A bird’s eye view of cloud and the payments industry
Volante Technologies has launched cloud-native payments solutions that provide banks with unrivalled agility based on the ability to deploy just the business services they and their customers need—a refreshing alternative to traditional models.
Tom Groendeldt caught up with Vijay Oddiraju, the company’s CEO, to provide an aerial view of payments and its relationship with cloud technology. Oddiraju has been spending his time liaising with CIOs and COOs of banks of all sizes, across the continents, before heading to London for Sibos.
“The CIOs I talk to at banks around the world, and at major corporations, want their business banking and treasury at work to be as simple as their personal banking,” said Oddiraju. He has found that as the digital-native generation is maturing into leading corporate treasuries, corporate banking expectations are in turn, being driven by consumer banking experiences.
“This is a huge opportunity for banks to modernise their systems and meet the new demands such as real-time payments, real-time cross border, ISO 20022, and open banking using APIs. Everyone wants access to systems from anywhere and by any device they choose, just like they get on their mobiles from the best digital financial institutions,” he added.
Transaction banking has become a key revenue generator for banks, but that doesn’t mean banks will have the business to themselves — challenger banks and fintechs are eyeing the space, or actively invading it.
“Fintechs know speed and agility are vitally important, but these challengers also know that achieving those takes time, especially when working with existing legacy systems.” He believes that these disruptors are forward thinking and considering what the space will look like 5, 10 and even 15 years from now, as each institution examines its organisations and products to see how and where it can add value and remain relevant to customers.
Contrary to some business press, he finds that most CIOs are aware of the competitive challenges and are taking a long view of their business.
The largest banks are thinking of a strategic stack that will support them—and their large corporate customers—for 5 to 15 years and want partners who engage in the same long-term thinking. Smaller regional and community institutions are driven by the need to compete with the larger organisations for the same corporate business. Both are driven by the demands of small and medium sized business customers, who are pressing their banks for the same simplicity and speed of access that they enjoy for their personal accounts.
“Volante aims to make payment processes as simple as possible,” said Oddiraju. “We have one bank client with a very simple user interface (UI) and another whose screens are very complex. We asked why, and they said it’s because payments are so complicated, but good design declutters the interface to make the user experience pleasant, which is especially important on the relatively small screen of a mobile.”
Volante has always been passionate about simplicity, automation and security. One of its recent innovations, VolPay’s Beneficiary Pay Link, has all these attributes.
It enables banks to offer a service to corporate clients for end customer refunds or payments using tokenised two-factor authentication, removing the need for corporates to handle sensitive banking information. Beneficiaries may receive their funds in any currency and in any bank account they choose.
“We have created a payment processing platform for a future which we know will come, even while we don’t know exactly how it will evolve,” he added.
“We can now manage the full payments lifecycle – from capture through to clearing,” highlights the CEO. “With fresh thinking and nearly 20-years’ experience of agile financial message integration and processing, we’re in a position to help accelerate payments modernisation and innovation in financial institutions.”
Indeed, Volante feels so strongly about enabling the industry as a whole to benefit from the latest technologies delivered over the cloud, that it is offering free real-time / instant payments processing to banks of all sizes on the basis that real-time payments is a fundamental component of payments modernisation.
“With our deep experience, we know how to connect to internal and external channels to automate data acquisition and distribution.” Despite 10 or 15 years of talking about straight-through processing (STP), the payments business still has a lot of manual processing. Volante is helping banks achieve 100% STP through automation.
“Banks can create new apps and services very easily for payments, through our digital transformation layer, allowing fast, flexible and cost-effective innovation. Banks haven’t chosen us simply for payments but for the strong, solid, digital transformation platform which we have developed over time, and kept up to date with the latest technology.”
And the industry needs collaboration between innovative companies, regulators and banks, including smaller banks. “We see this as being about “joining the dots” – of the entire payment experience that end customers want, from end to end – between these varied payment initiatives,” adds the CEO.
“Such collaboration gives birth to propositions that one hopes the end customer will be attracted to and our specific focus when collaborating is to simplify and automate the end customer experience. We are working with leading industry groups such as Nacha, ISO, and the UK’s Standards Advisory Panel to make this happen.”
“Over 20 years we have built a lot of credibility in the industry — we have never lost a customer. Trust is in our DNA. Banks want agility and speed, and they also want reliable long-term partners.”
After all, Volante is and always has been focused on easing, simplifying and automating payments processing and financial messaging, which continues to be the lifeblood of the financial market place.
By Tom Groenfeldt, senior staff writer, FinTech Futures