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Global Fintech Interview with Marc Kuzak, Vice President of Legal at Yapily

Global Fintech Interview with Marc Kuzak, Vice President of Legal at Yapily

Hi Marc, welcome to Fintech Interview Series. Please tell us about your fintech journey so far.

I began my career as a commercial technology lawyer, providing guidance on software, intellectual property, and data contracts. Seeking further opportunities, I transitioned to an in-house role at Lloyds, where I gained valuable experience in the regulated aspects of financial services. Eager to explore the dynamic field of financial technology, I joined Monitise, a rapidly expanding London-based fintech firm specializing in mobile banking software. This eventually led me to San Francisco, where I immersed myself in the vibrant tech scene. After my time in California, I returned to the UK and took on a position at Barclays, providing legal support for their digital and mobile payment initiatives, as well as their Open Banking program.

Subsequently, I joined Plaid, a prominent fintech company headquartered in San Francisco.

I am now proud to be a part of Yapily, Europe’s leading open banking infrastructure platform where I lead the global legal team. In this capacity, I advise on our world-class Open Banking solutions for data and payments.

What are the core offerings provided by Yapily to customers? 

Yapily is solving a fundamental problem in financial services today: access. Its Open Banking infrastructure provides access to c. 2,000 European banks’ APIs and allows our customers to make payments or share data with consumers’ permission. We also offer a number of tools to help our customers build their applications on top of our infrastructure. In this way, Yapily is enabling innovative companies to embed the power of Open Banking into their products and services, creating better and fairer financial services for everyone.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Ramesh Menon, Group Director, Product Management at LSEG

How do you position these offerings in the ever-changing Fintech marketplace?

Yapily has a unique position in the open banking market in that it is 100% focused on building infrastructure and tools of the highest quality, broadest coverage, and deepest capability. Solely focused on this layer, Yapily is enabling businesses – from startups to enterprise – to build open banking enabled products and services on top of its platform. In this way, Yapily is a true technology enabler that empowers, rather than competes, with its customers.

How is Yapily strategizing to build the future of finance? 

Yapily is focused on delivering the highest quality infrastructure which our customers will use to build innovative products using the power of Open Banking. As our service quality improves the number of use cases possible will continue to proliferate and mean we will be able to service an ever wider number of companies.

What is open banking? How is it different from the conventional banking system?

Open Banking refers to a system that allows consumers to securely share their banking data and initiate payments directly from their accounts. It is a significant departure from the conventional banking system as it introduces greater transparency, competition, and innovation in the financial industry.

In traditional banking, customer data and account information are closely guarded by banks, limiting the accessibility and use of this data. However, with Open Banking, consumers have the power to grant permission for third-party financial service providers to access their financial data, such as transaction history, account balances, and spending patterns. This data sharing is facilitated through application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable secure communication between banks and authorized third-party providers.

The key difference with Open Banking is that it allows fintech companies and other authorized providers to build innovative financial products and services on top of the existing banking infrastructure. These new players can leverage the customer’s banking data to offer personalized solutions, such as budgeting tools, savings apps, investment platforms, and loan marketplaces. This increased competition and collaboration between traditional banks and fintech firms drive better customer experiences, improved financial products, and lower costs. In short: Open Banking (together with Open Finance and Open Data more more broadly) is the future.

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Sam Boboev, COO & Co-Founder at botcommerce.io

Name any one product innovation of yours which you consider as the best. 

Bulk payments, the ability to make multiple payments from a single initiation, is unique to Yapily and an extremely popular service with our customers as it saves them significant time with invoice settlement or payroll.

Do you use AI in your fintech company? If yes, please highlight some of these. 

We use AI in some of our customer tools allowing us to: categorize financial transactions, forecast customer balances, identify recurring transactions, etc. Going forward we see exciting opportunities to leverage AI to streamline many internal processes and improve customer experience.

How according to you will the banking segment evolve in the coming years? Which industries will benefit most from the latest innovations in fintech, how and why? 

The banking segment will continue its march towards digitization, innovation, personalized services, and greater customer-centricity. Collaboration between traditional banks, fintech firms, and other stakeholders leveraging Open Banking will shape the future of banking, leading to improved efficiency, accessibility, and customer experiences. Lending is still ripe for disruption given the inertia of the incumbent banks, but the factors slowing innovation in this space persist. B2C and B2B payments will probably see the biggest disruption over the coming years as A2A payments, powered by open banking, will continue to eat into the share of the card networks.

Your favorite quote.

“Fintech is not about replacing banks; it’s about empowering people.” – Brett King

Also Read: Global Fintech Interview with Jairo Riveros, Managing Director of the Americas at Paysend

Before we wrap up, a few tips you’d like to share with the fintech innovators and leaders.

  • Stay agile and adaptable: The fintech sector is dynamic and rapidly evolving. Embrace agility and be prepared to adapt your strategies and business models as needed.
  • Stay ahead of regulatory changes: Keep a close eye on regulatory developments and ensure compliance from the early stages of your fintech venture.
  • Focus on the customer: Fintech success lies in truly understanding your customers’ needs and pain points. By placing your customers at the center of your innovation, you can create products and services that deliver real value and solve their problems.
  • Build trust and security: Trust is paramount in the fintech industry. Implement robust security measures to safeguard customer data and transactions.
  • Leverage emerging technologies: Stay at the forefront of technological advancements such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize the fintech landscape.

Thank you, Marc! That was fun and we hope to see you back on globalfintechseries.com soon.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

Marc is an experienced legal professional with 17+ years of cross functional experience in private practice and in-house roles, specialising in the provision of commercial legal advice. With a passion for technology, his recent work focus has been in the provision of legal advice supporting innovation in financial institutions including new product development, experimentation, Open Banking, API and developer portals, mobile banking, payments, commerce and data. This includes experience in the US and UK supporting multiple business areas worldwide including Sales and Operations, Product Development, Marketing, HR, Risk and control functions.

Yapily logo

Yapily is Europe’s leading open banking infrastructure platform solving a fundamental problem in financial services today: access.

It securely connects its customers to thousands of banks across Europe, allowing them to access financial data and initiate payments. In this way, Yapily is enabling innovative companies to embed the power of open banking into their products and services, creating better and fairer financial services for everyone. 

Yapily’s customers range from disruptive fintechs to industry leaders operating in a number of verticals. It counts Intuit Quickbooks, Pleo, and American Express among hundreds of businesses using its platform today. To date, Yapily has raised $69.4 million in funding, employs over 200 people worldwide, and continues to scale across Europe.

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