Fintech makes the world go around


November 13, 2019  1:38 PM

Wagestream gives staff alternative to payday lenders: Fintech interview 30

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

Fintech Wagestream, which was founded last year, offers businesses a service where they can pay staff some of their earnings in advance of payday.

It gives workers access to the money they have earned straight away rather than at the end of the month

This is an employee benefit businesses offer so staff don’t need to go to payday lenders, for example, where they face high interest rates. On the other side it helps businesses retain staff is sectors like catering, where they typically struggle to do so.

Wagestream was founded in January 2018 and had its platform ready and its first client by June that year.

The platform currently has over 150,000 employees at 60 different companies signed up to the service.  The contract is between Wagestream and the businesses customers, which include Casual Dining Group, Rentokil Initial, Hackney Council and Roadchef.

Its early focus is on the hospitality. The driver for this is the need to improve staff retention in the sector. The hospitality industry helped Wagestream get a foothold when the pizza shop below Wagestream’s first office was its first customer. “Retaining staff is a real problem in most restaurant or pub chains and that is where we found our first customers,” said CEO and co-founder Peter Briffett. It also targets the retail, healthcare and facilities sectors. All of its customers currently are either in the UK or Ireland.

Wagestream does some of its business through partnerships, an example of which is its work with workforce management tool Workday. “If a business uses the Workday software we have an integration with that, which they can use,” added Briffet.

The platform links to workforce management and payroll systems with an app and management system in the middle. “When somebody takes out pay outside the pay cycle it is automatically deducted. “It is quite a lightweight platform that sits on top of everything,” said Briffet. “Every worker that voluntarily joins can download the app and see their earnings live.”

When a user requests payment the money is paid by Wagestream via its banking partner and it automatically recoups the money on the next pay cycle.

The bank makes money through charging interest and Wagestream makes money in two ways. Every time an employee makes a withdrawal of any size it costs them £1.75, while the business customer is charged a monthly software as a service fee of about £1 per employee per month.

Briffett, who comes from a background in the high growth tech startup sector, said in November 2017 he read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how Walmart was looking into flexible payment and its effects on staff. The article described how Walmart was looking at whether offering flexible pay would improve staff retention and productivity. “We thought what an amazing idea an realised that nowadays workforce management data or earnings data is cloud based, rather than on servers in the HQ, so it can be accessed and we can understand people’s earning every second of every day, and give them access to that.”

He said the UK was a good place to start. “In the US everybody is paid every two weeks, whereas in the UK 85% of people are paid monthly, so the financial stress is greater. As a result the use of payday loans and overdrafts is much higher in the UK,” Briffet explained.

The usage of the system and customer base that has developed surprised Briffet. “At the beginning it was about looking to give people this financial cushion but we found of you give people this link between pay and work the incentive to do more shifts increases.”

Another surprise was winning customers like Hackney Council. “We thought it would be more useful that businesses that pay staff by the hour but some of our customers now have salaried staff and it works in the same way.”

When I first read about the business model I thought it seemed a bit dangerous, with the opportunity for staff getting themselves into financial trouble by spending too much too early. But the fact that the average use is about twice a month per employee with the average amount taken just over £80, proves that people understand its purpose. Briffet said employees are not overdoing it because “they see it as borrowing from themselves.”

It also has controls on both sides with the employer able to set limits such as the percentage of earnings that can be accessed early or the number of times payments can be made. The employees can also set self controls.

Wagestream currently has about 45 staff which is a mix of commercial, onboarding and technology staff. Going forward the company is planning new services for employees that are signed up. This might include a savings product. Because pay goes through the Wagestream system for staff that have signed up features like automatically saving a certain amount a month could be added.

Read the previous fintech interviews

Part 29 Inbotiqa, Part 28 MambuPart 27 Evolution AIPart 26 Funding OptionsPart 25 FutureBricksPart 24 EsmePart 23 The ID CoPart 22 CurrencycloudPart 21 TandemPart 20 TinkPart 19 Goldex,  Part 18 AzimoPart 17 YoyoPart 16 BudPart 15 PrevisePart 14 FinastraPart 13 InstaReMPart 12 EucapsPart 11 AimBrainPart 10 MenigaPart 9 TrueLayerPart 8 InvestCloudPart 7 ClauseMatchPart 6 Rebuilding Society, Part 5 HonchoPart 4 AkoniPart 3 WriskPart 2 CreditLadderPart 1 Taina Technology

November 7, 2019  10:20 AM

Tandem Bank embarks on international expansion

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

Digital challenger bank Tandem has made will start its international expansion with plans to open in Hong Kong before the year is out.

