Fintech Rundown: A Rapid Review of Weekly News

Fintech Rundown: A Rapid Review of Weekly News

The week begins as banks, fintechs, and financial services companies alike work to recover from Friday’s historic IT outage.

Be sure to check back throughout the week as we continue to track the latest in fintech news and announcements.


Cybersecurity

BBVA inks agreement with Telefónica Tech; opens international cybersecurity center in Mexico.

Galileo Financial Technologies adds 3D Secure to bolster online fraud protection.

Identity verification

IDenfy launches automated bill verification tool for utilities.

Veriff enhances biometric authentication solution to prevent account takeover fraud.

Payments

ACI Worldwide extends its strategic partnership with Worldpay.

Payment processor and ledger infrastructure provider Episode Six announces that its issuer payment solution is now available on the AWS Marketplace.

Mobile payment solutions provider Boku introduces new Chief Financial Officer Rob Whittick.

Pay-by-Bank solutions company Aeropay launches its proprietary bank aggregator, Aerosync.

Accounting

Legaltech Clio unveils Clio Accounting, the latest addition to its suite of fintech offerings for legal professionals.

Investing and wealth management

Franklin Templeton partners with investment management, accounting, reporting, and analytics provider Clearwater Analytics.

Data management and operations technology provider Arcesium unveils its investment lifecycle management platform, Opterra.

AI and innovation wealth platform TIFIN announces international expansion to India and strategic investment from DSP Group.

Credit unions

Black Hills Federal Credit Union ($2.3 billion in assets) teams up with NCR Atleos’ ATM-as-a-Service and ITM-as-a-Service offerings.

Small business

AI-powered spend management platform Brex introduces new Chief Compliance Officer Sibongile Ngako.

Digital banking

Rabobank selects Zafin to power digital transformation efforts.


Photo by Markus Spiske

Glia Brings Interactive Technology to NCR Voyix’s Mobile Solution

Glia Brings Interactive Technology to NCR Voyix’s Mobile Solution
  • NCR Voyix has teamed up with customer interactive technology company Glia.
  • Glia will integrate its unified interaction capabilities into the mobile version of NCR Voyix’s digital banking platform.
  • Glia has won Finovate’s Best of Show award 10 times, including in the company’s debut (as SaleMove) at FinovateFall 2015.

NCR Voyix’s mobile banking app just got a lot more interactive.

Courtesy of a partnership with Glia, NCR Voyix will enhance the mobile version of its Digital Banking platform with unified interaction capabilities. Glia’s ChannelLess Architecture enables seamless transitions between multiple interaction channels: from phone calls and digital messaging to chatbots, video chats, and SMS. Now a part of NCR Voyix’s mobile solution, the technology will help banks and credit unions boost customer and member engagement and loyalty.

Glia Chief Product Officer Jay Choi talked about the importance of the mobile channel for a younger, generation of financial services customers. “Forcing customers to exit the mobile app experience to receive guidance or support results in inefficiencies, delays in resolutions, and frustration for all involved,” Choi explained. “With the integration of our digital-first tools into the NCR Voyix mobile app, we are empowering banks and credit unions to overcome this challenge, instead providing instant, personalized and seamless engagement where customers and members already are.”

Among the FIs to deploy the technology are Texas-based 5 Point Credit Union, which has credited Glia’s solution for increasing staff efficiency, simplifying processes, and reducing fraud. The credit union also underscored how the technology enhanced its ability to communicate and engage with its members, improving in-app support.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York, Glia won Best of Show in its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2015 (as SaleMove). The company has gone on to win a total of 10 Finovate Best of Show awards, including in its most recent appearance on Finovate’s digital stage in 2021.

Last month, Glia unveiled its responsible AI platform purpose-built for financial services companies called Glia Cortex. The technology provides personalized self-service experiences at scale, helps agents become more productive, and gives managers new insights into agent/customer interactions. Among the solution’s early adopters is Service 1st Federal Credit Union, a Danville, Pennsylvania-based institution founded in 1975.

NCR Voyix was formed in October 2023 when NCR Corporation split into two entities. The company’s ATM business was spun-off as NCR Atleos. NCR Voyix is the successor to NCR Corporation, which demoed its technology at FinovateSpring in 2016 and again in 2017.


