Q&A: Mambu’s Eelco-Jan Boonstra on communicating the value of Open Banking

Ellie Duncan,
01 Nov 2021

Open Banking Expo’s Ellie Duncan caught up with Eelco-Jan Boonstra, managing director of EMEA at Mambu (pictured below), to discuss how banks and fintechs can better communicate the value of Open Banking to consumers and how the industry stepped up during the pandemic to meet the needs of SMEs.

1. When did you join Mambu, and what was it about the role and business that appealed?

I joined Mambu in June 2019 with 20 years of experience in growing modern technology solutions, building efficient commercial teams and pivoting business strategies to best meet market fit.

It was clear that there was a rapid growth opportunity for Mambu in the EMEA region. The company was experiencing international expansion, and there was a need to bring the team closer together to broaden the partner ecosystem and achieve strategic customer wins. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions like Mambu’s core banking platform often require an adaptation of traditional commercial processes to effectively deliver on the regional demand, and I was eager to identify internal optimisations to push the envelope further.

2. Mambu’s recent report on Open Banking highlighted the disconnect when it comes to consumers embracing what Open Banking is delivering and them understanding what Open Banking is. What needs to change here in terms of messaging from the banks and fintechs?

Consumers value transparency from their banks, and when it comes to Open Banking, the industry has seen a lack of understanding from end users. To lighten this, it’s key for banks and fintechs to communicate the value in clear and easy-to-comprehend terms.

To give an example, Mambu recently conducted a survey on the consumer sentiment towards Open Banking. This showed us that half of consumers felt the safety was never clearly explained, and that many customers are concerned about privacy and security. The many benefits, like the ability to personalise product offerings by leveraging secure customer data, must be highlighted more explicitly in order to see increased adoption of the solutions made possible through Open Banking.

3. The financial services landscape has changed greatly since the onset of the pandemic, with SMEs, in particular, facing a lot of uncertainty. How has the industry been able to adapt to meet those changing needs?

Financial services were experiencing notable changes pre-Covid-19, and the onset of the pandemic increased the need for banking modernisation even more. As everyday life began to look different, a digital-first approach became essential to meet the new way of living.

People across the world, particularly small business owners, were faced with uncertainty not seen since the financial crisis of 2008. And when it comes to accessing reliable lending, SMEs often face more vulnerability due to lower returns and a high cost to serve.

However, as technology evolved and the need for access reached a critical moment, technology providers made sure this segment was not left behind. New industry players like challenger banks and fintechs began to offer improved decision-making, repayment terms, secured and unsecured lending and interest rates in order to meet the changing needs of SMEs.

Providers ramped up their effort and ability to offer innovative service models and customer-centric propositions, helping SMEs to access tailored financial services such as real-time, personalised assistance and immediate availability.

4. What does Mambu have in the pipeline when it comes to new features/products?

An advantage of true SaaS cloud solutions like Mambu is the ability to constantly innovate, improve and scale. Our API-first, cloud-native solution means Mambu can roll out new products and features by leveraging a high integration capability, in turn allowing customers to incorporate the latest technologies on the market into their banking architecture.

Mambu’s focus is on optimisations in lending, daily banking and the diverse ecosystem which allows for seamless connectivity with third-party providers, ranging from account origination to card issuers.

When it comes to a product pipeline, we push to encompass a state-of-the-art solution for our clients. Banks and financial institutions (FIs) can access agile, intuitive solutions while keeping cost, time and risk low. Change is the only certainty, and it is crucial to have an architecture that offers the flexibility to respond to it.

5. What do you think Open Banking and Open Finance will look like across Europe in five years’ time?

In five years, to keep up with growing competition and changing consumer demands, banks will boost their chances of success by diversifying product and service offerings which leverage Open Banking. The adoption of Open Banking will be critical to digital transformations and embracing modern technologies. Using real-time data will improve personalisation and product features, ultimately enhancing the end user experience.

Changing trends and customer expectations will also generate new industry standards. Banks and FIs will embrace opportunities available through Open Banking, including best-in-class partnerships, faster time to market, and improved onboarding and mobile services.

Open Banking should be at the forefront of digital strategy for banks across Europe moving forward and will help to deliver a ubiquitous, customer-centric offering. As the space matures, flexibility and agility will be essential to prepare for, and adapt to, regulatory changes as they come.