Small businesses have landed at the center of B2B FinTechs' and financial service providers' latest collaborative efforts. In this week's roundup of open banking initiatives and bank-FinTech tie-ups, PYMNTS finds a renewed push to strengthen SMB banking experiences including financing, account management and more.
Agora Services To White-Label Technology
Banking technology company Agora Services recently announced its plans to white-label its offerings for smaller financial institutions (FIs) with a focus on small business and teen banking solutions. In a press release, the company announced plans to offer community banks and credit unions (CUs) its banking technology, which can enable these FIs to more adequately compete against larger banks. Agora said its solution can be deployed within a month to connect smaller banks' small business users to virtual and physical cards and sub-accounts, while for its teen-targeting technology, the solutions allow FIs to introduce account and spend control features.
"In this day and age, it is very important for community financial institutions to be able to compete with their main new competitors — challenger banks and national banks — and have access to the same technology that can be deployed in weeks, not years," said Agora Services Founder and CEO Arcady Lapiro in a statement.
Funding Circle Takes A Closer Look At Open Banking
Over in the U.K., small business lending platform Funding Circle is reportedly considering whether to wield open banking to enhance its own product offering.
Reports in P2P Finance News said Funding Circle U.K. Managing Director Lisa Jacobs praised open banking, though noted that the company took some time to evaluate how the legislation would play out on the market before jumping in.
"I thought when it launched that it would take a little bit of time before it became really useful," she told the publication. "And I think that's what we've seen."
Funding Circle reportedly considered wielding open banking in years past — and today, it's looking at the legislation again, and evaluating how it might be able to elevate its credit assessment workflows. Recent improvements in the customer experience have made open banking more attractive for Funding Circle, added Jacobs.
WaFd Bank Bolsters SMB Financing Via nCino
In another bank-FinTech tie-up focused on small business solutions, WaFd Bank, based in North Carolina, has announced the adoption of technology from nCino. The FI will integrate nCino's Bank Operating System with a focus on streamlining commercial and small business financing, with their tie-up first targeting Small Business Administration (SBA) loan processing to support SMBs through the pandemic.
In a statement, WaFd Bank President and CEO Brent Beardall said that nCino's offering supports the bank's efforts to strengthen the client experience. "That digital collaboration became even more important when the COVID-19 pandemic hit," he added.
CIH Integrates Finastra Tech
As part of its initiative to enhance corporate banking, CIH Bank, based in Morocco, has reportedly adopted Finastra technology. The FinTech is providing its Fusion Corporate Channels and Fusion Trade Innovation technologies to the bank, enabling end-to-end corporate banking services around trade and supply chain finance. A press release announcing the tie-up noted that CIH's integration of the tools means that corporate customers no longer have to physically visit a bank branch to access services, while the technology is also automating processes for businesses.
"The ongoing pandemic made the requirement for this transition even more apparent as we needed to remove every manual step from the banking process and ensure business continuity for our customers," noted CIH Bank Director of International Oussama Tazi in a statement.
Bottomline Embraces Open Banking For Pay Direct
Having announced the launch of Pay Direct earlier this month, Bottomline threw its weight behind open banking in the U.K. The business payments technology company is rolling out Pay Direct for U.K. corporates, making it easier for businesses to accept online payments. The solution is based on open banking wielding its payment initiation service, enabling Bottomline to use the U.K.'s Faster Payments scheme.
Pay Direct sees a payer initiate a payment from within a bank application integrated into a business' own digital platform. That business can then process the online payment with streamlined and accelerated settlement and reconciliation, said Bottomline.
"We're delivering the promise of open banking and its winning propositions for both the merchants trading online and their customers," said Bottomline Managing Director of Europe Nigel Savory in a statement.