Fintech Awards LatAm Conference
Strands is one of the official sponsors of the FinTech Awards in one of Latin America’s most populated and mobile-forward cities, São Paulo. Leandro Gimeno and Marcos Paulucci based in our Buenos Aires and Miami offices represented Strands in the Brazilian metropolis on April 25th and 26th, demonstrating that Latin America is a vital piece of the FinTech puzzle and one that is taking huge strides in innovation and mobile banking solutions.
This conference is centered around finding the best financial solutions in the region, awarding those companies who propose ideas that will disrupt the market and add value to the end-user.
This offers a huge opportunity to FinTech companies to expand their business, pitching to experts, VCs and mentors from within this sector, with a focus on 5 main pillars: User Experience, Financial Inclusion, Traction, Business Model and Disruption.
Prizes include 2 years BizSpark Plus and US$120,000 in credit from Microsoft, Entry to Blockchain Academy, Presentation of Fintechs in the award ceremony and US$8,875 in marketing shares at Cantarino Brasileiro.
Faced with the need to differentiate their business proposition amid huge competition, Swiss bank PostFinance has partnered with Strands to create their e-Cockpit Personal Financial Management (PFM).
With greater demand from customers to digitalize and simplify their banking, banks have been obliged to rethink their offering, with a view to creating an edge over the others. In Switzerland, despite the presence of large global banks, PostFinance is one of the leading financial institutions and the number one in terms of financial transactions. It has gone a long way to leaving a firm footprint in terms of digital money management.
PostFinance customers particularly value the organizational aspects of their digital banking service. Oliver Hold, Product Manager for Digital Banking in Berne, says their goal is clear:
“We at PostFinance focus heavily on user experience and putting “joy” into banking. Our online customers seem to find our tools such as transaction categorization, analysis and budgeting towards a specific saving goal especially enjoyable, as it gives them back a sense of control over their finances”
E-Cockpit provides an overview of the user’s finances and the option of viewing all PostFinance bank accounts on one easy-to- use dashboard, the aim being “simple money handling” and an optimized user experience. As a state-owned bank, PostFinance has the added benefit of being accessible to all its clients, including those with disabilities.
They cater to the needs of a wider population, and as such, demonstrate their vocation to serve the public, both through their range of services and their implication on a social level. For PostFinance the future holds great things; with their current banking solutions and others in the pipeline, they will undoubtedly be at the forefront of banking innovation in the Swiss market.
PostFinance, founded in 1906, is one of Switzerland’s leading financial institutions, and is the financial services unit of Swiss Post. It is the fifth largest retail financial institution in Switzerland and handles most of the country’s financial transactions.
Strands is the FinTech partner for banks. With the mission of delivering the very best in digital money management software (PFM, BFM), Strands leverages more than 10 years’ expertise in Big Data and machine learning. Today, Strands powers FinTech innovation in over 450 banks and serves more than 100 million banking customers worldwide.
It was back to the United Arab Emirates for Strands this month for the 12th edition of the Middle East Retail Banking Confex, held in Dubai’s Le Meridien hotel on April 4th and 5th.
General Manager Pau Velando was in Abu Dhabi just last March for the Meftech conference, and returned to its neighboring city to represent Strands as FinTech partner, heading up one of the quick-fire sessions regarding BFM solutions for SMEs, and how to accelerate their growth on the opening day with a Q&A to follow.
Other companies attending the event included Facebook, Tata Consultancy, Deloitte and Temenos to name but a few.
Kenya’s most innovative bank launches mobile-first Digital Banking Service incorporating Strands PFM
Commercial Bank of Africa Limited (“CBA”), Kenya’s largest privately owned Bank, has recently launched the region’s first Digital Banking Service, CBA Loop, which incorporates Personal Financial Management (PFM) solution, in collaboration with Strands. CBA, has presence across several countries in Eastern Africa including Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda and has plans to expand its footprint to other suitable markets in Africa including Ivory Coast and Nigeria. This will mark the first end-to- end full digital banking proposition in Eastern Africa and has sparked the attention of The Economist and the IFC SME Finance Forum.
With innovation firmly at the top of their agenda as a means to grow exponentially in the coming years, CBA Loop currently incorporates PFM and is expected to include BFM (tailored to SMEs) solutions will go a long way to addressing the needs of an increasingly mobile country with the youngest population in the world. The young age of the general populace will place extra pressure on banks to be relevant and responsive, and more so in Africa, where entrepreneurial ventures are on the rise within this age group. CBA Loop targets millennials and tech-savvy customers and is marketed using the tagline ‘UnbankYourself’.
