Jacco de Jong, sales lead at Bolero International (WiseTech Global Group), outlines the ways in which fintech companies are leveraging the latest digital trends to support financial institutions and boost their competitiveness.
In the dynamic and rapidly evolving digital landscape of today, the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and other transformative technologies has emerged as a powerful catalyst, driving sweeping changes across industries spanning from corporations to governments. These relentless technological advancements are reshaping the traditional landscape of financial institutions, leaving them with a critical choice: either embrace the imperative of digital transformation or face the risk of becoming obsolete.
At the forefront of this digital revolution stand fintech companies, serving as trailblazers in the realm of cutting-edge financial technology. Working in close collaboration with financial institutions of all scales and scopes, these fintechs, including Bolero, assume a pivotal role in guiding these institutions through the ever-shifting landscape and empowering them to meet the increasingly dynamic needs of their customers.
By embracing the latest digital trends and developments, Bolero and other fintech firms offer a diverse array of solutions that effectively equip financial institutions to not only adapt to but also thrive within an era characterised by pervasive technological disruption:
Delivering an exceptional digital experience at lightning speed
The demand for delivering an exceptional digital experience at lightning speed has become increasingly critical in the trade finance industry. In the past, large financial institutions faced significant obstacles, including high costs, time constraints and complex implementation processes, when attempting to provide fully digitised services to their trade customers. As a result, they struggled to meet the evolving expectations of their clients.
However, with the emergence of fintech solutions like Bolero’s Galileo trade portal-as-a-service (TPaaS), banks now have the opportunity to overcome these challenges and offer comprehensive transactional and related activities through a single portal application. Bolero’s Galileo TPaaS empowers banks to streamline their operations and meet the demands of their trade customers efficiently.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further underscored the limitations of traditional trade finance operations. It accelerated the need for digital trade services as businesses faced disruptions, travel restrictions and the necessity for remote work. In this context, trade customers increasingly prefer conducting their business online, seeking speed, convenience and security in their transactions. This shift in customer behaviour has compelled banks to swiftly digitise their customer experience to avoid losing valuable clients to more digitally agile competitors.
By embracing Bolero’s Galileo TPaaS and similar fintech solutions, banks such as UBS have been able to enhance their capabilities with Bolero and deliver truly digitised experiences. These digital trade services enable quick and efficient business operations, providing trade customers with seamless access to a range of services, including trade finance, documentation management and electronic correspondence. The digitisation of these processes improves efficiency, reduces paperwork, minimises errors and accelerates transaction processing times, ultimately benefiting both the banks and their trade customers.
Moreover, the availability of a comprehensive trade portal-as-a-service solution like Galileo TPaaS eliminates the need for banks to invest in building and supporting complex in-house solutions. The associated costs and technical burdens are significantly reduced, allowing banks to redirect their resources and focus on core competencies and customer-centric innovations. This cost-effective and streamlined approach allows banks of all sizes, including smaller regional banks with limited trade clients, to leverage the advantages of a robust trade portal solution.
Resolving portal challenges for seamless customer experiences
With corporations rapidly digitising their trade finance processes, banks face immense pressure to provide improved digital services to their corporate customers. Many banks have discovered that their existing portal solutions no longer meet their clients’ requirements.
Corporate clients now seek solutions that can adapt swiftly and flexibly to new demands, facilitating a seamless transition from outdated systems to more innovative ones. They desire solutions that handle trade finance transactions and facilitate electronic correspondence between trade clients and banks.
Overcoming the cost barrier and unleashing new possibilities
Despite a strong appetite for improved trade customer experiences, many banks hesitate due to the prohibitive total cost of ownership associated with trade portals. The high setup costs impede the adoption of these services.
However, Bolero’s subscription-based turnkey solution, Galileo TPaaS, dramatically reduces the acquisition cost, making it a fraction of the traditional expense. It eliminates the need for banks to invest in building and supporting complex solutions, upgrading them and ensuring compliance with regulatory changes. By replacing legacy systems with a state-of-the-art technology platform, banks can deliver a more sophisticated digital experience at a lower cost.
This plug-and-play solution opens up the market for financial institutions of all sizes, enabling even smaller regional banks with limited trade clients to benefit from a robust trade portal solution.
Liberating banks from technical debt and streamlining innovations
Bespoke solutions often burden banks with technical debt due to the costly maintenance of trade portals. To cut costs and free themselves from constant updates for trade customers, many banks are embracing white-label solutions. By doing so, banks can focus on enhancing their online banking platforms and revolutionising the customer experience without the technical burdens associated with in-house solutions.
Ensuring structured communications and audit trails
Maintaining clear and well-defined communications and audit trails between banks and clients is paramount. By ensuring unambiguous communication, banks can avoid potential misunderstandings. It is also crucial that the correct parties respond promptly to communications, creating a clear record of the exchange for all involved individuals.
Without proper structure and clear messaging, delays in responding to requests from banks may occur. Instances where clients are unaware of deadlines or required actions can be avoided through streamlined communication processes.
Connecting corporates to banking partners
The increasing demand for multi-bank trade finance solutions has presented a challenge for corporates that work with multiple banks. Interacting with each bank individually can be time-consuming, inefficient and cumbersome. This is particularly true for smaller corporates that may lack the bargaining power of larger counterparts when it comes to influencing bank formats and processes.
To address this issue, corporates can advocate for collaboration among their banks by adopting or building a multi-bank solution. By implementing a unified platform that connects multiple banks, corporates can streamline their interactions, consolidate their financial activities and simplify their trade finance processes. While the initial investment in developing or adopting such a solution may require time and resources, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs.
By utilising a multi-bank solution, corporates gain several advantages. First, they can eliminate the need to maintain separate relationships and processes with each bank, saving time and reducing administrative overhead. Second, a unified platform allows for seamless data exchange, enabling better visibility and control over financial activities across multiple banks. This centralised approach enhances efficiency, reduces errors and improves decision-making.
For corporates, the ability to work with multiple banks through a single interface provides flexibility and choice. They can leverage the strengths and specialised services of different banks while avoiding the limitations of being tied to a single institution. This freedom to select and collaborate with multiple banks based on their unique requirements helps corporates to optimise their financial operations and drive better outcomes.
On the other side, many banks struggle to meet the growing demand for multi-bank solutions. Their focus on addressing individual client needs often leaves little room for exploring new options or services. As a result, banks may either turn away potential clients seeking multi-bank solutions or provide suboptimal products that do not fully meet the needs of corporates. This presents an opportunity for banks to embrace collaboration and innovation by investing in robust multi-bank platforms or partnering with fintech companies that specialise in this area.
By actively engaging in the development and implementation of multi-bank solutions, banks can not only cater to the needs of corporates but also expand their customer base and enhance their competitiveness in the market. Offering comprehensive and user-friendly multi-bank solutions can attract more corporate clients and foster stronger relationships with existing ones. It enables banks to differentiate themselves from competitors, demonstrating their commitment to customer-centricity and their ability to adapt to changing market dynamics.
In today’s constantly changing business environment, companies need to be willing to adapt to new technologies in order to succeed. This is especially important in the field of trade finance banking, where the digital era is advancing quickly. Financial institutions must explore new territories and use the latest innovations to transform from within. By partnering with fintech experts, institutions can redefine the rules of the game and achieve operational excellence.