Tandem Bank is going to adopt the same approach to when it started in the UK with thousands of early customers, known as co-founders helping them shape their offering. In the UK there were 11,000 co-founders.

Tandem CEO Ricky Knox, told me in an interview early this year that the scheme meant that if you were an early customer you could help build the bank. This way, because customer demand will be different in Hong Kong to the UK, the bank will want to ensure it builds appropriately

According to Knox, Hong Kong is underserved in terms of digital banks.

In the UK it offers a credit card, mortgages, savings, personal loans and it plans to launch a current account. It uses open banking features and technologies like artificial intelligence to help customers manage their money. It has about 700,000 customers.

Speaking at Hong Kong fintech Week Knox said: “This is an extremely exciting step for Tandem and our first move into international markets. Our innovative products and services are perfectly suited to the market here in Hong Kong and we can’t wait to be able to share Tandem with the Hong Kong consumer.”

In Hong Kong Tandem is partnering with Hong Kong based finanacial advisor firm Convoy Global Holdings.

 

Read more about Tandem Bank

UK digital challenger bank Tandem migrated from its initial IT infrastructure to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud over just one weekend in November without a hitch.

News that Tandem Bank has reached 500,000 customers is good for fintechs in that it shows consumers are looking at alternatives to traditional banks.

Tandem Bank’s chief technology officer had a close encounter with legacy banking when he left his previous job to pursue a career in fintech

Tandem Bank is accelerating the training of its artificial intelligence technology to offer customers tailored banking services with the appointment of a seasoned expert to train its artificial intelligence (AI) engine.


October 31, 2019  10:14 AM

TrueLayer set to expand its services through Visa network

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

It is almost a year ago when I first spoke with fintech TrueLayer as part of my Fintech interview series, and the company is making significant progress.

A $35m round of funding round, led by Temasek and Tencent and a partnership with Visa are recent achievements.

The company puts the tech into fintech as it provides Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that enable finance providers and fintechs to offer services to customers.

Set up in London in 2016. It is a child of the EU’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) rules for open banking in the UK. These mean banks must be able to give third-party financial services suppliers access to customer data, if the customer agrees, through APIs. It currently offers two APIs, one for payments and another for data.

TrueLayer is currently expanding internationally and is establishing its services, currently only available in the UK, across Europe and Australia.

It could expand quickly through its latest partnership which is with credit card giant Visa. TrueLayer has just announced that it has become a fintech partner with Visa which will enable it to serve global businesses with its open banking APIs via Visa’s network.

Shefali Roy, chief operating officer at TrueLayer told me the company’s open banking products, a data API and payments API will be available on Visa’s platform. “There are loads of fintechs and collaborative businesses that work with Visa to serve their customers and we will now be on that platform.”

She gave the example of a business using it in their ecommerce system to enable them to use bank to bank payments rather than credit card accounts to make payments. “This would enable corporates to offer not only a credit card rail to pay but also a bank to bank option.”

It will be immediately possible in the UK for Visa customers to access the APIs because they are already integrated with the major UK banks. But this will eventually help TrueLayer expand globally through Visa’s huge customer base. TrueLayer will have work to do to integrate with banks outside the UK first, but this is already happening.

“We need to connect the APIs into the banks in new regions before we offer our services,” said Roy. The fact that the company is on the Visa network means it could have a ready-made customer base once this integration is done.

It will have integrated with other banks in Europe by the end of the year.

In Australia TrueLayer is testing and integrating with banks in preparation for launching in February 2020.

“As we build it Visa will turn on the options for customers,” said Roy.

Roy was previously the European chief compliance officer at payments fintech Stripe.


October 17, 2019  9:49 AM

The demise of Lehman Brothers sparked Inbotiqa’s flame: Fintech interview 29

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

When an email was missed at Lehman Brothers and a hefty fine was triggered by regulators a pair from the corporate actions team were asked to build a technology that would prevent it happening again.

Large corporates have numerous high volume shared inboxes where every email is an action to complete a task which is business critical and has to be done by a deadline. But while email is attractive because it is universally used, can include attachments, and is an official communications tool, it can be very difficult to track and manage.

Missing a deadline in most jobs, because someone overlooked an email, is pretty common. But if it happens once at finance firms that are highly regulated it can be very costly, as the Lehman Brothers fine demonstrates.

