Sunrise Banks: the dawn of seamless payments experiences
We have a chat with Sunrise Banks top execs, David Reiling, CEO; and Eric Schurr, chief strategy officer, about social enterprise banking, payments, and creating user experiences by using data.
“Sunrise isn’t your average bank,” says Reiling, CEO at Sunrise Banks. “We are a social enterprise first.”
A question of attitude
Reiling says that the social focus has been present in the bank’s attitude since the beginning. To achieve and empower financial wellness, the bank says it strives to keep up with innovation.
Financial wellness looks different to every person, so Sunrise knows there isn’t a cure-all solution.
“We work with fintechs to provide tools that our customers can use to take control of their financial wellness and goals. Whatever their challenge is, we want to be their source for resources and tools to find their own solution,” Reiling adds.
Sunrise says it is has been focused on partnering with the neighbourhoods and communities it serves to provide products and services to help them succeed. Like Reiling says: “At the end of the day, if the community succeeds we will be able to thrive along with them.”
An answer to competition
However, Sunrise knows it isn’t the only resident in this sector. With the rise of fintech, it has seen tech companies introduce features and offerings that have the potential to disrupt specific parts of the banking system.
For example, mobile wallets that enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their smartphones, while Facebook allows users to make peer-to-peer (P2P) payments via Messenger.
Reiling says Sunrise has adopted a three-pronged strategy to position itself for the future: first, Sunrise is partnering with tech firms for specific services, essentially providing “powered by Sunrise” expertise to gain a portion of revenue.
Second, Sunrise is building select capabilities in-house to move up in the value chain, with the aim to create additional value to its partners; and third, the bank continues to partner with fintech companies that strengthen its in-house digital offerings.
An addendum about cash and security
In the search for digitisation, we cannot forget about cash. Where does it stand in the bank’s strategy? Schurr tells us that payments across all segments will become increasingly digital as long as it delivers convenience, efficiency (including lower costs), and safety. “Cash will remain relevant as long as there is mistrust in digital channels.”
The rails upon which payments ride (Visa, Mastercard, ACH etc) will remain important, but consumers and business will become savvier about the rails they choose for specific transactions.
Reiling says that the new focus is usability, and selecting the platform in which the transaction is carried has become something consumers think about nowadays. However, usability has always been seen as somewhat counterpoised to security.
The big issue that affects both fintechs and banks right now is data encryption, says Schurr. It is widely accepted that data that is being transmitted must be encrypted. The main concern now is what happens to that data when it is received, or “at rest”. Encryption at rest is not yet an industry standard even though many breaches, target that data.
“For us, those issues are where we can partner with fintechs to make sure that data is safe,” says Reiling. “We make sure that payments are not only happening quickly, but that we aren’t sacrificing security”.
For Sunrise, the technology that holds the most promise for business and consumers alike is the ability to instantly transfer value between parties seamlessly embedded within the customer experience. “Think Amazon’s 1-click on steroids.”
This type of technology becomes the critical thread in an ever-increasingly complex value chain that delivers greater convenience, safety and speed to the consumer.
Sunrise Banks NA is Member FDIC.
This interview is also featured in the September 2018 edition of the Banking Technology magazine.
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