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Podcast: Digital bank grows account volumes by 420%

The digital, FDIC-insured bank looked to affiliate marketing platform Fintel Connect nearly two years ago to expand its reach, Fintel Connect Chief Executive Nicky Senyard tells Bank Automation News on this episode of “The Buzz” podcast. 

“When Live Oak came to us, they had been doing a lot on product, on testing, on messaging,” Senyard said. “And what we were able to do is, when we started working with them, we were able to bring their acquisition cost down.” 

Fintel Connect also works with Ramp, BMO, Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada and First Citizens Bank, according to its website. 

Listen as Senyard discusses how financial institutions can grow account volume, bring acquisition costs down and gain overall deposits. 

Get ready for the Bank Automation Summit U.S. 2024 in Nashville on March 18-19! Discover the latest advancements in AI and automation in banking. Register now.

The following is a transcript generated by AI technology that has been lightly edited but still contains errors.

Whitney McDonald 0:03
This episode of The buzz is brought to you by bank automation summit us 2024. This annual event is tailored to resonate with financial services professionals focused on business optimization through technology and automation. Learn how to overcome implementation challenges by hearing firsthand from C level executives from institutions, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo city and more. There is no better place to get a read on the competition than at Bank automation summit us 2024 Register now at Bank automation My name is Whitney McDonald and I’m the editor of bank automation News. Today is March 12 2020. For joining me as Nicky Senyard CEO and founder of FinTech connect, she is here to discuss how financial institutions can grow volume, bring acquisition costs down and gain deposits. Welcome to The Buzz Nikki.Nikki Senyard 0:51
Thanks very much. It’s great to be here. My name is Nicky Senyard I’m CEO and founder of Intel connect fintel Connect is a relatively new business by brand in the industry, but it’s a business that we Phoenix don’t have another business. I have a passion about solving problems. So affiliate marketing is a really good segue for me to help different businesses, financial institutions in this way, be able to utilize the power and voice of third party publishers like the nerd wallets of the world, the credit Commerce of the world to actually drive new customers. And the new customers can either go through to a deposit product, which we all know is very high topical at the moment, all through to loan products or credit cards or mortgages or whatever else. But we’re in a little niche. We’re the only ones in North America that find focus only on financial services for this type of acquisition marketing. So it’s a really cool space. And I love it. I love the intricacy of how all of the vendors work together from the coop providers to the digital account opening to the KYC. Guys are all the guys that do the product development in terms of giving banks really good choices and variety on different products that they want to offer. I find the industry completely fascinating. So I’m really excited to be part of it. AbsolutelyWhitney McDonald 2:26
seeing all the puzzle pieces connect right?

Nikki Senyard 2:30
That’s exactly right. Now,

Whitney McDonald 2:33
I’d love if you could tell me a little bit, I know that I know that you mentioned about pintle connect, or maybe you could tell me a little bit about the need for a connector between financial institutions and the right partner to get those acquisitions to Grove institutions.

Nikki Senyard 2:49
So I’m going to take it a bit, I’m going to go a bit big picture for a bit and then come back to it. Because I think context is always a really cool thing when you’re hearing about something. So if I go really big picture in marketing, there’s two types of buckets in marketing. One is brand marketing. And the other one is I call the acquisition marketing. Now the tactics in marketing are the same, whether that’s everybody’s heard about organic search engine optimization, they probably have heard of the term Pay Per Click advertising, they know the power of social media. All of those are different channels in these two buckets of marketing. But there is one channel in acquisition marketing called affiliate marketing. And that’s what extensively what our company fintel Connect is. And the power of affiliate marketing is we’re almost like the plumbing behind this type of acquisition. Because with affiliate marketing, you only pay for the client you get. So in all of those other forms of brand marketing or acquisition marketing, you’re paying for the click, you’re paying for the placement, you’re paying for the eyeball, which means that sort of like you’re paying to be in front of the audience. Whereas with affiliate marketing, you’re paying for the actual customer, approved customer you get. So with that, if you’re only paying for what you get, we need to make sure that we’ve got great connectivity between the website that sending the traffic through. And then the final result of you getting that customer. So what we do is, I call it the plumbing. So we basically provide the tracking and reporting behind that relationship that the customer actually doesn’t see. And the really cool thing about what we do is we track on a headless basis, which means we have no personal information about that customer, which is of course exactly what everybody wants with privacy, increased privacy laws increasing and all of that sort of stuff. So yeah, so that’s how we do what we do. We allow the bank to get reach out to all of these third parties. We can actually track where the customers come from So it gives them transparency. And we all know, data gives insight and with data, you can make better decisions. So that’s a really key element of what we do is provide that transparency through the data, as well as providing all of this connection to these third parties. That which banks may not actually have relationships with, but we do so they can leverage those relationships. So we provide them a pool of these really cool high value partners in terms of reference sites, educational pieces, as well as traffic. And we also provide them with the plumbing, I shouldn’t say that the tracking so so much more sophisticated, and to be able to see what goes on. So yeah, that’s what we do.

