SMEs have been historically underserved by financial services providers, but that’s starting to change as both FinTechs and financial institutions continue to roll out SME-targeted services.
“Despite the emergence of digital disruptors in the banking sector, banks have a unique opportunity to leverage their long-established relationships with SMEs, though they need to act quickly.”
In the report, Business Insider analyses the areas in which banks have failed SMEs when it comes to financial services provision — including credit, digital business services, and bank accounts — and give examples of where FinTechs have successfully filled the gaps.
It also provides examples of financial institutions that have introduced new SME products, and their verdict on which type of supplier dominates each area of the market for SME-focused financial services solutions.
“Solutions like Strands BFM can potentially increase SMEs loyalty to their banks, so more would be wise to roll out financial services.”
Strands, a leading provider of business financial management technology, developed a SME banking solution designed to offer the bank’s business clients an intuitive, value-added product that is implemented seamlessly into their online banking portal.
Strands vision is to empower people in life and business, helping them make financial decisions in a smarter, transparent and more-independent way. So, it made absolute sense to showcase our digital money management solutions and extensive expertise in FinTech space at Latin America’s largest and most important innovation platform: Digital Bank LatAm.
Our LatAm Sales Director and expert in all things Digital Transformation, Pablo Gutierrez, talked about a new generation of SME banking, in particular relating to how can banks help small-and-medium enterprises to:
It is an honor for us at Strands to be included in the prestigious Temenos MarketPlace, a financial technology ecosystem comprised of banks, FinTech firms and accelerators working on groundbreaking financial technology.
Strands’ PFM is an award-winning personal finance application that drives engagement between account holders and financial institutions. A tool that takes the uncertainty out of money management and allows a 360º vision of all bank accounts, aggregating the user’s entire financial picture on one, easy-to-use platform.
An ecosystem for growth
By adding Strands to the Temenos MarketPlace, the platform is responding to customer demands in two ways. Ben Robinson, Chief Strategy Officer at Temenos and Head of MarketPlace, said: “Firstly, our customers ask us to find innovative FinTech solutions and integrate them with Temenos products. And secondly, they are increasingly asking us to provide not just complementary applications, but banking services they can offer to reach new customers and to increase wallet share with existing customers.”
Strands joins another 69 companies whose services are now available through the Temenos MarketPlace. See the full Temenos MarketPlace listing.
Strands is one of the official sponsors of the FinTech Festival in one of Asia’s most populated and innovation-forward cities, Singapore.
Gerald Lee, Eunice Wong and Antoni Chang, based in our Kuala Lumpur office, represented Strands in the financial metropolis between November 12th and 14th, demonstrating that the Asian region is a vital piece of the FinTech puzzle and one that is taking huge strides in innovation and smart banking solutions.
Engaging Banking Customers On A New Level
As could be expected, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was one of the hottest topics in the event. Gerald Lee, Business Development Director APAC at Strands said that “many visitors queued up by Strands’ booth to learn more, not only about creating personalized, AI-powered digital banking experiences for users, but also about helping financial institutions achieve a better business outcome”.
One of Strands most popular solutions, drawing in the crowds at this event, was Personal Financial Management (PFM). This application drives engagement between account holders and financial institutions, allowing their users to achieve a 360º, highly-categorized view of transactions, actionable notifications, and a helping hand when they need it most.
Strands at the world’s largest FinTech festival
The third edition of the Singapore Fintech Festival drew close to 45,000 participants from almost 130 countries. This year, the event featured a series of other exciting exhibitors regarding Payments, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, Regulators, Innovation Labs and Open API.
AI is not just something for financial institutions to take on, but it’s also increasingly essential, and affordable, for SMEs themselves. Luis Rodriguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, shared insights on how to effectively bring AI into small businesses.
Luis Rodriguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, participating in the “AI in Banking” panel.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the acronyms “AI” and “ML” used when referring to the digital transformation of all industries in the last few years, and SMEs and the financial sector are no exception.
Last week, the Global SME Finance Forum hosted a panel exclusively devoted to addressing this topic: how AI in banking can help small business unleash their full potential. Luis Rodríguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, took part in the discussion and shared the common applications of AI and ML in the digital money management space.
“Banks can be a great vehicle to insert AI systems in their SME banking. They have a great opportunity to leverage this technology to help SMEs not just with lending but also with growth by offering added-value services.” — Luis Rodríguez
The technology is there. AI and ML can provide autonomous, precise and relevant financial advisory to a bank’s business customers so that they can make better, more informed, decisions about their companies. The key is to narrow down the SMEs pain points and identify the availability of data upon which the system can learn and infer the next best action. In other words:
“The first and most important starting point of any AI application is a good segmentation strategy, then define the classification and prediction algorithms to provide a clear understanding of the past, where is the SME coming from and its context.” — Luis Rodríguez
Use cases for AI in the financial sector
Banking industry players are already taking advantage of what AI has to offer. Most common use cases for AI in the financial sector include fraud detection, sentiment analysis, product recommendations, and customer service.
In this sense, Ambassador of Revolut for Spain, Matthew Gladstone, revealed:
“AI is actually helping Revolut optimize the customer service team. 30% of their user queries are solved by “Rita”, an AI-powered chatbot.” — Matthew Gladstone
Leandro Guerra, Data Science Manager at Experian EMEA, enhanced the value of “platforming”.
“Banks have the unique chance to become the go-to platform for SMEs, the provider for small and medium businesses that solve most of their needs.” — Leandro Guerra
That starts with customer experience, so the next question to be answered is: how can banks offer the best experience?
David del Ser, Director at BFA AI Studio, stated that ML solutions set the scenario for smart interactions between banks and SMEs.
“The guy at the corner shop doesn’t want to hear about robots, but would love to hear about his potential clients. It’s not about ‘machines taking over’, but rather leveraging their value when dealing with data.” — David del Ser
The panel was followed by a Q&A session, where the attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the application of AI in SME banking, and how FinTech partnerships can fuel SMEs growth and performance.
Strands Recognized With the “Member Engagement Award”
Global SME Finance Forum has become a must-attend annual conference. This year, Strands was awarded the “Member Engagement Award” by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum.
Strands Recognized With the “Member Engagement Award”
A record 600 attendees from more than 275 institutions in 80 countries attended the forum, which facilitated good conversations around SME finance acceleration and provided quality networking to help banks and FinTech firms foster innovation, drive transformation, and promote the growth of the business customers.