Mambu’s CCO on the future of banking and the role of Big Tech in financial services

Elliott Limb, CCO of Mambu

PaySpace Magazine Global has reached out to Elliott Limb, Chief Customer Officer of Mambu, a banking and fintech expert with over 20 years of experience.

Could you briefly tell us about your background? Why did you decide to pursue your career in banking and fintech?

My background is in banking and fintech. Growing a technology business stemmed from the challenges and opportunities faced throughout my career as Head of Corporate Banking for Finastra and Technology Head for Citibank’s transaction banking business in EMEA.

My involvement in all aspects of the transaction banking business has enabled me to experience numerous angles of banking, payments and transformational change across the UK, EMEA, New York, Singapore, India and Australia. I then founded CoBa, a sustainable business model for banks, fintech, regulators and corporates to collaborate and maximise profitability on an individual and collective basis.

In spring, the Bank of Ireland unveiled its plans to close over 100 branches as customers migrate to digital banking channels amid the pandemic. From a professional point of view, what will banks look like in the nearest future?

The future of banking will require organisations to be selective about choosing the right technology for their strategic needs and customer demands. Banks will require unique and multifaceted thinking, which will come from resources outside of the traditional industry, such as in consumer goods or utilities. However, flexibility will continue to be a must.

The future of banking is digital. It will be fully scalable, allowing banks to grow and respond with agility to customer needs. Cloud-native platforms and solutions will enable products to go from test to launch quickly, mitigating implementation risk and driving growth in the sector.

How would you define ‘a composable banking’? In your opinion, will it affect the future of the banking industry? If so, when?

Composable banking delivers banking services through the fast and flexible assembly of independent, best-of-class technologies. APIs allow for the quick and easy integration into a bank’s existing ecosystem to partner with the top solutions providers, remain agile ahead of product trends and keep up with digitally native competitors. A composable infrastructure, not tied to a single vendor or geography, makes building new products and processes a matter of configuration rather than writing expensive new code.

Composable banking brings an agile and iterative development model to the forefront of the industry. Banks will launch new technology stacks, keep up with the rapid pace of change and increase emphasis on customer-centricity and user experience, whilst keeping costs low to expand methodology across the entire business.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how much has the customer experience in banking changed amid the pandemic?

A strong 8. The global pandemic has led to a shift not only in consumer preference but also in needs. Banks and FIs were already facing existing challenges but the pandemic intensified customer expectations. 62% of European customers expressed an interest in transitioning from physical to digital banking in Spring 2021.

Now, banks are having to embrace advancements such as open APIs, AI, and ML and upgrade their technology investments to create a seamless user experience. Investing in technology has never been more important. Technological innovations give banks the maximum flexibility to control and build out the customer experiences needed to stand apart from their peers.

Let’s move on to relationship banking. Why does the industry need to return to ‘relationship banking’ and how can fintech help?

Relationship banking was eroded as a side effect of the global economic crisis of 2008 and led to telephone-based communication, diminishing relationships to helplines and call centres. As a result, the human understanding of customers, their accessibility and banks’ responsiveness to their challenges changed – for SMEs in particular.

Maturing digital transformations and policies such as PSD2 and big data gives banks and fintechs the unique opportunity to use the data to better understand what their customers are looking for in their banking provider, and offer personalized services and solutions.

And speaking of investment in the fintech market – why fintech is so hot right now and whether the current level of investment is sustainable?

The competitive landscape has grown since the recession, with more than 300 neobanks now operating worldwide. The pandemic reiterated the existing need for banks to upgrade their technology investments. Heavy investment has been seen in culture, tech and even recruitment, as traditional organisers are bringing in a range of new resources such as psychologists and data scientists.

Investing in fintech elevates the overall experience and scores on customer satisfaction, whilst achieving business objectives in the long-term growth strategy while taking the edge off stakeholder needs.

How would you describe the role of Big Tech in banking and why the likes of Apple and Google don’t really want to become banks?

Big Tech has played a notable role in the evolution of banking and financial services – more so as of late and the opportunity to influence the industry is substantial. Advantages such as low operating costs, agile processes and methodology, and best-in-class ecosystem partners make it possible to rapidly scale up. Leveraging existing resources, processes and existing customer relationships can be beneficial for Big Tech companies allowing them to quickly enter into new verticals with a range of product offerings.

2020 was full of uncertainties due to the corona crisis – staff cuts, bankruptcy filings, tourism industry collapse, etc. Despite the fact the world seems to be getting back to normal, is ‘going back to normal’ even possible?

The uncertainty reflected in the economy will definitely subside and confidence in spending will undoubtedly return to pre-pandemic levels, however, the “new normal” that was forced upon us in 2020 is likely to have a lasting impact. The trends that we witnessed during the pandemic of increasing numbers of people turning to online and digital financial services and driving demand for flexible and highly accessible banking solutions, is not going anyway.

What was “normal” in banking and finance in 2019 is now no longer what customers want and so in a way, for the banking industry at least, there is no going back. Banks must now focus on the future and the rising demand for digital finance services to ensure they remain a competitive option for customers.

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