Dheeraj (Raj) Singal, Vice President, Compliance & Product Manager at FINBOA shares his thoughts on what financial providers should be catering to, in order to meet today’s digital demands of end-users in this chat with us:
Tell us a little about yourself Dheeraj, what was the inspiration behind FINBOA?
I am the compliance product manager of FINBOA, people go me Raj! I have worked in financial services and technology for more than 20 years, supporting financial institutions’ efforts and delivering SaaS technology solutions that deliver results.
FINBOA started as a project to streamline the Reg E compliance for Integrity Bank, a local community bank in Houston, Texas. At the time, Integrity Bank’s staff was seeing a rise in claims, customers were frustrated with the manual process of going to branch to sign paperwork and the lack of trained staff to process claims was resulting in regulatory findings. With our SaaS process automation platform, FINBOA solved these three key problems. By digitizing the customer experience using electronic signature and using one-click process automations, it eliminated all the steps required to process a claim for compliance and post credits and debits to customer accounts. Also, it simplified the compliance verification process for auditors. The result was amazing! Massive productivity gains for institutions and a 20 to 30% decrease in bank losses across all claims. Since, FINBOA has evolved to streamline other back-office workflows for legal, new accounts and lending. When people from the banks tell me about their increased productivity with the same staff it feels very great and gratifying that we are delivering a product that has such a positively strong impact.
How do you think FINBOA is different from rest of the fintech companies?
FINBOA integrates with the FI’s multiple systems to create a flawless end-to-end experience for the back office. Institutions use FINBOA as it helps them build their workflows faster and at a lower price point than hiring a new employee. We are putting intelligent digital process automation within reach of any financial institution. FINBOA is very easy to use with a simple setup and allows quick process customizations. We provide hands-on support to clients which makes working with FINBOA super simple and hassle free. The results are great with faster product rollouts and high return on financial investments. The extremely high renewal rates speak for themselves.
Tell us about some of the most interesting platforms and innovations you’ve seen over the last few years that have helped reform the financial industry?
As electronic banking has grown massively, customer expectations to perform tasks digitally are growing at a great rate. Also, the COVID-19 onset has escalated the processes of many digitization projects. To meet these demands, banks and credit unions are having to collaborate with fintechs more than ever before. This collaboration is taking place in many areas, such as digital marketplaces, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and digital currency solutions. As the use of e-commerce increases, digital marketplaces are becoming extremely important to businesses and consumers as they generate substantial economic growth online. Financial institutions should be prepared to work with digital marketplaces through an efficient back office.
During the pandemic, we saw the need for P2P payments grow substantially. As we enter into the new year, banks and credit unions will have to continue to implement and maintain new P2P payment offerings. Digital currency as well, such as Bitcoin, is being used more than ever. With interest and need increasing, financial institutions must become proficient with digital currency compliance.
According to you what are some of the biggest challenges banks and credit unions are battling today that fintech platforms have not been able to solve yet?
Digital payments, digital banking and digital marketplaces all demand faster processing. Manually managing regulations is time-consuming, error prone and costly. Many banks and credit unions do not have the time or resources to train employees on all the regulatory requirements and changes. But if invested in automation, FIs can meet these challenges more efficiently.
There is a technical know-how gap at many FIs. Often, banks and credit unions are unable to provide the time to effectively train staff and develop the necessary tools due to budgetary and resource constraints. Therefore, using the required solutions and training staff thoroughly becomes a big boulder for many financial institutions.
How do you think are customer trends evolving when it comes to banking preferences?
We can see customers have become quite demanding. They want innovative, digital tools, quick responses with mobile access. To meet their expectations, banks and credit unions must consider their rate of responsiveness, platform convenience and ease of the service. Today’s consumers not only value streamlined digital technology, but they also expect it. If a platform does not explicitly and easily bring them to the desired conclusion, they may switch to another.
Another customer trend is the expectation to have their inquiries answered in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. If this expectation is not met, customers become frustrated and are likely to leave the institution altogether. Next year, financial institutions will have to focus on customer experience and expectations. First step that can be taken to prepare is to start tracking the rate at which customers’ inquiries are answered. This will prove to be helpful in ensuring that the solutions are delivered much faster rate.
Global fintech trends are changing and the market shifts due to business environments (and also Covid-19), what would you like to say on this and what are the thing we need to look out for in 2021?
In this coming new year, it will be interesting to see where P2P payment systems and digital currency find their place into the global payment system. With the growth of P2P networks and systems in recent years, the overall benefits and trends of this technology are still being determined. P2P networks have the potential to overcome other digital payment platforms as the systems become increasingly popular. In addition, much more research will be done on the risks surrounding digital currency, such as fluctuating value of currency and disputed transaction safety as federal overview and regulations increase. In 2021, I think digital currency is going to be the frequent talking topic.
What according to you are the biggest lessons and tips you’d want to share with fintech innovators and financial company founders?
When interacting with others, value authenticity and transparency while taking ownership of your mistakes. With these in mind, you will be able to build trust with your partners, clients or colleagues and provide the best value to those around you while being respected by those with whom you interact.
To have real staying power in the industry, having access to financial and people resources is critical. From the perspective of a start-up, it is very convenient to want things to progress faster than they normally do. Having the patience to wait for the right answers and solutions while accepting helpful criticism is key. I believe that a new fintech innovator needs to be capable enough to switch and pivot as opportunities present themselves.
Before wrapping up, what advice would you share based on your journey so far?
I remember when I first began my career, every idea seemed to be really new and exciting, without many competitors. Now, with so many solution providers in the industry, the market is saturated with extremely fascinating ideas. At one time, you could develop your idea into a completely new offering, but with so many competing ideas the market offers, it is rather more important to create a unique idea to make it stand out. Innovation for differentiation is key; it is vital to be nimble to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd.
For a career in the fintech industry, and in any industry, one always benefits from working in innovative companies and surrounding yourself with thought leaders and learning all that you can from them. And for those switching to fintech, keep your long-term goals ahead of you and seek out opportunities through accelerators that can introduce you to companies who are looking for experience and need you to experiment to help them scale.
Thank you for answering all our questions Dheeraj!