Deciphering transparency in payments with Laura Paul
By Martin Morris, senior staff writer, FinTech Futures
Laura Paul is engaging. She has to be in her role as Appian’s financial services industry lead responsible for engaging with customers, partners, and analysts to solve digital transformation challenges in the banking and capital markets sector. FinTech Futures talks to Laura about how these challenges can be met.
Having had previous management roles at Visa, Ernst & Young and Gap, Paul – who holds an MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business, and a BA in economics and communications from Rutgers University – was attracted to Appian by its honesty and transparency.
Or as she describes it: “The feeling that we are all committed to the success of our team both collectively and individually with a constant focus on the success of our clients.”
“I love knowing that I will continue having opportunities to learn and grow,” she adds.
In a rapidly evolving business environment Paul sees payments as the “place where we are seeing the most changes – particularly: blockchain, mobile payments, new concerns about customer data and privacy and regulatory changes, next generation payment methods that bypass banks and credit cards, (and) providing new opportunities for the unbanked and underbanked.”
Changes in cross border payments, for example, are impacting the industry when it comes to customer experience.
As Paul puts it: “Customer expectations affect every aspect of financial services – cross border payments need to happen fast, be fully traceable and completely transparent.”
Appian is currently working with Swift on its global payments innovation (gpi) to speed up the resolution of operational, compliance and regulatory-related issues that can arise along the payments chain.
Indeed, the need to dramatically improve international payments transparency has never been greater. Yet the challenge has been keeping pace with the increasing security and compliance regulations which requires quick technological changes, and this has, in part, created more innovation in the banking tech space.
The Holy Grail had long been end-to-end tracking so that the customer knew when a payment was made, where the payment was and when it had been received.
Until recently, this wasn’t possible because each bank was only able to guarantee and share information on its own part of the payment journey. The launch of Swift gpi in 2017, with its tracker database, finally made end-to-end visibility on the status of a payment transaction a reality.
The tracker, through ‘stop and recall’, allows for an immediate halt to payments not yet credited and can recall payments already credited. It can be updated by FIN message or via API and can be accessed through a graphical user interface (GUI) or by API calls to allow the service to be embedded in other back office systems, according to Swift.
Subsequent to this, a payment investigation and resolution service (extending to non-gpi payments too) was rolled-out; allowing for dynamic query handling between banks, enabling them to quickly resolve cases where regulatory, operational or compliance information has either been incorrectly submitted or is simply missing.
As Paul puts it: “Swift is at the cutting edge of finding more effective ways to manage case exceptions in an environment that’s dynamic. Appian is the perfect fit, as our dynamic case management expertise enables them to engage very quickly, and in a very compelling way.”