It was the death of the investment bank, during the global financial services meltdown in 2008 that made the whole concept of email workflow management tech startup Inbotiqa possible.

When the email was missed at Lehman Brothers, which was unrelated to the company’s collapse in 2008, Vishal Shanbhag and Ludre Stevens were set working on the technology. Some years later, after Lehman Brothers was no more, they started building the technology themselves and launched a company in 2011, originally named YUDO.

The company became Inbotiqa after a rebrand in 2018. It offers a workflow technology platform that overlays existing email. According to co-founder Stevens it aims to take away the pain points of email such as ownership and management reporting but doesn’t take away the benefits. Aimed at back office operational teams the technology helps users manage what they have to do and enables them and managers to keep track of progress. It is most effective when businesses have high volume shared inboxes

And it is not a huge enterprise system with massive upfront licensing costs, but in the spirit of the digital world it is charged per user per month.  “The idea itself isn’t original: overlaying workflow onto email has been done many times, from most CRM and ERP systems, to workflow tools and even event management applications.” Nor were there any copyright issues with Lehman Brothers, as YUDO was designed from scratch and coded in different software language. So no Lehmans documentation or code was or could be used, said Stevens.

Initially the team worked on a proof of concept with an investment bank. After this proved successful the bank decided to look at building something in-house. It is at this point that the co-founders  tweaked the product, after taking on feedback, and built the next version.

Stevens said the founders were lucky that they had worked on the product at a real bank, whose former staff had now spread across the sector. “We were also fortunate due to the unfortunate demise of Lehman Brothers because most of our users have been scattered across the industry so we have a ready base of potential customers that had already used the technology.”

Inbotiqa, which is based in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) innovation hub in London, was part of Barclays’ Rise accelerator programme run by Techstars, which it graduated earlier this year. It was its time at Barclay’s Rise which accelerated its growth and put it on its current path. It is understanding where the product fits was the big challenge to the founders that were focused on the technology.

The company was rebranded last year and increased its small team up to ten people. It has its tech team of five people in India and is looking to add another ten IT staff. But these will not be in India because, according to CEO Liza Russell staff in India move around too much and the company “wants staff that want to go on a journey with us.”

Russell was brought in as CEO prior to the Barclays programme to get the company moving. “I am not a techie but I have worked in areas where these workflows are used. I come at it from a banking background with an understanding of how useful it can be,” she said.

She said traditional email doesn’t offer automated services to ensure emails are actioned and tracked. “The people using our technology are teams where almost every email is an instruction to do something. It all has to be done in a certain timeframe and people need to know it has been done.”

She said email continues to be an essential communications tool so businesses are always looking to improve its usability. “While there are lots of tech services aimed at finance firms that are alternatives to email, the communication channel is still preferred.” Russell said one of the customers recently had 125,000 emails going through its system in a single month. “We are an enterprise industrial technology. These large banking customers have hundreds of share inboxes.

But traditionally keeping track has to be done manually on spreadsheets to allocate work to a team.

Inbotiqa’s technology enables people to manage and track every item. It provides an onscreen dashboard for users about what they are working on and deadlines etc. “Nothing can be missed as the que has to be cleared at the end of the day,” said Russell.

The technology also helps businesses automatically organise emails into groups and remove duplication. This reduces the number of cases being worked by automatically linking emails that are about the same thing. Email chains will be consolidated under a single ID. It also helps managers remove emails that are not relevant. Russell said: “Using analytics with one customer we were able to identify a lot of noise coming out of the traders, who were taking the scattergun approach when it comes to emailing in the hope that someone will answer.” The technology can automatically close cases if the analytics identifies it as not requiring action.

The next stage of development of Inbotiqa will see it work with machine learning technology to integrate into its next versions.

Read the previous fintech interviews

Part 28 Mambu, Part 27 Evolution AIPart 26 Funding OptionsPart 25 FutureBricksPart 24 EsmePart 23 The ID CoPart 22 CurrencycloudPart 21 TandemPart 20 TinkPart 19 Goldex,  Part 18 AzimoPart 17 YoyoPart 16 BudPart 15 PrevisePart 14 FinastraPart 13 InstaReMPart 12 EucapsPart 11 AimBrainPart 10 MenigaPart 9 TrueLayerPart 8 InvestCloudPart 7 ClauseMatchPart 6 Rebuilding Society, Part 5 HonchoPart 4 AkoniPart 3 WriskPart 2 CreditLadderPart 1 Taina Technology


October 16, 2019  11:06 AM

Financial services firms reveal their fintech status in major study

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

While traditional financial services firms are waxing lyrical about the benefits of fintech only a third (34%) have a C-suite executive leading technology/digital strategies.

