I spent a good part of last week at Sourcemedia’s Digital Banking Summit. It was a solid event and showcased a wide range of banks and firms in this space. I had plenty of great meetings, but one of the standouts was a meeting with Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman and CTO of CBW Bank. I met Suresh for the first time a couple of years ago and was impressed with his approach. He comes to the banking space with a very welcome perspective – a focus on solving customer pain points and improving processes. It’s a big picture approach focused on enabling commerce. Of course there is technology involved, and a fair bit of it at that. Ramamurthi founded his own fintech company, Yantra, that takes care of software development. The story of the acquisition of CBW and the creation of Yantra is fascinating – American Banker touched upon it when they named Suresh their 2015 “Innovator of the Year.”
So what impresses me so much about Suresh, CBW and Yantra? It’s an intelligent marriage of a business-minded tech executive, a bank and a fintech startup. There are a number of key elements that stand out to me:
- A fresh approach to business digital banking. There has been so much talk over the years in the industry about how to best serve business banking customers. It’s still green field and an area that Javelin believes represents a tremendous opportunity for financial institutions. CBW is on the right track – they focus on solving pain points and improving experiences. This is done by building out custom banking and payments solutions for specific industries and types of businesses. They have already built out custom solutions for the healthcare space and there is more to come.
- Successful development of a variety of banking tools. They have rapidly built out a variety of tools including, real time payments, virtual cards/accounts and risk management.
- A realization that “plumbing” is critical and that APIs are a must have in banking. CBW has invested significantly in its plumbing and rightfully so. In addition to realizing the need for APIs in their own offerings, they have created ylabs marketplace to allow others to build digital banking solutions on their plumbing. It’s a creative way for CBW/Yantra to leverage their investment, find additional revenue streams and focus on growth.
- Suresh became a certified banking compliance officer. He decided to do this upon realizing how critical compliance is and how it permeates into all facets of banking.
I’ve barely scratched the surface here with this list as there is a lot more to CBW and Yantra. Javelin believes that banks and software vendors need a fresh and differentiated take on business digital banking. CBW certainly offers this and I look forward to learning more about what they have coming down the pipe (no plumbing pun intended).