Whitney McDonald 5:46
Couple of things to unpack there. Of course, you can’t talk about anything within the industry right now without talking about the importance of data. And I think that’s important that you note that. But one thing I wanted to dig in a little bit deeper, and I know that you said the word plumbing, but I think we can get into that a little bit. And I know I’m skipping around a little bit. But I I’d like if you could maybe talk about the I know, you talked about how but maybe the technology, how does this really connect to an institution? What does that all entail to make all of this operate? Okay,

Nikki Senyard 6:18
so the most important for fact, versus headless data. So, and I’m very aware that privacy is crucially important to banks. So I’ll say headless David to start with. So the way that it actually happens is that we connect, I’ll talk about the flow, maybe that’s the best way of describing it. So people can imagine something in their mind. So these third parties log, the important thing about our technology is it’s third party login. So the bank logs in and sees their data and the publisher logs in it sees their data. And of course, we get to see everything that goes on. But what happens is a publisher who’s been approved by the bank, into their program, or into their, you know, into their patch, can log in, and actually grab a tracking code. And then that tracking code goes behind the text link in an article, it goes behind the creative like banner or button. So then what happens is that when a customer comes and says, best deposits, or best CD product, or wherever it is, the customer can click on that link, and that will go through to the bank’s landing page. And then the customer can fill out all that data. And as soon as they press submit, that tracking code is sucked through with that customer registration. So basically, what we’re doing is we’re sucking this headless, we’re sucking our tracking profile through with this customer registration. And what actually happens is most banks, almost most digital Institute, digital businesses have a tracking profile or a customer ID. Now what will happen is, then we get a file sent back from the bank, API, CSV, pixel, or whatever. And that says that this customer has registered, this customer ID has registered now that customer ID might be a real customer ID or it may be a key. So it depends on the how the bank wants to do it. And then what happens is that once let’s talk about deposits, and maybe it’s a CD product that needs $1,000 deposit to trigger the payment to the publisher, once that action has been completed, the bank will send us a file and say customer ID approved, and then that will trigger on our system, the payment to the publisher that sent it through. So basically, that’s why I call it plumbing because this all happens behind the scenes. And it also happens, it doesn’t in any way dispute the flow of the customer registration, it just means that this variable needs to be sucked through with that customer registration. And the bank needs to send us a file back to say that it’s been successful. So we, the bank pushes to us, and the tracking profile is pulled through to their customer registration system. So that could be digital accounting product, it could be a core system, it could be a CRM system. So we integrate with all of those different systems to get this plumbing working. I’m hoping I didn’t bore everybody with that. But it’s it’s good to just go into the details of it.

Whitney McDonald 9:38
No, that was great. And thanks for breaking down all of the layers and I know that we’ll get into an example or two here to also explain this as well. But before we get into an example of this at work, I kind of wanted to break down a little bit further. The demand and and maybe take a step back and talk a little bigger picture here. You’re but we know that financial institutions continue to invest in technology and and fintech connect being a provider of technology. I know that one of the keys is how do you really weigh your return on investment as financial institutions look, and I know that everyone’s looking to grow deposits and gain consumers? How does how does this all fit into that puzzle of being able to look at okay, investing in technology, and considering ROI and what that will mean for the long term?