This is according to a survey of 248 finance firms, of which 73% have annual revenue over $1bn. The Crossing the Lines survey report from PwC said that UK financial services firms were lagging the rest of the world in putting a C-Level executive in charge of technology. I the rest of the world 41% of financial services firms have already done so, revealed the survey.

This needs to be addressed if traditional firms are going to close the tech gap between them and digital native challengers, according to Rav Hayer, UK fintech leader at PwC. “Increased C-Suite involvement will pave the way for more investment and bring a more attractive environment for real innovation and partnership with fintechs, helping to bridge the gap with challenger banks for example,” he said.

These individuals will have to approach the challenge on two fronts with technology needed for operational efficiency as well as customer services. According to the PwC survey 44% of UK finance firms have already embedded fintech into their strategic operating model and over a quarter have incorporated emerging tech into the products and services they sell.

“The focus to date has been on incorporating emerging tech across payments, personal finance and insurance where 49%, 37% and 32% of respondents reporting emerging tech as already being incorporated,” said Hayer.

He added that the next two years will see asset and wealth management businesses will focus heavily on fintech.

But there are major challenges for large firms, when they adopt fintech. According to the survey findings the biggest challenges for traditional finance firms adopting fintech were: Security, compliance and data-privacy risks; too many legacy systems with new systems risking adding complexity; and regulation.

Another challenge facing firms,con the back of fintech adoption,  is the need for new skills to support fintech based business models. As a result of the adoption of the latest technologies financial services firms are creating new jobs. In fact, according to the survey, 63% of UK financial services firms said they are creating more jobs as a result of fintech. But 46% of UK firms are struggling to fill the roles created.

The survey revealed that those leading technology at financial services firms are currently engaged in cloud, big data and robotic process automation (RPA) projects. “Our research suggests that priority areas of focus over the next 12 months will be cloud, big data, and RPA, which aligns to the increasing focus on the power of data and the need for scalable computing, data storage and network capabilities to unlock this.”

Globally, artificial intelligence technology is expected to transform the industry in the next two years according to 56% of financial services firms. The next most likely is big data with 44% expecting this, closely followed by cloud computing with 43%. Blockchain 40%, 5G 39% and IoT 36% were also cited as transformational technologies for the finance sector.

 


October 2, 2019  9:28 AM

From university lab to mainstream Mambu provides cloud ERP system for banks: Fintech interview 28

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

A project at a US university looking at microfinancing proved to be the spark for software as a service banking platform supplier Mambu.

The company, which was launched in 2010, today describes itself as a cloud based ERP system for banks, which can complete all the customer facing accounting.

“But we offer this with an experience as a service that is like using gmail or Office 365,” said CTO Ben Goldin.

After initially targeting microfinancing service providers in developing countries Mambu’s main customer base is now made up of challenger banks building a business or large traditional banks launching digital spin-offs. It has customers across the world today, including UK challenger bank OakNorth and Dutch banking giant ABM Amro..

Goldin, who has been at the company since 2017, said co-founders Eugene Danilkis and Frederik Pfisterer were carrying out a computer science project at Carnegie Mellon University in the US and as part of their studies carried out project was focused on microfinancing companies in Madiera, part of Portugal.

After their university project was complete the founders continued to develop the platform, which was cloud based from day one, initially targeting a customer base of companies offering micro financing services in developing countries, in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

The Mambu cloud based banking platform as a service was designed to enable its components to plug into other providers through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Customers can use the Mambu API to access its products via the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud

Goldin said the company initially targeted microfinancing in the developing world to give it room to try products out. “The developing world is good for developing a banking product because on the one hand banking products in these countries are sophisticated despite what you may think and at the same time regulation is more relaxed.”

He said this was particularly the case when it came to hosting applications in the cloud. “At the time big banks would not think about hosting core business in the cloud but for microfinancing companies this was the best way to do business, as they couldn’t usually afford on premise banking systems.”

Goldin has worked in financial services technology for over 20 years with experience within traditional banks and suppliers of technology to banks.

Today Mambu works with a variety of financial and non-financial organisations that offer some financial services, such as retailers or telecoms suppliers. There are over 200 instances of Mambu being used globally at over 150 oragnisations.

 

The bulk of Mambu’s customer base is made up of traditional banks creating spin off organisations and new challenger banks. The former includes ABM Amro spin off New10 in the Netherlands and the latter includes banking challengers N26 and OakNorth.

