What do mid-tier and boutique banks need in order to enhance their ability to onboard new customers quickly and efficiently? What solutions are available to enable them to remain compliant with an ever-changing set of regulations while at the same time keeping up with even faster changes in customer expectations? And how has the global health pandemic made these challenges all the more complicated for financial institutions of all sizes?
We caught up with James Follette, Head of North American Sales and Global Head of Commercial, Business, and Retail Banking with Fenergo. A Finovate alum since 2012, the Dublin, Ireland-based company specializes digital transformation, customer journey, and client lifecycle management (CLM) solutions for banks and other financial institutions.
Finovate: Fenergo secured a major investment earlier this year – the largest in the company’s history, I believe. What was the significance of this fundraising in terms of helping Fenergo reach its goals for 2020 and beyond?
James Follette: Fenergo received $80 million in funding from DXC Technology and our client, ABN AMRO at a valuation of just under $1 billion, so it was of huge significance for the business. Both firms’ pedigrees, deep experience and industry knowledge made them the ideal investment partners for Fenergo. Apart from the continuous enhancement of our product, the funding will go towards recruitment and growth initiatives.
Finovate: The company just released a cloud-based version of its CLM solution, Fen-Xcelerate. What does the technology do? Who does it do it for? And why make the solution available now?
Follette: Fen-Xcelerate is a lower cost, cloud-based SaaS version of Fenergo’s client lifecycle and journey management (CLM) solution. It is tailored specifically to mid-tier, community and boutique commercial, business and retail banks seeking to accelerate digital transformation, so they can offer digital services and open accounts remotely.
Fenergo launched Fen-Xcelerate in response to a growing demand amongst mid-tier and boutique banks for a digitally enabled CLM solution that could be up and running in weeks. This cohort of banks, heavily reliant on manual processes for onboarding and compliance, were also looking for an off-the-shelf solution that was plugged into Customer Relationship Management (CRM), data and screening providers such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Refinitiv and RDC, at a price point more suited to their budgets. Fen-Xcelerate addresses these challenges, enabling banks to more readily step up and support businesses and the community in their hour of need.
Finovate: What is required on the bank’s part in terms of deployment and integration? How much work and how much time is involved?
Follette: With minimum customization, Fen-Xcelerate can be deployed in six to twelve weeks. It removes the need for banks to spend time and resources plugging into services such as Salesforce, RDC and World-Check One. As a result, banks can very quickly switch to a digital onboarding and client journey management model, while performing client due diligence (CDD) for KYC and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance, digitally and seamlessly. Deployment will typically be carried out by Fenergo’s professional services team.
Finovate: The combination of rapid technological advancement, accelerating customer expectations, and ever-changing regulatory obligations can create a challenging environment for mid-tier business and retail banks. How does Fenergo, both specifically with Fen-Xcelerate and more generally, help these FIs successfully navigate this territory?
Follette: Many mid-tier commercial, business and retail banks lack the wholistic solution required to offer digital services and open accounts remotely, while being able to meet regulatory obligations and detect financial crime. With Fen-Xcelerate, mid-tier and boutique banks can benefit from Fenergo’s deep financial services heritage and best-in-class CRM, data, screening and identity and verification (ID&V) integrations in one solution. Validated by the industry, Fen-Xcelerate can be quickly deployed to digitalize account opening while delivering a seamless customer experience and regulatory compliance across 100+ jurisdictions and offering access to Fenergo’s community of global banks and regulators. By leveraging Fen-Xcelerate, the goal posts for digitalization within these banks could move from months to just weeks.
Finovate: This territory has become all the more complicated with the global public health crisis – and the economic consequences of fighting it. What has Fenergo done to help its customers and partners manage this challenge specifically?
Follette: Our community of clients, partners, regulatory and financial services experts means that we are very tuned in to the needs of the industry. We are continuously enhancing our solution according to the rapidly evolving technology and regulatory needs of financial institutions – and today is no different. Many of our clients have had to pivot to a remote account opening model overnight, this is why we brought forward the launch of Fen-Xcelerate. Banks need to be up and running with a client onboarding and journey management solution very quickly, so that they can provide support to their customers when they need it most.
Finovate: This year Fenergo has introduced its remote account opening solution, partnered with the likes of IBM, PwC, and Aviva, and of course, released Fen-Xcelerate. What can we expect to see from Fenergo in the second half of 2020?
Follette: We are experiencing very high demand and have signed 16 new clients since the beginning of the year. The second half of the year will be spent doubling down on supporting our clients in their digital transformation journeys, as they navigate uncertain territory.