FSI Member Spotlight, Episode #2: How Banks Partner with Fintechs to Innovate
Our Senior Director of Innovation, Lance Vaughn, recently met with Wayne Brown to explore the topic of bank-fintech partnerships. Wayne Brown, Managing Partner of The Walker Group and Co-Founder of BFSITechTalks, has over three decades of experience in financial services and technology. Wayne brings a wealth of knowledge in product management, having served for six years as Product Manager for Mastercard. Product management is key to aligning business needs with user needs and technological requirements — a landscape Wayne is highly adept at navigating.
In this FSI Spotlight Interview, Lance and Wayne get to the heart of what it takes to facilitate strategic bank-fintech partnerships: identifying synergies and untapped opportunities across market segments. This ability to view the market with a fresh perspective is key to advising fintechs on making strategic decisions. Wayne brings up a particularly cogent example — a fintech he recently advised in the payment automation space. The fintech provides payment processing software for companies to sell to their suppliers. With this type of one-to-one relationship, it’s imperative to build a network of more suppliers and increased connectivity points. The solution? Bring their product to multiple banks, allowing it to be resold to the banks’ pre-existing corporate clients, who can then increase the network of suppliers. This work really comes down to relationship-building, which won’t occur without a firm foundation of trust and an aligned vision for the future.
Wayne is all too familiar with the challenges inherent to this relationship-building process; fintechs need to go the extra mile in order to build trust and appeal to the banks they hope to partner with. Collaborating with someone like Wayne who has a background in financial services is one way to ensure that these challenges can be overcome. Wayne ‘grew up’ in transaction banking and has worked to some degree with payment processing companies for most of his career. Financial services and vendors have plenty of common ground when it comes to navigating a highly regulated environment. This common ground can be leveraged to create solutions that appeal to both sides — once a certain degree of understanding is reached. For Wayne, this understanding comes down to two points. First, fintechs simply need some guidance when it comes to regulations. Second, banks make their decisions by involving multiple stakeholders. This impacts the process of proposing and, ideally, successfully implementing a new product or partnership within a traditional financial services organization. Wayne mediates this process by helping fintechs craft their messaging, facilitating meetings between various stakeholders, making space for multiple voices to be heard, and ultimately, providing value to the bank.
Encouragingly, many banks are intimately familiar with the fintech landscape and have pursued partnerships to varying degrees of success. The financial services world looks a lot different than it did ten years ago. But that world is also getting noisier. Financial services are frequently bombarded with messaging from fintechs. How do we enable fintechs to stand out in that sea of noise? By advising on the products and messaging fintechs put out, Wayne is able to foster more meaningful conversations around partnership — creating a strong value proposition for both fintechs and financial institutions.
- Building a strong network of connectivity points is key to uncovering untapped market opportunities. For example: one-to-one style relationships (such as in the payment automation space) transform when vendors partner with banks, who are then enabled to resell the product to pre-existing corporate clients and expand their network of suppliers.
- Wayne sees two main challenges to helping fintechs appeal to financial services: overcoming the regulatory barriers and acknowledging the many stakeholders involved in making product/partnership decisions at banks.
- Financial services and fintechs both stand to benefit when fintechs have strong guidance on how to communicate with financial institutions. Considerate messaging and a willingness to both educate and be educated helps fintechs stand out in a sea of noise.
FSI is an exclusive community for financial services executives and digital product leaders who are looking to deepen their understanding of relevant innovation and emerging trends. What you can expect to get as a member of FSI:
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