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Fintech Rundown: A Rapid Review of Weekly News

Fintech Rundown: A Rapid Review of Weekly News

As part of the Eastern U.S. prepares to enjoy the total solar eclipse today, fintech enthusiasts can also eclipse the competition with the latest news and updates in the fintech world. Check back for real-time updates on how the fintech landscape evolves this week.

Payments

Business payments and financial platform Airwallex launches its Borderless Visa card in Canada.

Mexican BNPL provider Kueski introduces in-store mobile payment solution.

Urguayan fintech dLocal partners with payroll and payments platform Papaya Global.

International money movement company TerraPay secures Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

ClearBank achieves first full year of profitability.

TransferGo raises $10 million, doubling its valuation.

Kyriba and Onyx by J.P. Morgan (Onyx) leverage the blockchain to streamline cross-border payments.

Arizona Financial Credit Union (AZFCU) selects NCR Atleos’ ATM as a Service (ATMaaS) to increase operational efficiencies within the self-service banking channel.

The Clearing House’s RTP experienced a record 76 million transactions valued at $42 billion in the first quarter of this year.

Fraud and security

NICE Actimize introduces new integrated, AI-driven fraud management platform.

Passwordless authentication specialist 1Kosmos appoints Christine Owen as Field CTO.

Enterprise AI solution provider SymphonyAI unveils its SensaAI for Sanctions offering.

Oracle introduces new AI-powered cloud service to enhance AML compliance for banks.

Canadian Coast Guard awards contract to Zighra.

Sprinto raises $20 million for compliance management.

Data management

Gen II Fund Services launches Sensr DataBridge to help private equity sponsors access crucial fund data.

Lending

Florida’s Space Coast Credit Union (SCCU) expands its partnership with MeridianLink.

Worth AI taps Equifax to help improve underwriting and risk management for small businesses.

Banking

Navy Federal Credit Union forms 7-year strategic partnership with Backbase.

Insurtech

Insurtech company bolt introduces its new North American CFO Matt More.

American Family Life Insurance Company partners with Munich Re Automation Solutions for its automated underwriting and analytics solution.

Lemonade launches homeowners insurance in France.

Regtech and compliance

Corlytics receives investment from Verdane for its compliance technology.

Wealthtech

Investment research platform Tegus launches its AI chat tool, AskTegus.

Open banking

Open banking powered account-to-account payment infrastructure provider Token.io introduces new Chief Commercial Officer Ronnie d’Arienzo, new Chief Financial Officer Tatiana Okhotina, and new Chief Operations Officer Tim Corke.

Atto, a credit risk solutions provider based in the U.K., teams up with analytics software firm FICO to bring open banking data into U.K. credit scoring.


Photo by melissa mayes

Humanizing the Digital Experience: A Conversation with NCR Voyix’s Erin Wynn

Humanizing the Digital Experience: A Conversation with NCR Voyix’s Erin Wynn

We’re starting off our Women in Fintech series this year with a conversation with Erin Wynn. As Executive Director of Product Management at NCR Voyix, Wynn helps both community banks and credit unions form strategies to implement their digital transformation and product roadmap initiatives.

Wynn also works as a mentor and coach for the company’s internal pre-sales teams. In this role, she helps ensure that sales engineers, solution architects and business analysts are supporting NCR Digital Banking’s vision and solutions.

We caught up with Erin Wynn to talk about her own beginnings in fintech, as well as what she is learning from her customers and clients about the most important trends in our industry.

NCR Corporation changed its name to NCR Voyix in the fall of 2023 as the company spun-off its ATM-based business, known as NCR Atleos. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company has 35,000 employees globally, and trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “VYX.” NCR has been a Finovate alum since 2015.

How did you get started in fintech? What has led you to where you are today in your career?

Erin Wynn: I began my career in 1998, working at a bank, where I got my first taste of fintech. I worked so closely with one of our vendors, Digital Insight, that I even went to work for them for a few years before a different opportunity presented itself. In the long run, however, I knew Digital Insight was my home, and I returned to them in 2012. Digital Insight was acquired by NCR Voyix’s Digital Banking platform in 2014, but has managed to keep the familial relationship that drew me back here.

