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Finovate Debuts: Malauzai Software

Finovate Debuts is a blog series to introduce new Finovate alums. 

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Malauzai Software

Develops easy to manage and measure mobile banking SmartApps for community financial institutions. SmartApps are full-service, native mobile banking apps designed for iOS, Android, and the browser. Features include debit card management, billpay (including picturepay options), and P2P payments.

The Stats
    • Founded in January 2009
    • Headquartered in Austin, Texas
    • Tom Shen is Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board
    • More than 60 employees
    • More than 305 bank and credit unions clients with more than 260,000 end users
    • More than 500,000 downloads
    • Launched SmartwebApps in September 2014
The Story
There is a sense of “You do what?!” that comes from learning about what Malauzai Software has been building and deploying at community banks and credit unions across the country. Pick a mobile banking innovation, any innovation: Want to take a picture of your bill and pay with your smartphone? Want to turn your debit card off or on from time to time? 
What’s impressive about Malauzai Software isn’t just that their apps do these things. It’s that their apps have been doing these things and more for community bank customers in places like the Air Academy Federal Credit Union in Colorado Springs and the First Financial Bank in Abilene, Texas for longer than you might think.
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Malauzai Software is helps smaller financial institutions innovate faster than the big banks. Many things are helping this happen: from more nimble decision-making to the rise of mobile, which Malauzai calls an “equalizer” in the competition over bank customers.  And here, Malauzai is simply looking to play its role, or as they put it “we’re on that wave” helping community FIs embrace truly omni-channel banking.
The Solutions: Meet MOX
The company has developed solutions that help not just consumers, but also business and enterprise-level use cases, as well. Malauzai offers Business Mobile solutions that target high value customers and support business customers requirements with multiple business entities. Their Enterprise solution gives professionals working in FIs tablet-optimized front and back office apps that boost customer on boarding, mobile teller capability, and other options to enhance the in-branch experience.
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There are three concepts that underpin Malauzai’s approach to development. The primary one is MOX which stands for “Mobile Only Experience.” This combines a recognition that mobile is increasingly the channel of preference and simply porting a mobile experience to the desktop (or even to the tablet) is often a poor option.
The second concept is “convergence,” a banking customer accessing a SmartApp by smartphone will expect and should receive the same functionality when she switches to her desktop or tablet.
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And the third concept is “superior economics.” On the platform management side, Malauzai believes it is important that banks and financial institutions be able to manage all their different SmartApps using a single application management system. Malauzai’s omnichannel approach via SmartApps liberates community banks from having to manage separate “Internet” or “online” banking services and mobile banking. The result is cost savings for banks and their customers.
“Internet banking is marginalizing,” said Malauzai Chief Product Officer, Robb Gaynor. “So why pay for it? With SmartwebApps, banks and credit unions are paying one low price per user for mobile and online banking. It’s like getting online banking for free.”
Among the features available on Malauzai Software’s SmartApps are:
    • Debit card management
    • Billpay including the Picture Pay option
    • Person-to-person (P2P) payments
    • Remote Deposit Capture deposits
    • Branch/ATM finder
    • Account balances
The apps can be personalized and feature a time-saving SmarTex login that gives customer quick access to basic information like account balances and transaction histories without requiring full login. And speaking of security, SmartwebApps give users the option to add a PIN for additional safeguarding of accounts, as well as customizable mobile banking security alerts. The apps are currently available in English, Spanish and Korean languages. 
The Analytics
What’s in it for banks, other than providing all these great services for their customers? We’ve touched on the “easy to manage” aspect of the technology. Now let’s take a look at the “easy to measure” part.
 
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“Easy to measure” refers specifically to the way that FIs can glean valuable information on user preferences. These preferences can range from which features are most popular on a given SmartwebApp to the kind of user metrics that can power intelligent and relevant In-SmartApp marketing and messaging.
Malauzai Software relies on a pair of tools to help pull this off. Its Real-Time Metrics and Reporting functionality (REBA) ensures that the bank or credit union maintains “constant, real-time contact” with their mobile channel. Administrators can access this data either by way of an online-based portal or with an iPad SmartApp.
The other resource is Malauzai’s Application Management System (AMS). Centrally managed by way of an administration portal (SAMI), the system enables central management of the SmartApps, and includes the ability to make changes to the SmartApp in real-time and across platforms, without having to update the App in app stores.
The Future
Malauzai has made headlines several times this year. The company announced a partnership with Finovate alum and IBM acquisition, Trusteer, this summer that will bring even greater security to consumers using SmartwebApps at Customers Bancorp in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. And in May, Malauzai reported a successful $6.5 million Series C funding round led by Wellington Management Company, LLP. 
2014 has also seen deployments of SmartApps at Vons Credit Union in El Monte, California;  Poca Valley Bank in Charleston, West Virginia; and Atlantic Capital Bank in Atlanta, Georgia, among others.
What can we expect to see from Malauzai in the months to come? The fact that the company is innovating against the grain with its current emphasis on bringing a mobile-quality experience to the desktop is worth watching. And for more on the debate, check out Malauzai’s Chief Technology Officer, Danny Piangerelli, post-FinovateFall blog post at Malauzai’s Monkey Chatter blog.
Malauzai also expects to take advantage of innovation in other areas, such as the new iOS8 operating system, with biometric authentication via TouchID, and the birth of ApplePay.
At the same time, focusing on how the web and mobile products work together, ensuring the sort of omni-channel experience their community bank and credit union clients want to deliver, remains key. And the best part, according to Malauzai, is that innovation at this end of the market is not zero sum.  “We allow community banks and credit unions to out-innovate money center banks,” Gaynor said. “But anything we can do to enable the success of a CU is a positive for the whole industry.”
Check out a video of Malauzai Software’s live demo here.