Home > News > Newsletters > March 2018 > Five Questions Celeros fintech strategy

Five Questions: Celero’s fintech strategy

Leanne Northwood joined Celero in 2017 in the role of director, Planning and Business Development, Banking and Omnichannel Solutions and Services at Celero. With previous leadership experience in technology, telecommunications and media organizations, Leanne has first-hand experience helping businesses and teams adapt to the changes brought on by digital disruption. We sat down with Leanne to learn more about Celero’s fintech strategy and how collaboration, not competition, is driving innovation in financial services.

Q: A few years ago, the mantra was “The fintechs are coming to take away your business!” The situation, however, seems to have changed. What are we saying about fintechs now?

A: Both sides of the equation, banks and credit unions on one side and fintechs on the other, have come to realize that partnership or collaboration is the way forward. Financial institutions can leverage the innovative thinking and great ideas fintechs offer, and disruptors can plug into existing client bases and core banking capabilities to help bring their product to market. I think both sides have figured out it’s too challenging to try to do everything themselves. And this trend is one that’s happening globally.

Q: Celero has a defined strategy to help credit unions identify potential fintech partners to bring new capabilities and technology to their organization. What does that mean?

A: We look to the market to find fintech companies that offer solutions or technology that credit unions could benefit from, and we look into them more thoroughly to see if they could be potential partners. We recently hosted a series of webinars featuring fintechs to allow credit unions to find out more about them, ask questions and gauge interest. If a credit union is interested in trying out a proof of concept with a fintech solution, we can help facilitate that. We can also find other credit unions who may be interested too, and help reduce overall costs.

Q: What are some of the qualities you look for when evaluating a potential fintech partner?

A: One of the big things is to ensure they have a product roadmap and a vision for the future. We also consider other factors like the level of innovation, scalability and sustainability. With the pace of change and innovation, it doesn’t make sense for a credit union to invest in a ‘one hit wonder’ and then own technology that can’t evolve. Another part is ensuring they can deliver on their commitments. A fintech may offer a fantastic solution, but if they can’t integrate it or deploy it in a way that works for your credit union, you’re going to be disappointed and lose valuable time getting the capabilities you want into market.

Q: Integration with current systems is an important component when evaluating fintech solutions. How is Celero enabling a “plug and play” model?

A: The term ‘Open Banking’ is getting used more and more. Essentially, it’s using open API’s - specifications of how software components should interact - to make it easier for developers to create software that can easily integrate with other systems. Celero is a member of the Credit Union Financial eXchange, an initiative to provide an industry-wide systems integration standard, which connects applications to core processing systems. We’re also implementing technology that allows us and credit unions to take advantage of the standardization and allow fintechs to easily integrate their solutions with core banking platforms and deploy technology quickly. The old approach to system integration is too expensive and takes too long for credit unions to offer innovative digital banking capabilities at the speed that need to.

Q: Are there any Fintech partnership success stories?

A: We’ve experienced a strong partnership with ASAPP Online Solutions, bringing their deposit, lending and registered deposit solution to Canadian credit unions. We now have four credit unions live in production, Steinbach Credit Union, Access Credit Union, Encompass Credit Union and our very first credit union, Me-Dian, which has ASAPP fully integrated with their DNA banking platform today. ASAPP has been extremely open and responsive to our credit union clients, providing quick responses to inquiries and demonstrating an openness to make configuration modifications when required. Their commitment to innovation and delivering projects on time have allowed credit unions to get into market quickly to better serve their members’ omnichannel needs.

Back to Issue