My dedication to being a lifelong learner has led me to amazing opportunities, holding various positions within NCR Voyix. I look at every experience as a chance to be curious and learn something new. Whether it be from a client, a colleague, or a partner, I believe everyone has something valuable to share and learn from.

My passion and deep understanding for how our products work and helping financial institutions achieve success have been central to my growth. As the executive director of product management for Digital Banking at NCR Voyix, I lean into my banking experience to help community financial institutions develop strategies for implementing digital transformation and better support their consumers and communities. I empower them to help customers and members improve their financial wellness — a topic I’m especially enthusiastic about (and one that’s driven my career in banking!).

Which digital banking features and capabilities are most resonating with clients? What trends are top of mind for customers?

Wynn: A significant trend we’ve seen is centered around personalization, which really means reminding the consumer that you know and care about them; they’re not just another number. This means creating digital experiences that feel like they’re catered to each user. Financial institutions are realizing that they can’t just compete on low loan rates or high deposit rates. Even if that’s what got the consumer in the door, it won’t be what keeps them there. The financial institutions that emphasize building and maintaining relationships, as well as providing meaningful tools and support (such as financial wellness resources), will be better positioned for loyalty and success.

Another major trend I’ve seen is finding ways to increase overall efficiency. This can mean embracing more automation or researching ways to better maximize current staff and technology. Our clients, like most people, are looking for ways to simplify processes and quickly solve problems. For example, NCR Voyix can support marketing automation, an area of typically high turnover within institutions, helping banks and credit unions make every interaction count.

What has been the impact of AI on banks and credit unions and their accountholders? How should financial institutions begin to incorporate AI into their organizations?

Wynn: AI has notable potential. It can create personalized interactions with each consumer at scale and significantly increase efficiencies. AI can help institutions approach certain processes in different ways. For example, more institutions are using AI when it comes to lending decisions instead of solely relying on traditional factors.

However, when it comes to AI and, especially, generative AI, banks and credit unions should know that the technology is only as strong as the data and information behind it. There is a lot of work to train AI to make AI effective; it’s not a magic bullet. You must give it the right data and training to effectively work, while continuing to provide human oversight.

My advice for banks and credit unions who are considering how to use AI is to first ask themselves what they’re trying to accomplish. For example, is there more of a need to enhance back-office efficiencies? Or are they trying to offer different ways to support users? Don’t try to do everything all at once; it will be too much. Understand that it won’t be perfect from day one. You’re going to have to experiment and improve the AI along the way. 

What does it mean to effectively humanize digital experiences? How can banks and credit unions accomplish this?

Wynn: Effectively humanizing the digital experience means leading with empathy throughout the user experience on their phone or online. This could be something as simple as analyzing the language used in an error message. Evaluate everything with a person in mind; are you providing them with relevant information in a human way, making them feel comfortable and supported along the journey? Of course, personalization is also a major factor here, as well. Money and finances are extremely personal, and they need to be treated with care.

Data is a core factor when it comes to humanizing digital. Effectively leveraging data can uncover crucial consumer behaviors, channel preferences, transactional patterns, and key events in the consumer journey. Employing technologies like AI enables financial institutions to analyze this data more effectively, anticipating member behaviors and offering contextual assistance, such as tailoring their website content to specific needs.

Looking ahead, I expect banks and credit unions to prioritize looking for ways to incorporate more empathy and personalization within their platforms, which will drive relationships and loyalty with their consumers.

Are there any leadership tips that you would like to share with other strong females in a male dominated industry?

Wynn: It all comes down to confidence. Knowing your worth and intelligence goes a long way. Surround yourself with a strong group of women who lift you up and encourage you. When you start to see yourself the way others see you, you are more likely to take a risk in your career or feel more confident to speak up. Also, recognize what motivates and drives you, and know that it’s okay if those things change over time. Everyone constantly evolves in their journey, and you’re sure to learn something every step along the way.


Photo by Pixabay

NCR’s Evolution and What’s Next

NCR’s Evolution and What’s Next

The world of banking is ever-evolving, and NCR has been part of this evolution since it was founded in 1881.

To get some insight from a firm that has had a front-row seat to industry changes– and to get a glimpse of what’s next– we spoke with NCR Chief Product Officer Erica Pilon. She has spent more than 20 years in the fintech industry, having also spent time at FIS managing three unique digital banking platforms.