It continues to win customers and grow globally. Nordea backed PFC (Personal Finance Co), a digital challenger bank based in Stockholm recently went live with Mambu.  PFC offers a personal finance app with debit card which through automation and data insights encouraged customers to meet financial goals.

In Asia it recently signed up Singapore-based fintech Cheers Paytech as a customer. It will provide the core banking technology to then startup.

Mambu is headquartered in Berlin and currently has about 200 staff worldwide. About half of these are at its main engineering operation is in Romania. It has a small office in London.

 

While €30m investment was recently been secured going forward Goldin said access to the right staff is one of its challenges. The company needs people to support its work on developing the architecture needed to support larger organisations and faster development, he said.

 

Read the previous fintech interviews

Part 27 Evolution AI, Part 26 Funding OptionsPart 25 FutureBricksPart 24 EsmePart 23 The ID CoPart 22 CurrencycloudPart 21 TandemPart 20 TinkPart 19 Goldex,  Part 18 AzimoPart 17 YoyoPart 16 BudPart 15 PrevisePart 14 FinastraPart 13 InstaReMPart 12 EucapsPart 11 AimBrainPart 10 MenigaPart 9 TrueLayerPart 8 InvestCloudPart 7 ClauseMatchPart 6 Rebuilding Society, Part 5 HonchoPart 4 AkoniPart 3 WriskPart 2 CreditLadderPart 1 Taina Technology


September 27, 2019  12:46 PM

SIBOS audience applauds Boris Johnson’s loss in the Supreme Court

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

At 10.30am on Tuesday 24th September I was sitting in a packed audience at SIBOS in London’s Excel, listening to a talk about the future of banking.

I was listening but must admit Twitter was my main focus at the time. I was waiting to see the ruling by the Supreme Court over the lawfulness of the government’s prorogation of parliament.

I was not alone. On stage the adjudicator broke the conversation on stage briefly to announce to the audience the astounding ruling where all 11 Supreme Court judges ruled that the Prime Minister had unlawfully prorogued parliament, and them ordered it null and void.

After a moments hesitancy as people looked over their shoulders to ensure they were not going to embarrass themselves by being the first to clap, a round of applause and a bit of a cheer, broke out.

So a room full of bankers and tech entrepreneurs clapped and cheered at news that a Conservative government had lost.

But it might not just be the only loss for the Tory government. It might be losing the backing of business and financial serviced businesses at that. Party of business? Humbug. More like party of their business.

The audience reaction suggested that the current uncertainty around the UK leaving the EU is more desirable than a government that tries to stifle the sovereignty of parliament and the voices of people and businesses along with it and push for a no deal.

I have already written about what the tech industry in financial services think of Brexit. I haven’t spoken to one fintech or tech worker that thinks it is a good idea. In fact they all think it is a very bad idea. And at least from the reaction of the audience at SIBOS it seems this view is shared by bankers.

A survey recently carried out by fintech trade organisation Innovate Finance found that 78% of UK fintech companies are inadequately prepared for the ramifications of a no-deal Brexit, and 45% don’t feel prepared if there is a transition period, according to a recent survey.

So Brexit cancellation or delay is what they want. If they don’t get it the UK is set to lose hundreds of businesses. The research, which was published this month, found that 17% of respondents are considering moving to a different jurisdiction as a result of Brexit.

The main concerns were around passporting rights, which currently allow EU banks to serve customers across the trading block, cross-border transactions and access to talent.


September 26, 2019  11:33 AM

All bank staff will have to understand APIs as the industry transforms

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

As a non tech expert writing about Enterprise IT, with a focus on financial services, I always try to break things down into easy to understand concepts, otherwise I can’t write about them.

A good guide for journalists when  writing something is that they should do so as if you were telling your mate in the pub. I find this works really well, but in the tech sector you rarely things described in a simple way. This is often because either the tech experts behind the technology struggle to explain stuff to the layman, or the marketing department filter adds a bit more confusion because they don’t really understand it.

But if you work in a bank and don’t for example understand what the acronym API stands for you need to start asking questions.

I was at SIBOS this week and among the usual platitudes about how digital is transforming banking were some that I had never thought of before. One of these points was that all bank staff in the future will need to understand what Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are.

I must admit it took me a while to get my head around it because initially the explanations were far too technical. The word programming is usually enough to confuse me. I also heard at SIBOS that when some fintechs have contacted banks about APIs, the people in the call centres didn’t know what they were talking about.

