How the UK’s banks and fintechs can smooth the way for SMEs

July 6, 2021
How the UK’s banks and fintechs can smooth the way for SMEs

The UK’s SMEs are under constant pressure from all sides: operating under the enormous uncertainty of Covid, struggling to recruit and retain bright people, and always in need of swift, secure and targeted help from banks. 

It is fortunate, then, that it seems that UK banks and fintechs are developing better ways to collaborate in order to make business banking easier and more secure for the almost 6m smaller businesses across the country.

Given the various pressures, not working smoothly with their financial service providers is one headache they don’t need, explained Professor Barbara Casu Lukac of Bayes Business School, who recently took part in a webinar hosted by DueDil.

Titled ‘Beyond Compliance’; a webinar focused on the challenges facing the UK banking and fintech worlds to deliver smart compliance solutions.  This  webinar brought together the combined expertise of academics, technologists and financial crime experts to look at the ways in which new and established providers can work together with regulators to improve the banking services on offer to SMEs.

According to Professor Casu Lukac:

“Firms always mention the different requirements from different banks which means that the onboarding process is not the same. If you are applying for credit from two different banks then your boarding process can be different: the type of documents that are required is different.”

Another important pain point that is often mentioned is the lack of transparency. “Companies are often left without a good indication of where their application is, why it is being held up, what documents are missing, why they are not receiving a reply; and this can be sometimes a matter of weeks and companies need the funds to carry on with their work and investments and so on.”

Professor Casu Lukac’s point was echoed by Justin Fitzpatrick, CEO of DueDil. “There was a real need within a lot of financial institutions to find ways of serving these SME customers better, because the processes that they had in place and the tools they had in place were incredibly manual, and very, very time consuming, with poor customer experience,” he said.

And he pointed out that by adopting digital risk monitoring and smarter onboarding processes, banks and other financial institutions now have the opportunity to not only reduce the time and cost spent on assessing SME risk profile but also to better understand the pain points and needs of smaller firms. 

As Ricky Lee, founder of sync. said, it requires all participants in the market to address where they can do better. “One of the biggest problems for the challenger banks market is customer support: people are now willing to go back to their banks for the customer support, just to have that backing,” he said, explaining that if a business owner has just spent days waiting for online chat or there's no phone number, it will drive a trend: “It comes and goes - we all like the chat but now we want the phone, or vice versa - so challenger banks need to go and reinvent the customer support experience.”

For Matthew Tataryn, head of financial crime at Tide, the move towards a more digital, real-time approach to risk assessment and Know Your Business (KYB) marks a significant evolution in the UK’s SME/fintech ecosystem. “What we need to be working on, and I think we really need that further support from the regulator and working with other providers such as DueDil and other companies like sync on what we can do to come together to be able to get in front of this battle and really work on the things that matter right now.”


To hear the full discussion visit our event page.

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