What products and technology are resonating with NCR’s 600+ institution clients?

Erica Pilon: Our clients are really responding to data enhancements, crypto, and self-service support. Consumers today expect all interactions to be hyper-personalized, which is impossible without real-time, reliable data. At NCR we are helping financial institutions personalize banking experiences for customers at scale through enriched data and analytics. For example, we recently announced that Allegacy Federal Credit Union has partnered with us and Google Cloud for our data warehousing and analytics solution to make data actionable, unlock predictive insights, and drive innovation and financial health.

Another service resonating with our clients is the ability to offer buy/sell/hold of bitcoin within digital banking as it drives opportunities to build relationships, increase data insights, and generate revenue. Our clients have also shown increased interest in and excitement around enhanced self-service offerings, such as the Kasisto intelligent digital assistant, which provides human-like digital customer support.

What trends are making the largest impact in fintech in the coming year?

Pilon: Community financial institutions no longer only compete with the institution down the block but also with nontraditional threats like neobanks, big techs, and fintech providers. There is a new sense of urgency for financial institutions to provide modern, convenient experiences with robust, innovative products and services to retain customer loyalty, trust, and market share.

Open banking is a massive trend that is transforming the fintech space; it’s creating an opportunity for banking as a service and giving smaller fintech players the ability to try and steal market share from traditional institutions. To compete, banks and credit unions must work with partners that will help them stay open while continuing to leverage the significant trust advantage they have with customers and members. This is another reason why personalizing the experience within digital channels is so important; it helps community financial institutions retain their differentiator and compete with emerging threats.

How is NCR preparing itself for web3?

Pilon: We recently acquired LibertyX, a leading cryptocurrency software provider, which lays the groundwork for us to deliver a complete digital currency solution to our customers. This includes the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency, conduct cross-border remittance, and accept digital currency payments across digital and physical channels.

NCR remains committed to delivering the agile software platform and services necessary for institutions to power flexible, efficient, and modern banking experiences across all customer touchpoints. Our platform is designed to help our clients quickly innovate and deliver new offerings to keep pace with emerging preferences and trends.

How has the recent consumer-first narrative changed how NCR develops its banking products?

Pilon: NCR continues to prioritize consumer-first, mobile-first experiences in our technology solutions. Now, in a world with so much optionality, banks and credit unions must be able to offer a wide range of choices for how consumers can conduct their banking. This means robust self-service capabilities with strong support options like video chat, as well as sophisticated physical footprints.

The consumer-first narrative is another reason NCR is so focused on data; banking interactions today must be personalized, or customers will quickly go elsewhere. This doesn’t just mean knowing basic details like names and birthdays, it also means being able to provide meaningful advice and guidance related to things like financial health and wellness.

How has NCR evolved to serve bank clients in today’s digital-first era?

Pilon: We firmly believe that digital-first doesn’t mean digital-only, but rather digital everywhere. This is where NCR is uniquely differentiated in the market; we have the ability to offer sophisticated digital solutions for both physical and digital touchpoints, enhancing the customer experience and increasing efficiencies. For example, we can facilitate the ordering ahead of cash or coin for small businesses or starting an account opening process online and then finishing it in the branch. NCR bridges the gap between physical and digital touchpoints.

The pandemic only emphasized what NCR and our clients have known all along: the future is digital, and it’s time to adapt. NCR remains dedicated to providing the flexible, innovative, and efficient technology needed to power excellent banking experiences and strengthen credit unions and community banks’ competitive positions.


Photo by Supratik Deshmukh on Unsplash

Kuwait Issues Guidelines for Digital Banks; QR Codes Versus Cash in Argentina

Kuwait Issues Guidelines for Digital Banks; QR Codes Versus Cash in Argentina

According to a report from Medici, nearly 168 million people in the MENA region (Middle East and Northern Africa) do not have a bank account. In this environment, opportunities for both traditional financial institutions and new entrants are numerous. In some instances, financial services companies have launched their own digital banking portals in order to reach out beyond their current customer bases. In other cases, these firms have teamed up with challenger banks and innovative fintechs to help bridge the gap between the banked and the unbanked.