But as banks transform digitally they will increasingly have to enable financial services apps from third party suppliers to interact with their systems. To do this APIs are needed, otherwise it takes ages and costs a lot to plug systems together. In the past when the banking industry changed slowly it didn’t matter that it took a while to connect systems, but in today’s environment change is happening quickly and banks don’t have the time or resources to keep up using techniques of the past.

I asked a few experts at SIBOS to describe APIs in a couple of sentences. Here are a couple of examples:

Hans Tesselaar, executive director banking industry architecture network at banking industry technology group BIAN.

“An API is a standardised way to interact with either the inside or outside world.”

But here is one for the layman from a tech executive at a major software supplier. “Lego has an API at the top that connects it to other lego. My lego from 30 years ago fits into the lego my kids use today.”

I like the lego one. Do you have any good descriptions of APIs? If so please put them in the comments box.


September 19, 2019  9:17 AM

Going online for a SIBOS press pass was harder than applying for a bank account

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

The ease of use of mobile services such as mobile banking are making me lazy and perhaps not as focused as I should be when it comes do doing stuff online.

This week is a great example. I went on the SIBOS website to sign up for a press pass for the upcoming SIBOS 2019 in London’s ExCeL.

Probably my fault but I didn’t get very far. Enter password, click on email link, fill in loads of details, “oops only numbers in the telephone number box.” Try again “oops only numbers in the telephone number box.” I could go into more details had if I could remember but it is safe to say it got messy and I ended up having my account, which somehow managed to be set up, locked.

So I went for the tried and tested press office route to sort it out, which did the trick.

But this got me thinking why was it easier to open a current account with a challenger bank than it was to get a press pass for SIBOS online? I did open an account with one of the challengers and I have to say it was very easy through a mobile phone. Similarly opening new accounts on the mobile app of my existing bank is a doddle.

It is all about identity and how much information about yourself you are willing to share in return for easier to use services If an app has all you details and you have approved it, using it becomes easy and secure with the right authentication. It is only when the service doesn’t know you that things become more difficult, with more to do for the user. A digital identity or digital passport will make things easier. I imagine if SIBOS already had all my details it would have been simple.

Anyway the experience made me change my views on Bank branches. I always thought we don’t need them anymore but maybe we do. If an online automated experience doesn’t live up to expectations customers need a fall back option, particularly when it comes to money, and for many that will be the branch.

SIBOS will be held from 23-26 September at ExCel London. Here is the action packed programme which is easy to navigate.


September 17, 2019  2:33 PM

Fintech Bud cuts 20% of workforce

KarlFl40 Profile: KarlFl40

The fintech company behind HSBC’s open banking features has cut 20% of its workforce of about 100 as it strives to recruit different types of people.

Fintech Bud said the cuts are part of a process of refocusing its business. Mainly support staff will be reduced with continued investment in software engineers as if concentrates on developing open banking capabilities for its financial services customers.

The company, which is based in Old Street London, started life in 2016 as a B2C platform to help people improve their financial well-being, before moving into banking with a platform that allows banks to harnesses open banking.

This year received $20m Series it received funding from HSBC, Goldman Sachs, ANZ and Investec amongst others.

According to a statement from Bud its priorities have changed as a result of growth. “This results in a need to reconfigure businesses from time to time. In our case we need to focus on the core areas of the business that will help the company progress to the next stage of growth and become the market leading provider of open banking technology.

“We have made some changes to our company structure, primarily in the support functions of the business designed to ensure we can focus on the task at hand. We are continuing to hire in key areas where are to bolstering our proposition.” According to a report in The Telegraph fintech Bud continues to hire engineers

Bud’s flagship customer is HSBC. Bud worked with HSBC to develop a money management app, called artha, to help customers of First Direct, understand their spending from different providers through a single login. It also analysed their behaviour and make recommendations. This was later turned off with the best features integrated into the bank’s mobile app.

When I interviewed George Dunning, Bud’s CTO and a co-founder, at the beginning of this year the company had 70 staff, but he said this would double over the year.

The employees that were cut were mainly in Bud’s marketing department.

The advantage that fintechs have over banks is the fact they are small and agile and can change focus when required.

CEO Ed Maslaveckas  told The Telegraph that part of being an agile tech business is that you can respond quickly to changes in the market.

“We’re adapting our strategy to focus 100% on delivering value to business customers and that means we need a different group of people to deliver it. For example, the strategy also means we’re hiring more in our sales and development teams.”

 

 


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