Fintechs: Empowering SMEs through Covid-19
By David Macnamara on Friday, 3 July 2020
The following is a synopsis of Teamspirit’s late June online Fintech event, in partnership with The Financial Services Forum. You can now hear a recording of the full event, just press hit play below.
For many SMEs, the last few months have been a huge challenge in terms of cashflow. Delays to emergency loan payments and huge uncertainty about when life might return to normal have created huge difficulties for them, with many needing to rely on government support to get through this period. And, clearly, there are more challenges for the SME sector ahead.
In a well-attended online event, in partnership with The Financial Services Forum, Teamspirit’s Fiona Couper was in discussion with some of the Fintechs helping address some of these issues:
- Tim Boag, Group Managing Director, Business Finance, Aldermore Bank
- Andrew Sieprath, Vice President Business Development, Credit Kudos
- Johnnie Ball, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Fluidly
- Paul Morrison, COO, Helix Resilience
- Samantha Seaton, CEO, Moneyhub
Despite being viewed as the world’s Fintech capital, the UK Government has been criticised as being slow in utilising its Fintech network compared to countries such as Switzerland, Germany and Singapore. During our event, however, speakers shared examples of the world-class product agility that UK Fintechs have been delivering to help fill gaps in the system.
Tim Boag from Aldermore commented, “the most important thing at first was to provide comfort through payment holidays. Once that was sorted, the second need was to fulfil the requirements for funding and accessing the various schemes. As the established banks struggled with their responses, we were able to help businesses navigate the schemes, provide legal guidance and use our technology to do things quicker.”
Speakers also brought up their sector’s predictive and modelling capabilities, which are now accessible to SMEs, to help them better navigate towards recovery. As well as looking at how Open Banking, which underpins so much of this innovation, has recently been ‘turbocharged’.
As Sam Seaton said “The power that many Fintechs have is access to real-time data – which allows businesses to respond much more quickly. This gives you a real finger on the pulse on what’s happening. That is something we haven’t had before. Those businesses that focus on their customers will win out.”
Looking into the future, we also asked the panellists what they felt financial services needed to change to ‘build back better’ - and what would make the biggest difference for SMEs. Bringing interesting responses.
Tim Boag commented that the key response required from financial services providers was “to align with their customers’ needs. This requires more openness and responsiveness on both sides. Understanding your supply chain, your payment terms and managing cashflow, will all become even more important over the next few months.”
Andrew Sieprath from Credit Kudos felt that it would be key for SMEs to take advantage of Open Banking, pushing towards an Open Finance model, and then using that data more effectively.
The event also looked at how Fintechs are addressing new challenges (such as mental health) that companies are expected to face as we come out of lockdown.
Helix Resilience’s Paul Morrison felt strongly that the industry needed to recognise the importance of mental health. And that to prevent poor wellbeing, businesses will need to demonstrate even stronger resilience, and build deeper relationships with their employees.
Moneyhub’s Samantha Seaton concluded that now is the time to focus on more personalised experiences for customers, so we can demonstrate, as an industry, that we really understand their needs and address them faster.
Many thanks to all of our panellists. If you’d like to discuss how your business can empower SMEs through Covid-19 and beyond, please contact us at email@example.com