Corey Gross, Co-founder and CEO at Sensibill joins us for a chat to share his thoughts on the challenges that digital banks of today still have to overcome while highlighting the importance of financial institutes leveraging data to serve end customers with better services:
Tell us about your journey Corey. What was the idea behind Sensibill and how has it evolved since then?
Seeing fintech evolve has been quite exciting….while fintechs used to be considered disruptors to traditional financial institutions, the partnership model has now been largely accepted, using technology to help institutions implement change and reach a wider net of people. We’ve seen this approach succeed in countless examples, take Radius Bank and Lending Club, for instance.
My own experiences lead me to starting Sensibill, as well as the belief that anyone can find financial wellness if they’re given the tools and means to do so. There is great value in tracking specific details around purchase history and lifestyle spend. Using everyday use cases like managing warranties, returns and expenses can drive the habit of digitally capturing receipts, ultimately resulting in money back in consumers’ pockets as well as valuable insights back to the financial institution based on that customer’s spend.
Sensibill has evolved, expanding to overall spend management that places financial wellness at the forefront. We want customers to leverage these tools as well as deep insights to improve their financial wellness more widely, while help financial institutions better serve them.
What according to your observation are some of the biggest ways where newer fintech start-ups and innovators have changed the game for digital banking customers?
Fintechs that focus on specific segments and single uses cases for products and value propositions are best positioned for success; you can’t be everything to everyone. Greenlight for example keeps the messaging simple and doesn’t claim to be the jack of all trades. The key is a narrow focus on a single use case and building a simple, authentic story around that niche group.
Banking-as-a-service is quite good as well– it’s a strong way to enable innovation. Companies like Moov and Synapse are providing companies and entrepreneurs with the APIs and toolkits to innovate. Those that use these services to focus on niche groups and use cases will find real traction and success. Viva First is a great example; they’re building financial services around underserved ethnic communities.
We would love to hear your thoughts on some of the most innovative digital banking and neobanking solutions in the market.
Digital banking today is a fundamental challenge: it largely fails to solve the question of ‘so what?’ Banks and credit unions should be more than a place to manage money, but right now, they’re overwhelmingly not. Financial institutions have an opportunity to leverage digital to meaningfully improve customers’ overall financial experiences, but they must start with data. Consider why Amazon is better than all of the other ecommerce players out there – it does what digital enables, understanding customers’ preferences to take the stress and strain out of finding products and accelerating purchase time. It’s time for banks and credit unions to become smarter, and they can do so by taking advantage of the meaningful insights provided by digital experiences – not just money coming in and out. We have an opportunity to fill in these missing details through data so that transactions can happen in-person or digitally in a way that’s most beneficial to customers and their financial health.
What makes me most excited is creating something new while finding a way to serve a human purpose. At Sensibill, we’re doing this through SKU-level data. SKU-level data paints a more telling, detailed and nuanced picture of two customers based on their spending. Both might be foodies, but one eats street food and the other at 5-star Michelin restaurants. This type of information isn’t available or made possible without deep, contextual insights. Such details have the power to transform the way banks and credit unions can know and serve their customers.
We know, the global fintech trends are changing and the market is shifting due to business environments, what would like to comment on the state of fintech in the coming year?
In 2020, banks and credit unions were forced to step up like never before — and in new ways — to provide necessary support and tools to their communities digitally, a challenge many weren’t prepared for. Stark gaps in financial services were also exposed, revealing opportunities to better serve the underbanked and underserved as well as younger generations. This year will be critical for institutions to prioritize personalization, especially because of Google and Amazon’s recent attempts to infiltrate financial institutions.
We’d love to know a little about some of Sensibill’s upcoming innovations?
We will be continuing our commitment to making financial wellness attainable for everyone. Doing this through our partnerships with community financial institutions all the way up to large tier-one institutions is something in our mind currently. We also just announced the Sensibill Platform, which bridges the gap between everyday spend and long-term financial wellness, providing financial institutions with the deep data and insights they need to nurture financially resilient customers that bank with them for life.
Before wrapping up, tell us about some of the biggest lessons you would like to share with fintech innovators and leaders?
There are two thing to remember 1) don’t try to appease everyone, really make sure the message you’re trying to deliver is attainable for your intended audience; and 2) be honest, there should be transparency about your value proposition. The companies that can do both are the ones attaining heights of succes.