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By FintechOS · April 18, 2023
6 minute read

Change Agents: Their Role in Bank-Fintech Partnerships

London bank

As technology continues to evolve, bank-fintech partnerships have proved advantageous within the financial services industry. Traditional banking models are being thrown out the window and replaced with more agile, fintech-driven solutions that better suit customer needs. There are few businesses capable of moving at the speed and scale of their competitors without bringing in third parties to drive integration. While change is inevitable, many banks remain hesitant about partnering with a fintech company to modernize their offerings.  

That’s where change agents come in.  

In our recent webinar with The Financial Brand, Brett Hollenbeck, MBA, VP, Virtual Bank Director at Tower Community Bank shares the insights he’s gained during his role as a change agent and why Tower Community Bank chose to partner with FintechOS. Here are a few takeaways from his conversation with Mike Hughes, VP, Product Marketing at FintechOS and Jim Marous, Co-publisher at The Financial Brand.  

What is a Change Agent? 

A change agent is an individual responsible for driving organizational change, who often has a deep understanding of the industry and is skilled at navigating complex environments. In bank-fintech partnerships, change agents understand the unique set of challenges and opportunities that come with working in the banking and fintech industries and can help both parties communicate effectively and work collaboratively.  

A primary function of their role is to help the business meet its current goals by keeping the partnership running smoothly – whether that’s improving customer experience, increasing revenue, or launching new service offerings. 

A Change Agent’s Role in Driving Success 

Change agents play a critical role in driving innovation and managing the cultural shift that comes with incorporating new technology into traditional banking systems. They are also able to help employees at all levels of the financial institution understand the benefits of the new technology and work with them to overcome any resistance to change.  

Here are some ways in which change agents can contribute to the success of bank-fintech partnerships:  

  1. Creating a shared vision between organizations 
  2. Building trust and transparency 
  3. Navigating regulatory hurdles 
  4. Facilitating communication 
  5. Driving innovation 
  6. Managing cultural differences and resistance to change 

Getting Leadership Support 

One of the greatest challenges a change agent will face is getting leadership on-board for new projects, especially when it comes to making changes to existing legacy systems. Many have seen investments fail time and time again or have spent 20 years of resources on their existing systems. Change agents should approach the topic of inefficient existing systems with an attitude of respect and empathy. They should start by asking questions and pulling in internal feedback before making suggestions.  

Leadership needs to be excited about creating a new bank-fintech partnership and willing to test out new things before a change agent can get things moving. There must be a compelling enough future state that the organization will want to buy into it, and an assurance that no jobs will be lost due to the exciting transformation. Fintech companies that can prove their worth, gain trust, and build excitement early on in the partnership with a quick ROI win make the change agents job a lot easier.  

What Change Agents Should Look For in Their Next Fintech Partner 

While leadership may lean on the side of caution, they typically understand the benefits that come with partnering with fintech companies and know they can’t reach their full potential without them.  

Change agents working to establish new bank-fintech partnerships should make sure the fintech company has these five traits: 

  1. The ability to integrate with or build on top of existing legacy systems and the desire to work together with the current legacy vendor.
  2. Agile components that can be switched out quickly to test new offerings based on customer feedback and the constantly changing market 
  3. A secure way to leverage and implement the financial institution’s vast amount of data 
  4. Pre-built tools that are easy to customize to maintain a personal touch, without needing to spend a ton of time and money implementing new services from scratch 
  5. Is a true partner, not a disruptor. They’re transparent about what they’re seeing in the industry, want to create value for the bank’s customers, and are happy to collaborate with you to brainstorm new verticals  

Looking Forward 

Bank-fintech partnerships have the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry. However, navigating these partnerships without a dedicated change agent can be challenging. By leveraging the skills and expertise of change agents, banks and fintech companies can work together as partners to develop innovative solutions that benefit customers and drive growth for the financial institution.  

The only constant in the industry is that it is always changing. Being able to adapt quickly and seize opportunities within the market as they spring up is essential today and as financial institutions prepare for the future. Partnering with a fintech company can give you more value out of your existing legacy investment than that alone.  

Tower Community Bank’s Partnership with FintechOS

Tower Community Bank approached FintechOS looking for a parter who could digitalize its vision to capture borrowers at points of high emotion, work with its existing core, and collaborate with local businesses. During initial talks, Tower Community Bank realized that the FintechOS fintech enablement platform could help with so much more.

FintechOS became a true partner for Tower Community Bank, helping the bank quickly test new markets and brainstorm new avenues to utilize their extensive data stores and accelerate customer journeys. Leaning into Tower Community Bank’s presence in Nashville, home to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, FintechOS built a non-traditional point-of-sales lending solution for local medical practitioners to offer financing solutions to their customers. When it came time to pay for elective surgeries or procedures, customers could withdraw loans from Tower Community Bank, with additional incentives for creating checking accounts and making deposits.

Both partners are excited about Tower Community Bank’s plan to extend these offerings to local contractors, auto repair companies, and more.

Want to learn more about why Tower Community Bank chose to partner with FintechOS? Watch the full webinar on-demand. 

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