Roy shared. “The future will benefit the consumer immensely in that financial services are everywhere and that allows for financial inclusion. We will be able to reach corners of the population that were not well served by traditional financial services.”
“We (Bond) enable any digital brand that wants to better engage and serve their customers with financial products,” Roy continued. “We allow you to innovate on us, to try new things and see if you’re actually helping your customers or not, instead of spending years planning every detail and building something only to find that it wasn’t a good fit with your customers in the first place.”
Relationships, relationships, relationships
As Jordan points out, the entire fintech industry is based on trust. Not only with consumers, but with each other as operators and leaders.
Jordan himself is a prolific builder of relationships...and that's a great trait for a fintech CEO to have. The world of banking and financial services hinges on relationships that need time to grow, to strengthen, and to evolve over time.
Jordan stresses the importance of keeping that time span in mind when building your company in his appearance on Interchange.
As an advisor to many companies in the fintech space, Jordan has heard founders say things like, “I can’t get that person who would be an incredible board member for me”. He explains, “Anybody who thinks they want to be a founder in the next five to ten years needs to start thinking about generating those relationships now.”
This is true across the board in our industry. Jordan recommends building relationships early and often; with relationships comes trust and with trust comes business.
That said, relationship building can’t be transactional. They must be built out of a true desire to help and add value.
The Future of Compliance is In Real-Time Data
Compliance is critically important and also deeply complex. It helps to have an expert on your team that can take you through the ins and outs of compliance and make sense of it for you. We're lucky to have Arlene Dznurak, Chief Compliance Officer, here at Bond and on our podcast.
Here's a highlight from our compliance bonanza conversation with Arlene.
So much of what we refer to as compliance comes down to reviewing data in the rear view mirror. This is true for the sponsor banks working with the fintech-forward brands, the regulators and even sometimes the brands themselves.
When you take a step back and look at the surface area of the problem, it comes down to data. If the regulators, bankers and fintech brands had a (closer to) real time view of their data, many problems would be solved. Not just business problems either; we could make a dent in money laundering and monetary crime in general.
We’ve established data visibility as one of the priorities on the Bond platform. It’s a first principle that we work from as a company.
Give Tools To the Builders and Let Them Build
Our fourth lesson on the road to fintech omniscience came from our conversation with Amir Wain, CEO at i2c. Finding new ways to empower yourself and your organization is incredible; empowering others, and an industry, is all the more incredible.
Empowering others to build gets us out of bed every day. Bond and i2c both see giving builders the power to bring to life the products and experiences they have in mind as one of the core missions of our businesses — and for a good reason t have to do a little bit with spaghetti and marshmallow towers as we covered in Amir's blog post.
Remember that game back in school where you and a group of classmates would be charged with the task of building a spaghetti and marshmallow tower? Well, maybe this was a midwest thing. But, no matter what your cafeteria-style brick and mortar materials were, building infrastructure is similar.
Give the founders and creators the tools and let them build. Some will flounder and break your proverbial, technological spaghetti; some will build skyscrapers worthy of the entire cafeteria's respect.
The partnership between Bond and i2c falls into a similar camp. We are building tools for builders. At Bond, we want to bring together top notch partners so that we can create new tools, infrastructure and helpful paths to integrate with.
During our interview, Amir summed this up beautifully saying, "You are the App Store of financial services. You are providing the ability for a single developer to build an app and put it on the App Store. Without the App Store, how would they build the distribution? How would they even sell to anyone? Well, you are not solving a distribution problem, but you are solving the infrastructure problem for those people to really build a product they can take to market. I think we will see many, many new use cases that we don't think of today and being able to enable some of those good use cases and be the first to do so on Bond and i2c together would be great!"
The Digital Divide Broadens the Financial Divide
Our last and final takeaway comes from our conversation with Trent Bigelow, CEO at Abound. The fintech industry spends a lot of time talking about increasing access, banking the underbanked, and creating equity in finance. It’s important to remind ourselves that all the groundbreaking software in the world doesn’t matter if the hardware isn’t there to support it.
Earlier, we mentioned the haves and the have-nots in the US. This growing divide isn’t just limited to socioeconomic status.
Trent explains that, “The new divide growing in the US that correlates with financial health isn’t only financial. It’s the digital divide." While most folks might have access to some sort of digital device like a smartphone, there are still people who have limited access to a device that can accommodate new financial apps.
If folks don’t have access to a phone that allows them to download these apps we talk about, then they are inherently at a disadvantage.
The work the fintech world is doing to build infrastructure to level the playing field for finance is paramount, but we can’t forget that the problem we’re trying to solve has many layers. What Abound and Bond are building solutions for one piece, but don’t forget that it’s part of an ecosystem — sometimes the hardware is just as important as the software. Without the proper hardware, the groundbreaking software being built can’t have the impact we’re all hoping for.
If you care about leveling the playing field in finance, let’s chat.
Reach out to email@example.com or check out our careers page and let’s chat!