One of the challenges to reaching more potential customers in the MENA region has been regulatory, which makes this week’s news from the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) all the more notable. The CBK issued a set of guidelines for digital banks as part of a campaign to improve financial stability, encourage innovation, and help the country respond to its economic needs.

In drawing up its guidelines, the CBK relied on a study of the regulatory approaches taken by 25 central banks and 40 digital bank business models. The CBK noted that there were three main models for digital banking: as a unit within a traditional bank, a partnership between a bank and a digitally-based institution in which the bank manages core banking operations while the partnering institution manages customer relations and other operations, and as a standalone digital bank.

“The guidelines come in five parts covering the definition of digital banks, their legal framework, and licensed activities, as well as phases and procedures for establishment of digital banks,” CBK Governor Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel said. The new guidelines pave the way for interested parties to apply from now until June 30th. Initial approvals, according to the CBK governor, will be made by the end of the year.

For more on the digital banking landscape in the Middle East, with a particular focus on neobanks, check out this overview from Medici.


Speaking of central banks, the head of Argentina’s central bank, Miguel Ángel Pesce, recently gave an interview with the Buenos Aires Times. The main focus of the conversation was a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund to deal with the country’s $44.5 billion debt to the organization. The agreement, which includes a pledge to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit as well as other measures, comes after a two-year negotiation process and still requires the approval of both Argentina’s congress as well as the IMF board of directors.

Yet it was Pesce’s separate conversation with Buenos Aires reporter Jorge Fontevecchia – published this week – that may be of greater interest to followers of international fintech. In that interview, Pesce explained some of the more controversial policies of Argentina’s central bank toward fintechs, including deposit insurance requirements for payment service companies. Pesce defended the practice as a way of “making more independent the assets of companies lending out the assets deposited in them” and of assuring that companies that serve as financial intermediaries are regulated as such. Pesce acknowledged that while this policy has engendered “some resentment in the short term,” it is necessary to ensure a “solid system” that banking services customers can rely upon.

In terms of innovation, Pesce spoke positively about the launch and adoption of interoperable QR codes, which were made mandatory in Argentina for all electronic invoices starting in late December 2020. He noted that interoperable QR codes could do to physical cash what electronic checks have done to paper checks (“a very important step in this direction”). And while he offered no timetable on the transition, “it’s going to end up happening,” Pesce insisted.

Read the full interview at Buenos Aires Times


FinovateEurope 2022 is right around the corner. If you are an innovative fintech company with new technology to show, then there’s no better time than now and no better forum than FinovateEurope. To learn more about how to demo your latest innovation at FinovateEurope 2022 in London, March 22-23, visit our FinovateEurope hub today!


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Asia-Pacific

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia


Photo by Shahbaz Hussain Shah from Pexels

Women in Fintech: Creating Shared and Seamless Experiences with Mithu Bhargava of NCR

Women in Fintech: Creating Shared and Seamless Experiences with Mithu Bhargava of NCR

How are fintechs helping financial institutions make successful digital transformations? What is required in order for financial institutions to maximize the opportunities available from increasingly ubiquitous enabling technologies to better engage and serve their customers and members? What lessons can we draw from those banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers that have prioritized digital transformation over the past several months?

We checked in with Mithu Bhargava, Senior Vice President and General Manager for NCR’s Global Professional Services Organization to talk about the current pace of digitization in financial services, and what financial institutions are doing to meet their customers’ growing expectations for shared, seamless experiences.


What are the most significant changes NCR has seen in the banking landscape over the past year?  

Mithu Bhargava: The pandemic served as an impetus for banks to digitally transform. While the industry has been talking about digital-first banking for years, Covid-19 firmly accelerated this transformation. At NCR, we were prepared to manage the shift; we have been evolving toward a digital-first and self-directed banking approach for years. As a result, we were able to help banks and credit unions continue to serve their customers and keep operations running even while social distancing. Moving forward, we believe digital-first banking will be the route institutions must take to survive.

Over the past year, we’ve also noticed a growing customer demand for cryptocurrency, which is why NCR recently announced that we’ve entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LibertyX, a leading cryptocurrency software provider. We plan to offer the LibertyX capabilities as part of our solutions for banks, retailers and restaurants across both physical and digital touchpoints. This will ultimately provide a complete digital currency solution for our customers.

