An all-encompassing digital financial ecosystem will be a must in the long-term while innovations in finance tech and the popularity of neobanks change how fintech shapes up in the near-future. Omar Arab, EVP of Corporate Business at VeriTran joins us in this interview to share his thoughts.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Omar?
I am the EVP Corporate Business of VeriTran, a global company that speeds up and simplifies digital application development through its Low-Code Platform. I joined VeriTran in 2019, where I’ve led the company’s expansion into the United States, building and designing the strategic go-to-market plan, and also focus on sales and marketing activities with the partner ecosystem.
I’ve always been passionate about financial technology and have accumulated more than 25 years of experience in the technology, banking, Fintech and entrepreneurship industries. Before joining VeriTran, I founded a software company and served as CEO of multiple fintechs, digital banks and payments companies. Outside of work, I also serve as a professor of entrepreneurship and venture capital in the course “How to build startups” from the UTN.
What are some of the biggest sales/marketing challenges you’ve observed in teams or faced yourself during the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic?
After unprecedented numbers of workers transitioned to remote work and more than three months of social distancing, companies who didn’t have the proper technology or digital channels rapidly scrambled to create them, having digital transformation as the main priority now. In business and financial industries, a 360° digital financial ecosystem is essential and a current challenge during times of crisis, like the one we are facing globally with COVID-19; an outbreak impacting financial markets as never before. We’ve seen many companies struggling with this rapid transition to digital, as they look to implement new technology that will continue to add value after the crisis is over.
How do you see the financial services and fintech space changing in the next few months given the changing business and user needs due to Covid-19?
A 100% digital financial ecosystem is a must in 2020 and in the near future, in order to ensure financial continuity and consumer needs. With this, digital financial literacy education will be paramount in establishing a financial ecosystem available to all citizens, and we will see more and more financial companies addressing this need with effective solutions.
One tool already being employed that will continue to be adopted by multiple global financial establishments as they look to continue the transition to digital is the low-code platforms. These tools enable rapid development of user-friendly apps without requiring technical expertise, and facilitates digital channels regardless of, and compatible with, any existing legacy systems.
Another change we’re noticing is successful neobanks creating a strategic technology investment plan, focusing on AI and big data in order to improve their bottom lines and elevate their product and service offerings. This will be a gamechanger in taking user experience to the next level, and truly understanding the customer journey.
With the increasing number of fintech startups in this space, what would you share in terms of best practices that every marketing / sales team’s go-to market strategy for companies in this sector should follow?
There are several best practices of the industry that companies in the sector should follow:
- A key factor in being prepared to tackle digital acceleration is being able to meet today’s increased digital demand in rapid time-to-market.
- Creating digital wallets and providing that offering is key in these pandemic times where human contact and bacteria needs to be reduced. VeriTran has found that the use of digital wallets has increased globally by 180% during the pandemic.
- Companies should establish a people-first mindset within their organizations, specifically focusing on customer-centricity to deliver a best-in-class user experience will be the key differentiating factor.
How have you seen new innovations in fintech change the banking and insurance game for end users: can you talk about a few game changing platforms that are redefining banking and insurance?
Several fintech technologies that are innovating the industry now are primarily focused on customer/end-user centric solutions, and the following come to mind:
- Data continues to be key in all industries.
- New credit scoring tools with alternative data points, aimed for self-employed people with a steady income source that usually do not pass traditional bank screenings.
- New ways for insurance underwriting.
- More integration of all payment methods, including digital wallets, debit cards and cryptocurrencies. Fintechs are trying to incorporate these methods into convenient apps that online merchants can easily afford and integrate on their website.
- As mentioned before, digital banking and wallets are continuing to dominate the financial industry, with an increase of 180% during the pandemic. According to the World Retail Banking Report, 48% of banking companies are striving to improve their digital innovation capabilities, and more than half of their clients will use innovative banking solutions in the next three years involving payments, cards and retail bank accounts.
How according to you will emerging tech play a key role in the development and evolution of finance and fintech as a whole? What have your key observations been?
Emerging markets are starting to be great global examples of financial development and new solutions. While all nations are in the process of figuring out how to provide an accessible digital financial ecosystem, LatAm’s rapidly expanding fintech sector serves as a unique case study to observe. The Latin American region is leveraging digital channels and emerging technology to an unprecedented degree, which is more important than ever especially in these pandemic times where citizens need federal aid.
One success story is in Argentina, where the government decided on a stimulus solution to directly provide funds to people who have either lost their income or are unbanked and receive their income in cash in-person. Argentina’s Banco de la Provincia developed Cuenta DNI, a digital wallet for financial inclusion allowing people from all walks of life to quickly access the funds, and usage has tripled since the beginning of the pandemic. In just one month, Cuenta DNI reached 1 million active users, proving out our thesis that creating new digital access routes will play a key role in creating success for financial organizations moving forward.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the fintech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read and why.
I would love to read DBS Bank’s point of view on these questions. They are usually very disruptive and have a very clear playbook on digital transformation. Would also be interested in the challenger banks Monzo and Revolut, and their new customer-journey focus.
Your favorite FinanceTech quote
My favorite idea of the industry is, “We need to create strategic collaborations and partnerships between traditional banks and neo-banks, which provide fresh perspective with their disruptive business models and cutting-edge products”.
Would you like to share specific finance management or business tips for Marketing and Sales teams struggling through this uncertain time?
People are the key driver of organizational change and modern businesses, from SMBs to major enterprises, should establish a people-first mindset within their organizations. When we think of putting people first, we must think of our employees as well as our clients. 2020 is teaching us to appreciate our foundations and core business to navigate through uncertainty successfully, and a strong leadership team who foster a company culture of stability and reassurance is an integral part of an effective business now.
VeriTran is a global company that speeds up and simplifies business application development through its Low-Code Platform. Focused on driving digital transformation, the company integrates exponential technologies into legacy systems, improving deployment times and delivery costs without writing a single line of code. VeriTran’s Low-Code Platform is used by more than 50 clients, reaching more than 15 million users who safely run more than 10 billion transactions annually.