On Banks and FinTechs; A Partnership Manifesto

Written by: Kurt Matis

August 24, 2018

A Partnership Manifesto

If there is one thing we have learned over the history of our business, it is that no two businesses’ accounts receivables (A/R) operations are the same. No matter how similar those businesses may seem on the surface. There is no proverbial “box” that you can fit companies and their associated processes into. 

If there has been a second thing we’ve learned, it has been that the historical use of numerous, disparate systems and platforms (i.e., “silos”) that have been used by banks and corporate customers to accept and process payments are inefficient, expensive and difficult to maintain.

It is for these reasons that we set out to create a platform and solution-set that would help companies tear down the siloed systems that have hindered their A/R operations and chained them to tedious, manual, error-prone processes for far too long.

From the very beginning (circa 2008), our goal was to create one of, if not the only, receivables processing platforms capable of accepting, processing AND posting any payment method (checks, one-time or recurring ACH & credit cards, cash) from any payment channel (mailed-in, lockbox, called-in, in-person, online, mobile), all via a single, secure (and compliant), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.

And that’s just what we did.

Fast forward to today, and the demand for integrated receivables solutions is top-of-mind for countless corporates and financial institutions as they search for technology solutions to enable the consolidation and streamlining of their legacy A/R processes and systems. What used to require multiple disparate systems, delivered by multiple third-party vendors, can now be accomplished on a single, cloud-based platform.

But beware, as with all good things, there are those who will look to capitalize on successful trends by promoting features and capabilities within their solutions that aren’t fully developed or in some cases, not supported at all. It’s important to remember that not all integrated receivables platforms are created equal—be sure to look behind the proverbial “curtain” to ensure that all the capabilities, security and compliance features that make an integrated receivables platform truly integrated are accounted for. Check out this previous blog post (click the image below) detailing how we define truly integrated receivables solutions here at FTNI.

At the end of the day, we don’t believe in taking a “cookie cutter” or “piecemeal” approach to delivering receivables processing solutions to our customers and we don’t believe you should either.

It is our goal to be a strategic and collaborative partner to both our direct customers, as well as our banking partners. In fact, many of our advancements and innovations added to our ETran platform over the course of our history have been in response to feedback from our customers and partners. 

As an example, our fraud and risk monitoring module, Proactive Payment Monitor, came as a request from one of our bank resellers, who needed better oversight of their clients’ daily transactional activity before the money was sent to the bank for deposit. This tool helps both our partners and customers actively manage and monitor any transactional activity outside of their normal business operations. Thresholds can be set for both transactional volume as well as dollar amounts across any payment method or channel on the platform, and subsequent business rules and notifications can be set and delivered for how to manage any items that may trigger a defined threshold.

Control is always a major factor when it comes to any solution, that’s why we also designed ETran’s Administration Module, to allow our bank resellers to have complete control over setting up, deploying and supporting the system through easy-to-use configuration settings. In some cases, our partners choose to extend access to the Administration Module to administrative users within their customers’ organizations as well to help with day-to-day admin activities such as password resets, adding or deleting users, and much more.

We believe that the best partnerships are collaborative. That when all parties involved focus their combined capabilities on the challenges at hand, in the end, all parties win. Of course, there will be obstacles and roadblocks that get in the way, that’s expected. That’s business.

Working together to overcome challenges and equip customers with innovative solutions that benefit their business is where the real magic of successful partnerships can be found. Delivering customers with transformative solutions that neither organization could’ve delivered by themselves—either out of lack of access or capability—is why we seek to establish relationships with forward-thinking banking and technology partners.

We believe that our commitment to expanding the awareness of what makes an integrated receivables solution, “truly” integrated is a great example of how we approach our relationships with both our customers and our partners. For example, it would be easier for us to simply tell prospective customers or partners how a specific piece of our platform will meet and even exceed their current A/R challenge(s) at hand—effectively creating yet another silo within their operations—but that’s just not how we operate.

We’re here to help our direct customers, our partners, and our partners’ customers to evolve and transform their A/R operations. To challenge the status quo and to tear down the siloed, disparate systems and processes that have hampered operational efficiency and prevented them from achieving straight-through processing.

It is through a commitment to providing proven, value-added, seamlessly integrated solutions that your customers will know [insert your bank’s name here] is not just a financial services vendor, you’re a true partner. Bringing together financial, business AND technology services and solutions to extend far beyond the traditional definition of a “bank”.

From lockbox to RDC, credit card and ACH processing, electronic bill/invoice presentment and payment (EBPP/EIPP), online and mobile payments, and more; the groundswell for truly integrated receivables solutions continues to grow.

More than ever before, it is crucial for banks to be more than just a financial services partner to its corporate customers; banks must be prepared to make the jump to a trusted technology and business partner as well. One that can deliver proven solutions to help drive efficiencies and cost savings within critical business operations such as accounts receivables. For most customers, getting the payment to the bank is only one small piece of the A/R lifecycle.

The ability to help consolidate, streamline and automate vital internal processes such as matching and posting A/R data into back-office systems will solidify your bank as much more than just a banking partner.

It’s time to put an end to the pain, inefficiencies and rising costs customers have had to endure while being left to manage and maintain outdated, siloed receivables processing systems. It’s time for you to move beyond being seen (and labeled) as simply a financial services institution.

The time is now to for you to take a leadership position in helping to shape the new definition of what it means to be a 'FinTech'.

You bring the relationships, we’ll bring the technology, and your customers will achieve the game-changing benefits of truly integrated receivables solutions.

Let’s do this. Together.

Originally published on August 24, 2018.

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