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5 FinTechs to Watch

By Mark Dixon, AAP, APRP, NCP posted 03-04-2021 14:44


COVID-19 has brought unprecedented opportunities and challenges to financial institutions of all sizes. From the processing of more than $72.7 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to the acceleration of digitalization and the shifting role of operations, financial institutions responded heroically to the titanic cultural shifts and the increase in customers’ demands over the past year. In the process, they redefined themselves, and the industry, for years to come.

As year two of the pandemic brings new opportunities and challenges, financial institutions are taking steps to deepen their relationships with existing customers and members and extend their reach into the communities they serve. Last month we brought you a series of posts exploring what core providers were focusing on in the coming year. With FinTech partnerships on the rise and more accessible to financial institutions of all sizes, this month we bring you five FinTechs to watch in the year ahead.



Up first is Finzly, a FinTech that specializes in back-office and core-services solutions. Included in the mix of modern banking applications the financial technology firm offers are payments and digital account opening. Finzly was recently selected out of 80 participants to participate in the Federal Reserve's pilot program for its FedNow(SW) Service, a real-time payments rail set to launch in 2023. This most recent recognition comes on the heels of being selected as an ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator participant and winner of Finovate’s 2020 Best Enterprise Payments Solution.

The company’s recent news post, released in collaboration with Lead Bank, summarizes its capabilities well:

Finzly’s recently enhanced, award-winning Payment Hub supports multiple payment networks through a single, consolidated system, including ACH, Fedwire, SWIFT, and emerging complex real-time payments services like The Clearing House's RTP® network and the Fed's FedNow℠ service. Payment Hub is interoperable, leveraging open APIs in the cloud to centralize consumer and business payment processing, monitoring, reporting, and compliance. Not only does Payment Hub streamline payment automation to free FIs from the manual processing of payments and reconciliation, but it also enables FIs to provide customers with a more seamless payment experience.

Perhaps most notable, and as pointed out by Booshan Rengachari, founder and CEO of Finzly in the release, “Payment Hub takes the workload off of the legacy core system and gives the bank the freedom to innovate without limitations.”

With that in mind, Finzly could serve as a one-stop-shop for financial institutions on the road to payments modernization, positioning themselves for the future with an innovative solution that does not rely on a legacy core processor.


Boss Insights

Boss Insights, a company based in Ontario and Boston, is a FinTech you will want to watch with the move toward payments data strategy and digitalizing the loan application and approval process. According to its website, Boss Insights provides “data as a service with a single API to capture real-time business financial data.” The company’s broad access to financial data analytics required by financial institutions for Know Your Customer, lending, account management, and more, streamlined data points, accelerating the decision-making process for financial institutions, providing more time for new client acquisition and deepening relationships with new clients.

Also, Boss Insights reports that participating financial institutions process 50 percent more loans, 90 percent more digitization, and service and process business loans 80 percent faster. 

Given this company’s Boston location and its affiliations and experiences with the DCU FinTech Innovation Center, MassChallenge, and FinTech Sandbox partner, Boss Insights has a unique understanding of New England's opportunities and challenges financial institutions today. Coupled with its extensive product line, Boss Insights could be a potential match for member financial institutions as the race to payments modernization picks up speed.



Then there’s exSEED, another DCU FinTech Innovation Center participant, which uses conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to engage customers toward improving their financial health with its turnkey, conversational experience. Customers are increasingly demanding instant communication forms, and exSEED's chatbot becomes an extension of your team, providing customers with answers to their questions and the information they need to resolve specific challenges. 

What makes exSEED a standout is its AI chatbot, which enables financial institutions to offer customers a tailored experience because customers learn from every customer interaction. Providing a tailored experience results in increased customer trust and confidence while freeing up staff to address complex inquiries, enhance customer service, cross-sell products and services, and bring in new business.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a cultural shift in which financial institution customers and members have begun to show a preference for online interactions with their financial institutions rather than visiting their local branch to ask questions. exSEED’s AI chatbot addresses this cultural shift and meets financial institutions’ customers and members where they are.

We expect to see exSEED and other companies like it at the forefront of banking, as customers increasingly seek self-service channels to meet their banking needs.



Up next is Harness, a card-linked giving platform that uses the “round up to the nearest dollar concept.” Financial institutions can activate the platform on all Visa and Mastercards. According to the company, it stacks on top of current rewards, points, and cash-back programs. Contributions are eligible to earn points just like other expenditures made on the card.

Financial institutions seeking to attract new customers and deepen relationships with their community would benefit from this addition to their card program, provided it aligns with their strategic plan and priorities. So, suppose a financial institution wants to support the local Boys and Girls Clubs. In that case, they can add them to their Harness offering and allow their customers to select “round up giving” that benefits the nonprofit and the customer. For example, the financial institution could enter the customers that donate into a pool to win prizes on top of standing rewards programs.

For financial institutions, the benefits of introducing this solution include demonstrating an ongoing commitment to community, emphasizing corporate social responsibility, and attracting new customers in the Gen Z demographic, which often considers a company's social responsibility before choosing to give them their business.



We live in a global community, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Gen Z's preferences when it comes to meeting their banking needs. Although Gen Z uses traditional banking services, it lacks previous generations' loyalty to their financial institutions.

Against this backdrop, in walks TransferWise, a company that launched in 2011 and a competitor with the vision of making international money transfers inexpensive, fair, and straightforward. According to the company, they “move over $6 billion every month, and save people and businesses $3 million in hidden fees every day.”

However, financial institutions looking for innovative ways to attract and retain new customers, especially Gen Z, and increase brand loyalty, can integrate the TransferWise platform with their online banking app to offer their members and customers faster, transparent payments to 70+ countries in 40+ currencies.

Granted, financial institutions will lose fees collected for moving money internationally.  However, the customer loyalty and acquisition of new customers, especially those in Gen Z, provides added opportunities for new service and product sales. In retail, they call this “loss leaders,” a product sold at a loss to attract new customers.

We live in a new world due to COVID-19, and strategies financial institutions might not have considered in the past are becoming more appealing considering the cultural and economic shifts brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Is it out-of-the-box? Of course, but so is living through a global pandemic. Yesterday’s solutions may not be right for today’s challenges. It is up to you to decide what this looks like for your financial institution.

We believe the five FinTechs we just mentioned are standouts in addressing some of the opportunities and challenges New England financial institutions face as the pandemic, and other industry factors, continue to impact  and reshape the industry and the customers we serve. As you assess your operating environment make sure you do not lose sight of what is happening with industry players such as these.

In closing , consider how these companies (and others) can help drive the future of NextGen banking and how they tie back into your overall business strategies as you look at how the business of banking continues to transform in today’s new norm.