It’s time for financial institutions to leverage flexible, modern digital technologies to navigate changing business needs and demands. At NCR, we firmly believe that digital-first banking doesn’t just mean adopting new digital banking tools, a common misconception. Rather, digital-first banking is a shift in mindset; it requires re-imagining an institution’s holistic digital strategy to evolve alongside customer expectations, digitizing all aspects of the financial journey and connecting digital and physical experiences. Financial institutions that focus on creating these shared, seamless experiences are able to differentiate their brand and expand existing customer relationships while attracting new ones. 

Obviously digital experienced a significant uptick because of the pandemic – is that here to stay? What role will branches play in the future?  

Bhargava: Yes, we believe that this trend in digital channels will not be reversed; consumers that traditionally shied away from digital (for example, older generations) have now seen how easy and convenient it is. While the branch will always remain a critical touchpoint, the pandemic has forced the traditional branch model to evolve. Branches are elevating in terms of functionality and services offered. Expect to see more banks and credit unions approach the branch from an advisory perspective, serving as a place for customers and members to go for personal financial advice and complex services—not routine transactions. 

We also anticipate the rise of digital bank branches that leverage self-directed technologies like ITMs and ATMs. Such technologies provide convenience and speed to customers while creating efficiencies for the institutions, enabling them to cost effectively extend service hours. More banks and credit unions are expanding the ITM functionality offered, incorporating more video teller capabilities to maintain the human connection. There will be a shift in how institutions manage these machines, as well; more will transfer the burden of machine maintenance and updates to a trusted partner via the cloud. Such a hosting option makes the self-directed banking channel simpler by offering a better, digital-first customer experience while reducing the total cost and onus of ownership. Branches are evolving to build profitable relationships and long-term loyalty.  

What trends should bankers watch out for here in the second half of the year?  

Bhargava: Customers expect a fast and frictionless experience at every touchpoint, and they’ve proven they’re not afraid to walk away when those expectations aren’t met. Looking forward, there will be a continued (and accelerated) convergence of digital and physical channels. What have traditionally been channel-specific experiences are being made ubiquitous across the bank through software that can connect those experiences.

Self-directed banking will also continue to take off. This approach puts the customer in the driver’s seat, allowing them to decide how they would like to engage with their bank or credit union across all channels and touchpoints. The need for a customer to ever have to work in silos is eliminated, creating a seamless, connected experience. Self-directed banking empowers the customer with flexibility and choice and those banks who embrace the shift will be well positioned for success heading into 2022 and beyond.  

Everyone talks about digital transformation, but many still struggle to get it right. What are some key tips and strategies to make it work?  

Bhargava: I have three thoughts on this. First, too often, we see bankers jump on emerging technology trends versus really evaluating their current gaps and needs. The first key to digital transformation is to focus on your bank’s overall approach; don’t just pick a technology but pick a specific problem area to focus on. Those that leverage rationalization to determine which processes are ready to be digitized right now and which need to be reimagined entirely before digitizing will be best positioned to navigate digital transformation. Digitizing a flawed process typically just makes a cumbersome process faster.

Second, once your bank has the right mindset for digital transformation, it’s time to focus on the people. Engaging the right leadership team with the relevant skillsets will be a huge asset. Digital transformation should be something that’s embraced organization-wide, not just at the leadership level. Make sure to secure buy-in from stakeholders across the institution. In addition to leveraging appropriate people from within the organization, most banks and credit unions find significant value in partnering with technology providers where appropriate to extend reach and come to market better and faster.

Setting goals and clearly defining a realistic digital transformation roadmap from the onset will allow the institution to evaluate progress. Technology should be used to help effectively monitor and measure performance against goals to help keep everyone on track. User feedback should also be evaluated throughout when applicable, not just at the very end. Finally, it’s important to remember to keep it simple. Complexity on the institution’s end can result in friction for customers.

The competitive landscape continues to intensify and grow more complicated – how can community and regional FIs protect their market share?  

