Fintech leaders discuss how cloud solutions helped them navigate the pandemic and face a different future.
This article is a summary of key points from the online ‘fireside’ chat between Will Furrer, Q2’s Global Chief Strategy Officer, Andrew Hahn, COO of Semper, and Luke Rankin, CTO of Symple Loans. Watch the full on-demand video here*.
Over the last year, fintechs were critical to a pandemic-stricken global economy. They helped customers borrow, budget, and spend better. And they will play an even larger role in the ongoing economic recovery.
But even the nimblest among them wouldn’t deny that the pandemic threw a wrench into the way that they worked. And most would agree that fintechs are emerging with a different sense of what great customer and employee experiences should look like now.
Andrew Hahn, COO of Semper, a short-term commercial real estate lender, says that his company started 2020 “already working remotely.” But, he says, their allied businesses - brokers, valuations experts, and legal documenters - weren’t. “We had to work with that, and be flexible with them, so we could be flexible for our clients, especially if they were suffering in a rough industry like hospitality.” Using an end-to-end platform helped with this, he says: “it meant we were fully transparent, and no-one was working in a silo. Everyone at every stage in the process knew what was happening with the loans, what stage they were at, how they were being managed, and so on.” The “you see what we see” attitude meant they could be fast, fair, and flexible with loan pricing for customers and for employees.
Luke Rankin, CTO at Symple Loans - a provider of small unsecured personal loans - says that delivering good customer (CX) and employee experience also meant “consciously slowing down.” “We needed to understand the credit risk landscape before we ramped up,” he explains. “Working environments have changed too - some people are surrounded by children; others are completely isolated. There were a lot of broader stresses for us to factor in.” And he argues that the features and products Symple were able to add - such as enhanced fraud detection in the broker channel, and digitising document production - meant that some of the additional stresses disappeared.
Reaching for a great customer experience is fintechs’ bread and butter. But a great employee experience matters too. Hahn commented that “back-end technology needs an intuitive workflow too. It’s important we listen to employees’ pressure points.” He says that using a platform where they follow the progress of loans helps get employees engaged. The flexibility of a cloud-based platform also means making exceptions is easier, he explains “the flexibility is built in - there’s always going to be modifications, and with software-as-a-service, those upgrades filter through the model end-to-end, and they won’t crater the system.”
Symple’s approach is similar: “We start by focusing on friction points - do we really need certain data points? Where are the bottlenecks? Why? Are we providing customers with what they want, rather than what we think they want?,” says Rankin. And he thinks that having top technology also helps keep employees happy. “It’s a luxury to have access to enterprise-grade solutions across the portfolio, at an acceptable cost. Employees feel good about coming to work, and it makes their lives easier.”
But further changes are coming globally - perhaps more economic volatility, more developments in data and analytics, tougher regulation around fraud, and - of course - open banking. To drive sustainable growth, says Hahn, companies need to tap into cloud solutions to keep evolving. “The expression is often ‘cloud first’,” he says, “but for me, now, it’s ‘cloud only’.” And, he adds, “if you’re thinking ‘how do I build this from scratch?’ Then you’re asking the wrong question. There’s a solution and provider for everything out there - the ecosystem has evolved so much and you have scalability, reliability, flexibility, and performance in one system”, with seriously quick time-to-market. “Tap into the solutions, and take the pressure off your customers,” he says.
So what are the top three takeaways for lending businesses looking to transform their CX and UX?
- Use platforms that provide end-to-end transparency - being able to see the progress of a loan keeps customers happy and maximises employee effectiveness.
- Pick systems that allow you to integrate application programming interfaces (APIs) so you can tap into solutions, features, and products from other experts. It will help solve problems quickly and keep your business flexible.
- Find solutions that are scalable, reliable, flexible, and high performance. Customers will thank you, and employees will feel the pressure lift instantly.
Learn more about Q2 and our approach to digital lending by visiting our Beyond Transformation website.