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Salt, GFT and Engine by Starling set new digital banking benchmark in Europe

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Digital bank built in under 12 months debuts with cutting-edge technology and rapid customer onboarding

LONDON, May 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Salt Bank, a new digital bank in Romania’s financial landscape, has launched less than one year after the project was kicked off. Salt Bank is the first neobank using Engine by Starling’s core banking system outside of the vendor’s parent company, Starling Bank. It was implemented in partnership between GFT, Salt Bank and Engine by Starling. This continues a transformative trend GFT sees in financial services and beyond. Organisations are reinventing their technology capabilities, adopting a ‘platform of platforms’ approach. This involves consuming ready-made capabilities from the wider industry.

GFT was engaged to provide overall design and integration services, relying on their deep expertise. The company specialises in launching banks on next-generation technologies. GFT developed onboarding capabilities as well as the technology model for Salt Bank. This will allow Salt to manage its ecosystem of services providers as its success grows.

“The launch of Salt Bank showcases our global leadership in digital banking on modern platforms. This is the latest of many modern banking platforms we have launched worldwide in the last two years,” said Carlton Hopper, Engine by Starling Executive Sponsor and UK Managing Director at GFT. “We delivered an integrated, tailored, robust and secure banking platform for Salt. And as the first to deploy Engine’s flexible platform, the programme sets a new standard. It incorporates all the innovation from Starling, enhancing efficiency in the industry.”

“Our collaboration with GFT has set a new benchmark for digital banking,” added Gabriela Nistor, CEO of Salt Bank. “Salt’s rapid onboarding and advanced features reflect our commitment to providing seamless, cutting-edge financial services to our customers. GFT’s dedicated team of specialists have excelled in delivering our new bank within a very challenging timeframe.”

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Fully automated customer onboarding and advanced features

One of Salt Bank’s early achievements is its fully automated and secure customer onboarding process, which takes just a few minutes. The bank onboarded over 100,000 customers within the first two weeks of the launch. Within a month it exceeded 200,000, highlighting the ease of use and robustness of the system. And with strong customer interest, Salt Bank is on track to reach its target of 1 million customers with the first three years of operation. 

Salt has also offered advanced features, such as multi-currency accounts and cards from the outset. GFT’s focus on customer centricity ensured that Salt Bank’s services enhance the overall banking experience. To that end, they are precisely tailored to the local customers’ habits and needs.

International cooperation and capability building

The implementation was a truly international effort, with contributions from GFT teams in the UK and Poland. Beyond technology, GFT also brought banking industry knowledge. They helped Salt Bank establish their programme, execute the transformation and launch readiness, and help prepare the new Salt Bank team for their future success. The project also highlights the importance of GFT’s partnerships with Engine and other partners for transformation across the industry.

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“Our platform was effectively integrated by GFT for the Romanian market, delivering feature-rich and highly personalisable banking products that can be deployed around the world to attract impressive customer volumes. GFT’s specialist team delivered the implementation and they see the significant potential of our platform,” said Sam Everington, CEO, Engine by Starling.

With its modern approach and customer-focused services, Salt Bank is poised to influence the future of digital banking in Europe and beyond, showcasing how effective partnerships and focus on the customer can enhance banking technology and customer experience.

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Agora acquires Clearshift’s real estate division

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Agora, a provider of real estate investment management solutions, has acquired Clearshift’s real estate division to “reinvent cross-border payments in investment management.”

The division has utilized Clearshift’s international payments infrastructure to facilitate mass payouts and capital investments between foreign investors, asset managers, real estate property managers, and fund administrators.

While the financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed, Agora will now serve as the division’s primary client-facing interface, offering “user-friendly investment management tools.” Clearshift will retain responsibility for payment execution and compliance functions.

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For existing Clearshift clients, this integration into the Agora platform promises “enhanced capabilities.” Agora’s clients, not currently subscribed to Clearshift, will gain “a transparent solution to foreign exchange activity” that enables “seamless distributions and contributions in any currency worldwide.”

Ari Dobner, CEO of Clearshift, noted, “After years of refining our fund manager payment solution, it became clear to us that our clients would truly benefit from a full investor management solution with seamless payment integration.”

Bar Mor, co-founder and CEO of Agora, added that the acquisition will enhance their platform with “streamlined and cost-effective international payments,” leveraging the “substantial customer overlap between Agora and Clearshift.”

This acquisition follows the recent closure of Agora’s $34 million Series B funding round, backed by Qumra Capital, Insight Partners, and UK-based investment firm Aleph.

Source: fintechfutures.com

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InScope secures $4.3m to revolutionise financial reporting and auditing

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InScope, a newly launched FinTech company, has successfully raised $4.3 million to expand its innovative financial reporting and auditing platform.

According to PYMNTS, the funding round included significant contributions from prominent investors such as Lightspeed and Better Tomorrow Ventures.

InScope is focused on transforming the traditional processes of financial reporting and auditing for private companies. The company leverages advanced technologies, including generative AI and large language models, to automate and streamline the compilation of financial statements—tasks that have historically been prone to errors and required extensive manual effort.

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The new capital will be used to enhance InScope’s platform capabilities. The company aims to shift accountants’ focus from laborious manual tasks to more strategic initiatives, thereby empowering finance professionals with tools to complete reporting and auditing tasks quickly and efficiently.

InScope’s system compiles data from a company’s core systems, such as ERP, along with publicly available information, and transforms these inputs into GAAP-compliant financial and audit documents.

InScope CEO and co-founder Mary Antony stated, “Our technology dramatically reduces the time and effort required for financial reporting and auditing, eliminating the need for outdated manual processes.” Her co-founder and COO, Kelsey Gootnick, also emphasized the transformative potential of InScope, which they conceived out of their own frustrations with existing financial processes.

The company has already begun collaborating with a select group of companies to refine and enhance their financial reporting capabilities. JC Bahr-de Stefano, a venture capital investor at Better Tomorrow Ventures, commented on this partnership: “InScope is already working with a handful of companies to help streamline their financial reporting needs and enable accountants to complete their reporting tasks in minutes instead of months.”

Source: fintech.global

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Citi extends USD Clearing service to Middle East in partnership with Emirates NBD

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Citi has partnered with Dubai-based banking group Emirates NBD to launch its USD Clearing service in the Middle East.

Through this collaboration, Emirates NBD will offer the USD Clearing service, along with its commercial and treasury payment execution capabilities, to corporate and retail clients via its branch networks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This service will enable clients to make cross-border USD payments with continuous availability, addressing current payment flow challenges posed by varying transaction cut-off times in the UAE.

“The introduction of 24/7 USD Clearing will support the growth ambitions of our clients by giving them the ability to seamlessly transfer funds in a timely manner without having to worry about cutoffs and holidays,” said Ahmed Al Qassim, group head of wholesale banking at Emirates NBD.

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Following the initial launch, the service will be extended to all Emirates NBD branches in the Middle East and globally, including partnerships with third-party institutions.

According to its website, Emirates NBD currently operates 853 branches in the UAE, Egypt, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UK, Austria, Germany, Russia, and Bahrain.

Shahmir Khaliq, Citi’s head of services, described the collaboration as “an important step in our journey to creating a multibank solution that is designed to deliver an end-to-end, ‘always on’ experience for participant banks and their customers.”

“Our 24/7 USD Clearing service is a clear differentiator in the market,” Khaliq continued. “It demonstrates the full value of our globally leading cross-border payments and clearing capabilities, which enable our clients to make payments faster and in a more efficient and transparent manner.”

Source: fintechfutures.com

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