Bhargava: The embrace of digital-first banking quickly and completely will position banks and credit unions for success. Why? Digital-first banking creates new and exciting opportunities for traditional institutions who now find themselves up against a slew of emerging fintech companies adept at swiftly closing the widening gaps between yesterday’s and tomorrow’s consumer banking needs. And the world has changed. We will never be the same as we were before March 2020, at least when it comes to how consumers interact and connect with their service providers.

Personalization will also be critical moving forward. Those that continue to leverage marketing campaigns to the masses will quickly turn off customers. Instead, outreach should be intentional and tailored. Institutions have a wealth of data available to them, and it’s time to use it for insights to guide customers in making the smartest financial decisions.

Digital-first banking is all about merging digital and physical experiences to meet customers’ timely financial needs and making it simple to serve the customer across all channels and touchpoints—without breaking the back office. Those that can do this while leveraging their data to personalize engagements will be well equipped to protect their market share and relevance.


Photo by Vraj Shah from Pexels

NCR Acquires Terafina to Expand Digital Banking Platform

NCR Acquires Terafina to Expand Digital Banking Platform

Two weeks after announcing its purchase of Cardtronics, fintech hardware giant NCR is acquiring Terafina, a company known for its digital account opening and onboarding tools.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NCR will tap Terafina’s expertise to expand NCR’s sales and marketing capabilities in its Digital First Banking Platform. The offering, which can be tailored to fit institutions ranging in size from large banks to community banks and credit unions, provides an API-led approach to digital banking that can be hosted or deployed on-premise to help banks lower costs and speed up their innovation cycle.

Last year increased the urgency for financial services companies of all kinds to improve their digital customer experiences. Founded in 2014, Terafina suits this need. The company offers a software-as-a-service solution that offers digital onboarding tools and helps banks and credit unions synchronize their branch, call center, and digital operations to provide a consistent user experience across channels.

At FinovateSpring 2019, Terafina Founder and CEO Meheriar Hasan showcased the company’s digital sales platform that helps banks address the needs of their small business clients.

“Digital Banking is a key aspect of the NCR-as-a-Service strategy we laid out at Investor Day in December,” said NCR CEO Michael D. Hayford. “Terafina has been a partner of ours and is already up and running, integrated with our Digital Banking platform. We know this adds value for our clients by making digital account sales, marketing and onboarding easier, so they can provide a superior experience for customers.”

Today’s deal marks NCR’s 29th acquisition since it was founded in 1884. NCR’s purchase of Terafina fits with the company’s strategy to purchase early stage companies to boost its product capabilities and enhance its leadership.

NCR is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and counts 36,000 employees across the globe. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker NCR and has a market capitalization of $4.81 billion.



Photo by Peter Fazekas from Pexels

NCR Acquires Cardtronics in $2.5 Billion Deal

NCR Acquires Cardtronics in $2.5 Billion Deal

Cardtronics found itself at the center of a bidding war this past month, with NCR Corporation submitting the winning bid this week.

This comes after investment firms Apollo Global Management and Hudson Executive Capital initially agreed to buy the ATM operator last month. NCR agreed to a $2.5 billion deal, agreeing to purchase Cardtronics for $39 a share. This beat the bid from Apollo and Hudson, which totaled $2.3 billion at $35 per share. NCR was required to pay a termination fee of $32.6 million.

Cardronics CEO Edward H. West said that the deal is “a testament to the strength and value of Cardtronics, our talented team and customer base, and the complementary nature of our two businesses.”

NCR anticipates that Cardtronics’ Allpoint ATM network will complement its own payments platform and that combined they will connect retail and banking customers.

“This transaction accelerates the NCR-as-a-Service strategy we laid out at Investor Day in December, further shifts NCR’s revenue mix to software, services and recurring revenue, and adds value for our customers,” said NCR President and CEO Michael D. Hayford. “We have had a long-standing relationship with Cardtronics and its outstanding team… Simply put, we are better together.”

The deal, which has been approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors but is still subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2021. Once the deal is finalized, Cardtronics will become a privately held company.


Photo by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

Adapting to Make Payments from 6 Feet Away

Adapting to Make Payments from 6 Feet Away

NCR has been in the finance industry since 1884, so it’s seen a lot of changes in how consumers make payments and interact with their bank.

Adam Crighton

A lot of those changes have taken place in the past six months as the coronavirus has driven massive changes in consumer habits.