Nikki Senyard 10:28
Great question, because I think that’s the pragmatic, pragmatic way to approach all of this, we are actually what I would call a useful technology in the fact that the whole reason we exist, is to grow deposits. So the whole purpose of our business is to make sure our clients to successfully acquire new customers in the product that they’re looking for. So even though we’ve got great tracking, even though we’ve got phenomenal reporting, for the data perspective, we actually exist for the purpose of growth. That’s the reason that we exist. So we come into play, usually, when a bank want or a financial institution, Credit Union Bank, FinTech want to actually scale the acquisition that they’ve been doing. So this means that we leverage these third parties once the bank has their product set, and know what their product that they want to promote, and have tested that onboarding process. The other thing is that when they’ve got their messaging correct for that audience, so somebody else come and say, We want more deposits. But it’s really cool when they say we want more deposits of this customer persona. And their product is really good, they’ve got a really good promotion, that means that we can go out to the industry, like the Forbes or the business insiders, or the bank rates, or the nerd wallets and say, Hey, we’ve got this brilliant new product, they’re looking to get new clients, they’re prepared to pay $120, CPA or a $200, CPA or a $50, CPA, wherever the market rate is, and they’ve got this really cool product. Are you interested? And they’ll say, Yes, we get the bank to approve them. And that’s when the flow starts. So the tracking allows functionally for the relationship to happen. It’s purposeful. It’s sort of like not just for the data, but it allows this relationship to happen, the exchange of a new customer for this set amount to actually occur. So that’s the functionality of what we are.

Whitney McDonald 12:43
Let’s take that a step further and talk about some examples here. Could you tell us about an institution that that you work with and talk us through what that looks like?

Nikki Senyard 12:52
I’d love to thank you very much. We have a brilliant client called Live Oak. That Live Oak has been working with us, I think, for 18 months or two years. And they were a very good example of where a client has absolutely leaned into this channel successfully. So when Live Oak came to us, they had been doing a lot on product on testing on messaging on all of that sort of stuff. And what we were able to do is, when we started working with them, we were able to bring that acquisition cost down by 80%. And increase their volume by over 400%. And we were able to do this, and they’re now working with over 35 partners in this way to be able to grow their deposits. And what they were able to do is we did a lot of test inlining. But we were able to, they had a really good foundation of what they had done previously. And we were able to actually capitalize on the learnings that they had already had, and actually take the program to the next level. So as with their knowledge and our knowledge of the channel, we’re able to combine that and actually start to deliver the results. But they’ve been a really good partner, because they really did come to us. They tried to do this on their own. And we were able to really optimize through the technology through our strategic understanding and through our knowledge to be able to deliver the results that they were looking for. Now,

Whitney McDonald 14:19
we’ve talked about the how we’ve talked about the tech, we went through an example. I’d love to hear a little bit more about your plans for 2020 For what your blank bank clients are really asking for, and how you’re innovating around that.

Nikki Senyard 14:35
I think the I think that the theme is very common and how banking, how each bank does it is very unique. So the theme is definitely growth through the partners that are coming to us, sometimes with brand new products, sometimes with optimization of current products. But I think the common theme always with really invested partners is how do we do this better? How do we get better flow? How do we get to work with the publishers, in more an effective and efficient impactful way, which may be just volume, you know, new volume of customers. But a lot of times, it’s also about quality. So it’s actually a lot of times about the quality of the customers that come through. And we’re really lucky with our partners, that we get a lot of vintage data in terms of the quality and we can get quality for some clients down to the publisher type or the campaign type. And this goes back to what we were talking about before, insight through data gives you a better decision where you make your investments. So in some cases, we are right down to that that sort of like sometimes it’s like just one volume. Because we’re testing out a channel, we’re testing out a campaign, we’re testing out a product, or at other times that we really need to tweak that value of the customer that’s coming through for what we’re doing. So it’s really about optimization, some, what we always suggest is that we start, we see what sticks, we see what works. And then we optimize and optimize and optimize. And then of course, somebody says this is going so well let us try a new product. You know, like we may be doing a savings account and then somebody will say, hey, let’s do a CD product or let’s do a checking account or so that’s the that’s the way that it sort of usually grows for us.

Whitney McDonald 16:32
You been listening to the buzz, a bank automation news podcast, please follow us on LinkedIn. And as a reminder, you can rate this podcast on your platform of choice. Thank you for your time and be sure to visit us at Bank automation For more automation News.

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