Bank, Fintech, and Core Combine to Provide Enhanced Client Experience

Once, banks developed and serviced most of the products they offered to their customers and commercial clients. However, the rapid pace of technological advancement demands increasing expertise in ever-more technical areas, so many institutions now partner with technology providers in order to better serve their customers. One example is a recent collaboration between AscendantFX, Madison-based Bankers' Bank, and Fiserv.

Bankers' Bank has facilitated international transfers for its bank clients for many years, but it was seeking greater efficiencies on behalf of its customers. "International transfers have been part of our strategy for our customers for a long time. Anything we can do to make it easier for our customers, we're going to do that," explained Bankers' Bank CFO Matt Sitkowski. Knowing that many of the bank's clients also have Fiserv as their core provider, Bankers' Bank sought a partner to build an integration, eventually selecting AscendantFX, a leading technology-based payment provider. 

The partnership was a good fit for Bankers' Bank, its customers, and AscendantFX. "There were other partners on the Fiserv platform that did what we did, but they're very large," explained Dan Caputo, vice president of global payment solutions at AscendantFX. "Community banks like to work with smaller companies who are more service-focused. Bankers' Bank came to us as potential partners with service in mind." 

With Bankers' Bank as a 50 percent funding partner, AscendantFX built a new integration into the Fiserv WireXchange® wire transfer solution—a flexible, web-based solution for completing end-to-end wire transfers that provides an affordable option for financial institutions to increase efficiency and security of the wire transfer process. The integration is enabled by an API module developed in close collaboration with Bankers' Bank. This approach allows Bankers' Bank to support community bank customers that otherwise would not have had access to a cost-effective wire transfer solution. "This partnership has allowed community banks in Wisconsin and several other states to be able to offer international services and gain a competitive advantage," Caputo explained. "It levels the playing field a little so they don't have to send that customer down the street. It allows them to service them completely."

One of the major benefits of the new product for banks utilizing Fiserv core products is the efficiencies gained through a seamless integration. "A key advantage of working with Fiserv is that we are able to provide clients with access to a robust ecosystem of integrated capabilities," explained Bailey Nelson, director of operations management at Fiserv. "WireXchange integrates with Fiserv bank and credit union core platforms, and other corporate and consumer-facing applications. WireXchange also integrates with certain non-Fiserv core platforms, in addition to a number of foreign exchange service providers and fraud solution applications."

This type of collaboration could be the way of the future in the banking industry, as well. "No one party can do everything and be an expert in it," said Caputo. "The costs of compliance can be so expensive that it can be beneficial to have multiple partners sharing those costs." He also pointed out that it is easier to achieve economies of scale through partnerships. Sitkowski emphasized the importance of customer service in selecting opportunities for partnerships. "Bankers' Bank is a solutions provider for our clients, so anything we can do to work within the scope of what their concerns are," he said, noting that "cooperative exchanges" like the one with AscendantFX and Fiserv offer quality solutions for clients. Nelson also indicated collaboration between technology companies and banks is likely to grow. "Our goal is to enhance the client experience and provide an efficient and secure method for clients to move money globally, and collaboration furthers this goal," she said. "Fiserv is in a unique position to further innovation by serving as a connection point between technology companies and our thousands of bank and credit union clients.

Bankers Bank is a WBA Gold Associate Member.