To get a sense of what the industry looks like from a company that makes not only software services but also self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, ATMs, barcode scanners, and more, we consulted Adam Crighton, Senior Vice President & General Manager at NCR Digital-First Self-Service Banking.

What changes in demand for contactless banking have you seen since the coronavirus hit?

Adam Crighton: Obviously at a time when bankers and tellers are unable to service customers face-to-face, digital experiences really have become a lifeline for many people. People are using digital banking to conduct transactions from home, they are connecting with tellers and branch staff through live digital chat sessions, and self-service capabilities like Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs).

With that heightened need for customers and businesses to connect remotely, some financial institutions may be feeling they have fallen behind in terms of digital delivery and digital transformation. The pandemic has not created this level of demand, but it is fair to say it has certainly accelerated it. We do see that many customers that prior to banking were not using digital banking are now much more inclined to try a digital app or self-service kiosk.

How has NCR adapted (or accelerated the scale of) its products and services to suit these new needs?

Crighton: From an NCR perspective our mission is to help our customers keep commerce running whether it’s banking, retail, or restaurants and to really stay connected with their customer base. Many of our customers that have invested in our digital banking solutions and ITMs over the last several years have told us that it has really been their go-to in terms of leveraging these technology platforms to compensate for things like branch closures, and generally more limited access to branches based on restrictions around the world.

Keeping their staff and customers safe is obviously something very top-of-mind at the moment while still trying to provide a high level of service that is convenient, intuitive, easy-to-use, and accessible on an extended basis. The digital and self-service channel has always been safe and trusted channel from a customer and client perspective, and I think that the situation and circumstances around the pandemic have actually strengthened and reinforced the strategic value of how it can help our customers support their customers.

Additionally, we have introduced innovative new offerings. Take, for example, our Anti-Microbial Coating Service for self-checkout machines, ATMs, point-of-sale machines including restaurant kiosks – which significantly limits the ability for viruses to live on surfaces, reducing the possibility of transmission through touch.

What types of systems did you have in place before the virus hit that helped you remain agile to pivot or accelerate operations to serve the increased demand for contactless banking?

Crighton: NCR is uniquely positioned to help our customers continue to deliver great service to their customers in the new environment that we are all operating in. We are migrating at different paces in different countries and geographies out of the pandemic slowly but surely and encouragingly, and we need to be thoughtful about which consumer behavior expectations will remain with us going forward and how can we provide value add and assist our customers in how they evolve the branch ecosystem going forward.

Self-service historically has been very much focused on the consumers for obvious reasons, and the pandemic from a work environment point of view has considerations and implications for all of us. So one aspect of the environment that the pandemic has created is the opportunity to collaborate with our customers and consider how the branch ecosystem evolves from the perspective of the branch staff and what we can do from a self-service technology and software point of view. We can evolve our operations in a way that adds value and helps staff to be more efficient going forward and realign their focus potentially, but most importantly, support a very safe working environment.

Specifically looking at in-person payments, what do you think the landscape will look like a couple of years from now after the dust has settled with the coronavirus?

Crighton: NCR is helping retailers minimize the amount of time spent touching things in the store via touchless tech that helps customers go through self-checkout without touching anything, by scanning and paying on their mobile device in the store, and physical distancing tech, which helps store clerks clear transactions on mobile device while staying six feet apart from the customer.

NCR is helping restaurant customers shift to a digital-first mindset and stay operational enabling the restaurant for takeout, with contactless solutions, curbside ordering and pick-up, mobile payments — from the way food is served to how we pay the check.

How about in-person banking needs such as ATMs and teller services? What will these services look like?

Crighton: From our perspective we feel strongly that banks, financial institutions and credit unions should really shift their focus to a digital-first mindset. Not a digital-only mindset, but certainly a digital-first mindset.

Obviously at a time when bankers and tellers are unable to service customers face-to-face, digital experiences really have become a lifeline for many people. People are using digital banking to conduct transactions from home, they are connecting with tellers and branch staff through live digital chat sessions, and self-service capabilities like ITMs. Certainly we believe many of these behaviors will continue into the future.


Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

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Around the web

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

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On Finovate.com

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Around the web

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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.