Christina Hamilton, VP of Partnerships and International Expansion
I was recently invited to deliver a keynote on the Power of Partnerships at the FinTech World Forum in London. The event was a two-day conference exploring the role Fintech is playing in shaping and changing financial services around the globe. A full house with a buzzing atmosphere, the audience had a mix of banking, technology and operations professionals. The conference was packed with speeches and panel discussions covering a variety of themes including cybersecurity, Fintech challenges facing banks, emerging trends in China’s Fintech sector, and of course the future of payments and Fintech.
My keynote speech showcased the complexity of moving money across borders, as well as how we think about partnerships at Western Union. The session was attended by over 300 delegates from small start-ups to big names like ICICI Bank, UBS, IBM, Google, Deloitte.
The main takeaway from my talk was that partnerships are an effective way for businesses to combine assets and capabilities in new and exciting ways to best serve ever-changing customer needs. We know that evolving customer behaviors and expectations have mandated the adoption of technology in everyday life, and WU has technology and expertise to help solve partner and customer painpoints in moving money across borders.
To illustrate how partnerships drive innovation in service delivery, I showcased the various types of alliances we have with the likes of WeChat, Scotia Bank, ICICI Bank, NGOs and educational institutions. We now offer our assets and capabilities not only to our own consumers and business customers, but also place these in the ecosystems of third parties who have a need to move money across the world on behalf of their own business or their customers.
Finally, I talked about the different reasons these companies choose to work with us based on these needs – in some cases to offer payment services to their customers, but sometimes simply to learn about their customers’ digital behaviours and stay relevant in the “everyday” lives of their users. Why have a customer walk across the road to do a money transfer if s/he can do it in your own environment? What I stressed is the importance of really understanding the industry and the market that the other company operates in – to appreciate their challenges, pain points and unique requirements.
And on that note, I was proud to announce our Fintech alliance with Bud, which is the first open banking platform to be regulated by the FCA (UK regulator). Bud have built a technology platform that brings all of a customer’s financial services (bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, etc.) into one place. We will be embedding WU’s digital money transfer services onto this platform – in phase one as a referral link and in phase two (2018) through deeper integration between WU and Bud’s technology platforms.