MANTL: enabling a digital vision of community banking
Mike Bosserman, VP of Growth at MANTL, explains how the company is empowering Quontic Bank and other financial institutions through technology.
Founded in 2016, MANTL is an enterprise Software as a Service company based in New York with a singular mission: ‘empowering financial ecosystems through technology’. It does this by modernising core back-office tasks like account opening with an integrated, omnichannel platform. “MANTL serves community and regional banks and credit unions exclusively,” says Mike Bosserman, VP of Growth. “The reason we're here is because these organisations simply aren't growing enough online.” Originally envisioning a career as an investment analyst, Bosserman relates that he was soon hired by a VC firm, which, in turn, brought MANTL to his attention as an attractive investment prospect. Meeting with Nathaniel Harley (CEO) and Raj Patel (CFO and COO) and discussing their “compelling” vision was enough to convince him to join, which he did shortly afterwards.
Making community banks competitive in the modern finance market is MANTL’s main task. It’s a service that the company has already rendered for some of the fastest-growing banks in the US, and Bosserman claims that the success it has reaped stems from a focused strategy combining technological sophistication with customer-centric ease-of-use. “The average time to open an account on MANTL is approximately two minutes and 37 seconds,” he says. This is important in the context of contemporary customer expectations, which are heavily influenced by experiences not necessarily related to banking. “If you're a community bank or credit union, customer expectations for bank onboarding flows are going to be influenced by other online platforms like Amazon, Netflix, or other fintech apps.” This focus on customer experience ultimately yields meaningful growth for MANTL’s customers who, on average, grow deposits up to 78% faster compared to previous account opening solutions.
The overall focus for MANTL, therefore, is on building products equivalent to this standard, particularly in terms of minimising points of friction. One client for whom MANTL has been able to achieve this task and much more is Quontic Bank. In an industry where opening an account takes an average of 30 clicks, Bosserman says, “Quontic Bank takes 24 clicks. When it comes to figuring out where MANTL fits into the ecosystem of modern tech products, we're right there at the cutting edge.” As a result, Quontic’s conversion rates for deposit accounts increased by 150% in the first quarter it went live, while cost of deposits declined by 90%. MANTL’s tech-savvy is equalled by Quontic Bank’s ambition, which, even from its early stages, was to achieve nothing less than a new concept for digital banking. “Both Patrick (Sells, CIO) and Steven (Schnall, CEO) have been exceptional to work with and so has the team. Quontic Bank stands out from the average community bank in a very good way; it’s a great example, in my mind, of what's possible in community banking with the right attitude and the right technology paired together.”
When asked what major trends will continue to affect and develop MANTL’s relationship with Quontic Bank, Bosserman believes that banking’s future will be determined by the acquisition of tech talent, increased automation and fraud prevention, enhanced regulatory compliance, and instant account verification. Regarding the latter, he adds, “That's particularly big on mobile devices. It also leads to big increases in the initial funding of an account. I believe Quontic Bank is in the top 1% in the US for this aspect.” As mobile technology continues to proliferate and reshape customers’ everyday interactions with banks, MANTL will play an important role in levelling the terrain between the mobile and desktop experience. “Nowadays, customers can access their account across multiple channels, and, ultimately, the experience needs to be the same. That's really important for banks like Quontic.”
Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem
The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?
John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.
Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:
Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?
It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started.
While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk.
Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand.
I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.
When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic.
Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?
I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.
Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.
The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC.
I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives.
Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss?
Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement.
Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.