Unexpected Allies

Brian Anderson and Nicky Senyard

Meeting serendipitously at a ThinkTECH Accelerator showcase, Fintel Connect and Finzly prove that the best relationships allow both partners to complement each other’s strengths.

By Colleen Morrison

When companies sign on to the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, they are looking to home their products and services to better support community banks. But sometimes, unexpected business opportunities arise.

Such was the case for 2020 accelerator alumni Fintel Connect and Finzly. The two companies announced that they would be collaborating to offer a complete digital growth solution for bank partners. Combining Finzly’s cloud-based operating system with Fintel Connect’s digital marketing solution allows community banks to both operate more efficiently and strengthen marketing return on investment.

“Our partnership provides banks with an ability to drive new business into the bank and to onboard those new customers quickly.”
—Brian Anderson, Finzly

“New customer acquisition requires new and modern approaches to streamline the onboarding process and to make it affordable from a bank marketing budget perspective,” says Brian Anderson, vice president of banking transformation at Finzly. “Our partnership provides banks with an ability to drive new business into the bank and to onboard those new customers quickly.”

Fintel Connect CEO Nicky Senyard concurs: “With our partnership, Finzly solves part of the problem, giving banks access to technology that will help them be more efficient, and the next thing you need is to identify new customers, which is where we come into play. It’s very much a one-two punch.”

Recognizing synergies …

Brian Anderson: We had the good fortune of sitting immediately next to our friends from Fintel Connect at [ThinkTECH Accelerator venue] The Venture Center in Little Rock, Ark. This created a natural space in which to share stories and knowledge. Since Finzly hosts and manages digital account opening solutions for financial institutions, we found a natural synergy.

Nicky Senyard: Finzly’s system gives us a linchpin that lets us see transparently what’s going on. With its data, we have closed loop tracking that can monitor responses to marketing efforts, and we can evaluate how it’s performing to help banks see how what they’re doing is working and how they can save money. We see it as a win-win.

… through the collaborative environment of the Accelerator.

Senyard: I don’t think we would have met Finzly had we not participated in the accelerator. In fact, the accelerator really served as a launch pad to our expansion; it gave us an introduction to clients and partners who we would never have found and who would never have found us.

Anderson: The ThinkTECH Accelerator encouraged our companies to look for synergies with all other participants and to help identify prospects for each other. As community bankers visited The Venture Center, they too, presented the cohort with ways in which we might work together.

Now, the two are helping community banks conquer today’s digital-first landscape …

Anderson: Digital experiences are not just skin-deep. The new generation of customers is seeking intuitive functionality, and they are on a constant quest for a service that suits their personal needs. We have met with scores of banks to discuss how they are modernizing their approach to attracting new customers. There has been a lot of positive feedback on bringing performance marketing, customer acquisition and account opening into one continuous process.

Senyard: Digital acquisition does not have to be a scary black hole; there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We develop our products specifically for the needs of community banks, and they have transparency so bankers can review performance and better allocate resources.

… and advising companies to keep advancing their digital journeys.

Anderson: Bank business models need to … focus both on providing a great experience for customers and opening pathways to continuous innovation. Both Fintel Connect and Finzly are about democratizing access to best-in-class fintech solutions, so banks don’t have to rely on expensive, complex, difficult-to-deploy solutions.

Senyard: When you look behind a waterfall, you see you have a series of ledges that leads to the top. That’s the journey for community banks in digital acquisition: They just have to get to the next ledge, one step at a time, and we’re here to support them as they advance their digital programs.

Connect with FinXTech

Since it started in 2019, the ThinkTECH Accelerator—founded by ICBA with The Venture Center—aims to identify, promote and foster solution-based relationships between community banks and fintechs.

During that time, several emerging and growing financial technology providers have been selected as annual finalists in the Accelerator’s cohort program and included in ICBA’s FinXTech Connect, a curated directory of each company with a proven roster of bank clients.

To learn more or search for a provider, visit tech.icba.org

Colleen Morrison is a writer in Maryland.

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