CEO of Strands Erik Brieva says:
“Africa is a blank canvas in terms of digital banking and CBA is leading the way, making them one of the world’s biggest players in PFM. They haven’t cut any corners in getting to this stage and Africa is far from being behind the times in the financial arena”
African banking is extremely competitive, and the need to offer customers more than the traditional bank account is key to their success and in helping them to achieve a unique edge in the market. Some 50% of people in Africa do not have access to a branch of their bank, but a huge 80% have a mobile phone, making the move into Digital Banking Services a logical one that is more necessary than ever. As an emerging market and one of the fastest-growing continents, the need to understand how customers manage their money is ever greater; the focus is on getting it right now to face this imminent growth head on, with the right solutions for their customers. CBA forms part of the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI), whose goal is to integrate sustainability into core business, resulting in financial and social inclusion for the underbanked in Africa.
“CBA was keen to present our customers with account information in a format that aids the understanding of how money moves into and out of the customer’s accounts. Beyond listing of transactions, customers needed to have context on why (purpose), when (timing), how often (frequency), up to how much (scale), etc. This context is important to put meaning to these cash flows and help the customer make informed decisions on where, when and how to save, invest and/or borrow. This approach is relevant to both individuals and enterprises, that seek more from their banking partner.
Strands is a key technology partner to CBA’s customer value proposition. The Strands PFM tools met our requirements for versatile and visually appropriate tools that could be integrated easily onto our technical architecture and product roadmap. The Strands team executed the PFM project with speed, which is dividend accrued from the maturity of their product and processes.” Eric Muriuki Njagi, CBA’s Manager of New Business Ventures
This digital banking experience with integrated PFM solution provides insights that hitherto had not existed. The new CBA Loop Banking Service incorporates intuitive money management tools, enabling customers to track, plan and analyse their income against expenditure on a regular basis and providing financial education combined with a community widget that addresses the social aspect of banking in this region. “It will also make it easier for customers to plan for and finance their personal goals and other aspirations for a given period,” said Eric Muriuki, CBA General Manager, New Business Ventures.
The African banking system and its specific circumstances, have driven the need for a non-traditional approach to data acquisition, allowing for all the nuances and particularities of the region, something that PFM and BFM are able to provide as part of their long-term strategy.
Strands as a long-term partner, not simply a solutions provider, affords banks like CBA, who have long been at the forefront of banking innovation in Africa, the tools to offer their customers a holistic banking service, a financial education and a more than valid reason to choose them over the competition.
From left to right: Martin Mugambi, CBA Group Executive Director; Eric Muriuki, CBA GM New Business Ventures; Isaac Awuondo CBA Group Managing Director; Jordi Teixidó, Strands Operations Director
Commercial Bank of Africa
Established in 1962, Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd (CBA) is the largest privately owned bank in East Africa with operations in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania. The bank target customers include Corporates, Institutions, SME’s and the quality end of the Personal Banking market, offering a wide variety of conventional and digital banking products that are both tailored to local needs and inspired by global innovation. With its unprecedented mobile savings and loans service, the bank also serves 26 million mobile savings & loans customers, in East Africa, in partnership with mobile money operators.
Strands is the FinTech partner for banks. With the mission of delivering the very best in digital money management software (PFM, BFM), Strands leverages more than 10 years’ expertise in Big Data and machine learning. Today, Strands powers FinTech innovation in over 450 banks and serves more than100 million banking customers worldwide.
As the biggest and most prestigious event in the Middle East and North African region, this exhibition is the one to be seen at if you are anyone in the world of finance and FinTech. Held in Abu Dhabi on March 13 th and 14 th, and supported by the country’s government, the event offers an exhibition space for financial institutions and the so-called Matchi FinTech Pavilion – sponsored by the FinTech solutions provider Matchi – where speakers included the likes of Chris Skinner of The Finanser, Jim Marous of Digital Banking Report and our very own Pau Velando and Marc Torrens from Strands, to name but a few.
Pau on the benefits of attending exhibitions of this kind:
“There are more and more events appearing all the time as the FinTech sector grows, but for us there are a handful that are key, like MEFTECH in Abu Dhabi, that give us an opportunity to engage in innovative debate with the movers and shakers in this industry, share knowledge and keep abreast of tendencies around the world”.
This year claims to be their ‘best-ever line up’, with more international players and the biggest names in finance, stating that 95% of the Middle East spend on financial technology is controlled by delegates at MEFTECH, equating to over US$13 billion per annum.
Take a look at the MEFTECH website for more information on this year’s participants and the topics discussed over the two-day event.