Build, buy, or partner are the three paths to innovation for most banks, and Truist is planning to use a combination of all three to take it into the future.
The bank had been considering hiring the fintech Long Game, which created an app that uses mobile games to help people save money while learning about personal finance. That conversation grew into an acquisition that has increased Truist’s ability to build new financial services.
In the latest episode of the IPA Payments Pod, Lindsay Holden, the founder of Long Game, and Christina Russ, the head of strategi investment initiatives for Truist Ventures, discuss how the deal came about, how it will increase Truist’s innovation capacities going forward, and what other fintechs and banks can learn from the deal.
The IPA thanks our member sponsor, Netspend, for helping to make this show possible.
This podcast was recorded on October 20, 2022. Things may have changed by the time you hear it.
You can find the podcast here, or wherever you get your podcasts. Make sure to subscribe, leave us a review, and share it with your colleagues.
Answers provided by Kathy Clark, SVP Operational Excellence, Ubiquity
What is your company’s role in the payments industry (program manager, issuer, processor, service provider, etc.)?
Ubiquity helps payments industry innovators and disruptors deliver world-class customer experience through multichannel contact centers, but a significant portion of our business is devoted to managing what we call banking operations. That includes manual IDV, OFAC watchlisting screening, client or customer due diligence, fraud investigations, as well as dispute and chargeback management. For the latter, we customize our approach by client in a way that minimizes friction for their customers while also protecting their business from compliance and fraud risk. We’re proud to be achieving a 99% or higher compliance rate across millions of touchpoints a month, which has helped us become the provider of choice for many issuing banks, processors, and digital banking challengers. Our leadership team grew up in managed services for prepaid and emerging payments. That experience really fueled the formation of Ubiquity, which was founded 10 years ago on the firm belief that our clients and their customers deserve better than what has been traditionally offered from business process outsourcing relationships.
What kinds of payment companies do you support?
It really runs the gamut from prepaid pioneers to Banking-as-a-Service innovators to crypto cards to more traditional brands that are embracing embedded finance solutions. We understand what it takes not only to provide amazing service to cardholders who are nervous about their balance or a suspicious transaction, but we also specialize in reducing costs per cardholder and mitigating fraud losses. In the current economic environment where everything costs more, fraud (first-party and third-party) is on the rise, fintech funding is at its lowest levels since 2020, and hiring is extremely difficult, we come in to provide optimized customer experience and banking operations that help brands achieve profitability and set them up for long-term success.
What kinds of special features do your products and services offer?
While we absolutely have technology solutions to optimize CX and performance management, we’re fundamentally a people business. That means we devote a lot of time and resources into employee experience. We know that when employees are empowered to do their best work–and rewarded for it–that translates to better experiences for our clients and their customers.
We’ve built and nurtured strong teams of subject matter experts that can really consult with our clients at the onset of a relationship but also in an ongoing capacity. We’re always looking for ways to do things better, and we know that in payments and fintech, our clients have to be able to adapt to changes from customers, competitors, and even regulators.
On the technology front, everything we do is about helping customers self-serve or making it easier for agents to do their jobs well. For example, we offer IVR design and optimization, a performance management platform specifically created for the contact center environment, and we incubated an artificial intelligence technology that serves as a “digital assistant” to agents while they work, prompting the next best action based on trigger words during a conversation. The AI technology has helped reduce average handle time but also minimize regulatory complaints, which our digital banking clients appreciate.
Most recently we’ve begun testing a proprietary dispute management tool, which we’ll be rolling out in Q1 2023. The tool is designed to make it easier for dispute analysts to speed up their investigation process by automating tasks and auto-populating certain fields to reduce errors, while ensuring there’s a clear audit trail, and greater visibility for clients into performance and productivity. With fraud and fraudulent disputes on the rise, we’re excited to have a more sophisticated platform for managing this sensitive work. And it was also important for us to build something that was easy to integrate with our clients tools and systems and that has enough flexibility to customize capabilities and reporting.
What kinds of companies are you looking to partner with?
Any company that puts a premium on CX, security, and compliance. None of those things should be mutually exclusive. I know everyone is tired of talking about the pandemic, but the truth is that it put into sharp relief the need for banks and digital challengers to level up their customer service. And even tech companies that have largely tried to eliminate phone conversations are coming around to the fact that there are times when customers want to talk to a person to resolve their issue–they don’t want to wade through a knowledgebase or suffer through an endless litany of choices that don’t fit their needs, or talk to a chatbot that can’t make heads or tails of their request. We see the best CX as harnessing the strengths of technology–automation, productivity, self-service–and combining it with the creativity, problem-solving, and empathy of human agents.
What do you think the future of payments holds in the next five years?
Even though we’re facing a difficult economic and funding environment right now, payments and fintech will continue to thrive as long as companies can prioritize CX and actually achieve profitability. We know that the demand for innovative financial products that help consumers get ahead has never been more pronounced, and the lines will continue to blur between financial and non-financial brands and where consumers will feel comfortable getting those services. We’re excited about what the future holds because we know that brands will find new ways to differentiate themselves through exceptional CX.
To learn more, visit ubiquity.com.
Kathy Clark, SVP, Operational Excellence
Kathy Clark has more than 25 years of experience managing operations for highly complex and regulated industries. She joined Ubiquity after nearly 13 years at Higher One, a fintech company that later became BankMobile. In that time, Kathy led a group of more than 100 employees including vice presidents and other senior leaders responsible for everything from customer service escalations and error resolution to loss prevention and operational effectiveness. She has extensive knowledge of state and federal banking regulatory requirements and payment network rules. Kathy initially spearheaded Ubiquity’s Center of Excellence in Banking Operations, which ensures the highest levels of regulatory compliance and quality control, while mitigating client losses related to disputes and chargebacks. Her scope now extends across all lines of business, where Kathy’s expertise helps drive efficiencies, accuracy, and the best possible results for Ubiquity clients in every vertical.
With the midterm elections approaching, members of Congress are paying more attention to their campaigns than financial services legislation. But the regulators aren’t facing re-election, so their focus on the industry has not wavered.
In the latest episode of the IPA Payments Pod, the Association’s government relations team, Brian Tate, the association’s CEO, and Chris Stromberg, the director of government relations, discuss recent actions by the regulators, including debit card transaction routing rules and the latest activity at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They also cover what the midterm elections might mean for the future of financial services regulation.
The IPA thanks our member sponsor, Netspend, for helping to make this show possible.
This podcast was recorded on October 13, 2022. Things may have changed by the time you hear it. You can find it here, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Make sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss out on future episodes.
Good marketing seems like it would be a crucial part of any business plan, but even the best marketing plans in the world come with risks.
In the latest episode of the IPA Payments Pod, we present a lightly edited version of the audio from our Oct. 4 webinar, The Dangers of Good Marketing with Adwait Joshi, the founder and Chief Seer at DataSeers, an AI software provider for banks and fintechs.
He discusses the risks of good marketing, including the business risks of attracting the wrong kinds of customers and the security risks of drawing the attention of fraudsters. He also talks about how to implement solutions.
We want to thank our member sponsor NetSpend for supporting the show.
If you are planning to attend Money 20/20 and need something to listen to on your flight, then make sure to check out our past episodes where we cover everything from crypto to privacy to transaction filtering. And of course, there are plenty of episodes about compliance. You can find the back catalog at on this website or wherever you get your podcasts.
And be sure to subscribe to the Payments Pod so that you don't miss our next episode where we talk with Truist about what its recent acquisition of the fintech Long Game means for the bank's future.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.