Financial service providers are diversifying.
Whether it’s American Express‘ expansion of small business lending through its takeover of Kabbage, or QuickBooks‘ entrance into banking with the launch of QuickBooks Cash, there are opportunities for these companies to expand their product offering to add value for customers while driving new revenue streams for the finserv itself.
It’s a win-win model that may seem fairly obvious. But there’s another opportunity that is less inherent.
Businesses that aren’t in the financial services space have a similarly significant value proposition for themselves and their clients by stepping into the finserv arena, according to Alviere CEO Yuval Brisker and Co-Founder Pedro Silva. It may not seem a likely business model path for some organizations, yet with the global pandemic pulling the curtain back on the importance of business model flexibility, Brisker and Silva said businesses of all kinds should consider how offering financial services can bring value — both for themselves and their customers.
Opportunity For Companies
The most immediate opportunity for organizations outside of the financial services realm to step into the space is in introducing new revenue streams for firms, a particularly enticing opportunity for firms that have experienced cash flow disruptions as a result of the pandemic.
While the ability to add payment processing services into your offering — that is, plug in the function of accepting payments from customers — has been well commoditized today, less so is the ability to introduce other financial products like loans, deposit accounts, debit card services, foreign transfers or loyalty programs. Yet many non-finserv firms are indeed in a position to add such offerings.
“Small service providers have a lot of money on their balance sheets, and they can actually issue a loan off that balance sheet,” Silva offered as one example, adding that service providers can use their mobile apps and websites that are already collecting payments to do more with the money they collect on behalf of their buyer.
Where the “rubber meets the road,” said Brisker, is in embracing an opportunity firms might have never considered before. In doing so, organizations can embrace a flexible business model to drive up competitiveness while introducing services that reinforce the customer relationship.
“The minute you start offering these services, taking people’s money and putting it in an account, you become mission-critical to those customers,” he said. “They have trusted you with their financial life.”
Opportunity For Customers
For both B2B and B2C organizations across industries, the value in offering financial services that interact with the money customers spend with that service provider anyway can foster a holistic ecosystem that similarly drives up value for the customers themselves.
In addition to no longer having to toggle between a banking provider and another service provider, accessing financial services and products from a familiar company can enhance the client experience — and even lower costs.
Brisker presented one scenario in which a service provider actually reduces the price of its core offerings to position itself even more competitively with its customer base. In doing so, customers can shrink costs, while that service provider can balance out financials by adding the new finserv revenue streams.
“You’re getting paid for the things that customers would do anyway,” he explained, “meaning putting money in the bank, using a debit card to take money out of a bank account. Today, no one’s benefitting truly from that, other than the bank in a closed environment.”
Non-finserv companies’ opportunity to step into the financial services landscape is all about driving up competition. Yet in order to accomplish this, they need partners to support the journey. Alviere hopes to be one of those partners. The company recently launched its HIVE offering, a plug-and-play platform to allow companies to pick which financial services they would like to offer their own customers, and get that service up and running.
Silva emphasized the importance of collaboration in addressing the most challenging aspects of expanding a business model. In financial services, that usually means regulatory compliance.
“When you’re actually live and serving customers, how exposed are you to regulators?” he said. “For companies that really were never exposed to regulators in the financial services industry, that’s where we come with huge expertise.”
Both Silva and Brisker also highlighted opportunities in open banking frameworks to further drive collaboration through introducing even more capabilities on platforms like HIVE. It may seem daunting for an organization unfamiliar with the finserv market to step into the space, but when working with partners, these firms can do so efficiently and securely.
Moving forward, as more firms take up this opportunity, there will be room for significant evolution in the financial services landscape overall. Brisker said it will be imperative to foster a similarly evolved relationship between these businesses and their partners like Alviere who facilitate this finserv enablement.
“When you look at the insular world of financial institutions, they’ve had their role, but I would call it a 20th century model. It’s kind of over,” he said. “When you look into the 21st century, and the interconnectivity and openness of everything … I think it’s a good thing.”