Redefining money management for the consumer
According to a recent , nine out of 10 UK consumers feel that they're undereducated in terms of personal finance - a worrying statistic as the nation heads towards one of the deepest recessions on record.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, Aryza is working with financial services businesses to help them provide a digital solution to their customers who may be struggling with their finances or managing payment breaks. Here, Andy Taylor, Chief Commercial Officer at the Aryza Group, discusses how it's been working to develop digital solutions, accessible anytime, and from anywhere, to help people take control of their money and make healthier financial decisions.
Few people feel comfortable discussing their finances, especially if they are struggling or in arrears. Knowing where to turn can be difficult and many feel overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the debt management, restructuring and repayment process. If you combine this with the pressure on businesses to search for alternatives to call centres as the epidemic continues, there’s a real need to explore user-friendly alternatives, designed to guide consumers and provide essential support.
Aryza Recover is designed to restore consumer faith, digitally guiding consumers step by step through their money management journey, explaining their options in an easy to understand format and helping to improve their overall financial wellbeing.
By utilising open banking data and smart software, the system connects customer accounts, cards, debts, and assets, identifying the most appropriate and helpful offers available. Helping to bring peace of mind to an individual during a stressful situation, it also ensures that consumers and lenders can access all the information they need via a single system.
We also wanted to build in checks to help identify vulnerability and ensure this was considered by the automated decision systems built into the solution. If the consumer prefers, there is always the option to speak to an advisor who can help them through the journey.
Once this data is collated, consumers can view the repayment options available to them, and depending on what the affordability check calculates, decide to continue with their existing journey or consider other options such as payment breaks or revised payment plans - eliminating lengthy telephone calls or in branch discussions.
Of course, people are rightly sceptical of handing over their personal and financial data online, and it is a completely new idea to ask customers to give up so much information via a digital solution. Around 50% of consumers still prefer to input the data manually over open banking, and we envisage it’ll be a while before certain demographics feel fully at ease with the process.
The ability to log in using fingerprint or facial recognition software, or with a username and password from their mobile device also removes many of the hurdles that would previously have prevented a person from seeking help. Already, we are noticing higher engagement rates where we’d previously seen minimal levels, with engagement up by 13% for consumers deep in arrears and a 30% increase for those classed as ‘struggling financially’.
This really is a revolution in the way consumers engage with lenders and with a wave of economic uncertainty approaching, we’re determined to empower consumers to help themselves out of tough financial situations.
This article was contributed by Andy Taylor, Chief Commercial Officer, The Aryza Group
Five minutes with Helene Panzarino, Associate Director, LIBF
Name: Helene Panzarino
Role: Associate Director for Digital Banking and Finance
Company: The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF)
We all know the companies, but what about the people behind them? Here, we find out more about Panzarino’s background, why she’s an advocate for entrepreneurs, and her take on US community bank heroism.
Who was your childhood hero, and why?
My dad. It may seem a bit of a cliche, but for someone who left school aged nine, he instilled in me the value of education and self-belief. He also had enormous pride and confidence in me and my abilities. He was my biggest supporter and a wonderfully innocent and kind person who helped shape the person I am today.
What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘Mentors are great, but advocates are better.’ I discovered that it's much harder for entrepreneurs to find true advocates, so this is something I try to do for other people.
Which activity are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over?
I can't wait to go to Terroni Brothers in Clerkenwell, London, for some authentic Italian pastries and an espresso that I haven't had to make myself! I wrote most of my books in cafes, and I find a change of scenery also helps me think outside of the box on all my projects.
Is there a personal achievement from 2020 of which you are particularly proud?
I am most proud of having my second book, Reinventing Banking and Finance: Frameworks to Navigate Global Fintech Innovation, published by Kogan.
This book's schedule was very tight, and I was fortunate to have Alessandro Hatami, a good friend and industry peer, as co-author. We've received industry accolades, powerful endorsements, and many compliments on the clarity of thought and content, so it made it even more worthwhile.
What inspires you in fintech today?
I am hugely inspired by the way community banks in the US have become the unexpected heroes of the pandemic, getting money into accounts quickly but also being there for their customers as trusted partners.
Many community banks have been big enough to recognise that they could do more to support their customers, and it has been hugely inspiring to see them partner with the fintech community to drive operational and customer service improvement.
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