Patricia Tripar Would Empower Customers Through Digitization

Financial institutions should be a place where people and companies feel like they can conduct their business in a virtual world.

Patricia Tripar is an experienced leader in digital banking and payments services, most recently at Santander Bank, N.A. She leads the development of client-centric strategies and technology initiatives offered through online and mobile treasury management platforms, mobile apps, and a variety of FinTech partnerships. Patricia has over 20 years of experience in Transaction Banking, Treasury Management, Consulting Services, Product Management, Client Advisory, and Project Management. Patricia has held roles with multi national organizations, including Santander Bank, West Monroe Partners, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), BMO Capital Markets, ABN AMRO North America, and Ernst & Young.
Patricia Tripar joined FISPAN’s CEO Clayton Weir on the Season Two Premiere of If I Ran The Bank Podcast, where they discussed shifting consumer expectations amidst digital transformation, how to complement treasury management tools instead of competing with them, and the growing importance of the banks-FinTech relationship. 
Customer Empowerment in a Digital World
The global banking experience is changing, alongside the expectations of corporates, treasurers, and finance departments. The concept of digitally active business banking customers have been amplified for financial institutions and FinTech throughout the digital shift over the past few years. 
“[It’s the bank’s responsibility] to help clients use electronic banking services best for themselves. Most efficiently, most effectively” Patricia stressed. Patricia illustrated that the multifaceted nature of transaction banking involves product and service sign up, reporting, data input, and mapping/matching capabilities. The particularities of these tasks can be discouraging to corporate clients. “So it’s the bank’s job to help customers figure out just how enabled they are today.” said Patricia. Patricia explained that her idea of ‘customer empowerment’  includes providing a streamlined digital, or virtually enabled, banking experience.
“I’m Going to the Bank”
The action of “going to the bank” has classically been viewed as a physical, brick-and-mortar experience. While there will always be a need for physicality in banking, the notion is now being deconstructed as client expectations change and corporates grow to a higher level of digital maturity. Often known as ‘contextual banking’, Patricia emphasized the “concept of being a bank and bringing the bank to the client… when the bank comes to you”, as an essential element in meeting the shift in consumer expectations.
Though not a new technology, APIs enable data delivery to individual customers in a more proactive way. Patricia noted that the increased use of API technology in recent years has allowed banks to “bring in more data, more information, more immediate interactivity to the person, to the client, and to the company that [they] weren’t doing even three, four, five years ago.”
Redefining “Banker’s Hours” 
The accessibility and 24/7 convenience enabled by online and mobile banking has restructured the notion of “banker’s hours”. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded digital access to banking services, and now, the demand is towards digital accessibility to facilitate and improve remote work and hybrid team structures. Remote work won’t go away anytime soon as many companies are choosing to adopt a hybrid or fully remote working models. “It completely blows the whole myth out of the water if there are banker’s hours and it’s only between eight and five that businesses work. I mean, that’s gone, and it left faster. The pandemic accelerated that.” noted Patricia.
An Appetite for Change
The push for digitization has seen a 180° shift from where it was three years ago. Previously, organizations had to navigate a delicate balance between personal relationships in servicing, product, and implementation. Now, there’s an increased “appetite of clients to try different mediums and means, they’re asking for more self-service,” Patricia recognized from her former customer involvement in early stage product development at Santander Bank USA. Consumers and companies have an increased willingness to try self-service offerings. 
Now, self-serve’s asynchronous ability is key for clients. “It’s not a scary thing, to have less touch points in your banking, buying, set-up processes, and how you contact the bank. It’s not so scary to do it on your own without the assistance of the people in the middle.”
“Supercharging the Model”
In such an information rich, data-driven world, customer interactions enable banks to tie information together in more meaningful ways. “I use the terminology, being able to supercharge the model. So, not replacing things but making it that much more flexible and even creating some unique experiences” said Patricia. The importance of data digitization in virtual spaces is key to improve and simplify the client experience.
“So, to me, virtual data digitization matters. Because it matters, what are banks doing with that information to improve the client experience, but consistently simplify it? Simplify it. Make it easy to do what you need to do as a corporate, whether it's a super sophisticated banking concept or service, or just as easy as; you know what, I just need to send an ACH today. Just one” explained Patricia on the importance of simplifying the client’s banking experience.
Meeting Business Expectations 
When asked of the persistent, powerful requests arising from businesses, Patricia explained that there has been a developing emphasis and curiosity towards helping clients with their treasury management tools, software, and ERPs. Essentially, Patricia examined the focus on enabling clients to better leverage bank data. “[Clients] are interested in the bank being able to help them tackle their opportunities, or, for example, provide access to them,” Patricia observed. 
There is a lot of importance placed on meeting customers where they are. Patricia noted that “clients expect a bank to be able to have some kind of interoperability with their tools and their systems, and not have too many steps or long implementations or things like that, that are counterintuitive along the way.”
The FinTech - Bank Relationship
The concept of Open Banking is more established in Europe than when compared to North America, in part due to European regulations like the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2). Based on her previous experience with Santander Bank USA, Patricia spoke on the value which could be derived from Santander Bank’s global presence, noting “[Santander Bank USA] is going to capitalize on their global company and parent relationship to make investments in predictive analytics, forecasting tools, using building, buying, putting together APIs and technologies so the bank can be seen as a provider of things that companies are used to having to buy themselves or build for themselves.” Among other things, Open Banking has enabled companies to consent for financial institutions and FinTechs to leverage their data, presenting numerous opportunities for banks.
Significant value can be derived when banks compliment the software and applications used by companies. Rather than viewing banks and FinTechs as competitors, Patricia approached the relationship differently while working at Santander, focusing on adding value to the current systems their clients have, products they’re interested in and what they do on a regular basis.
“It’ll be less about banks and FinTechs competing and more about how they live together, because they need to be in harmony for companies.” - Patricia Tripar
Patricia compared the harmonious relationship between banks and FinTechs to a supercharger, better meeting the customer’s needs for efficiency, effectiveness, and timeliness when going about their business operations. 
Drawing parallels from the likes of services like Amazon and Netflix, Patricia further illustrated the value derived from complementing existing services amidst an environment where clients have so many options. “[As a bank], I don't think that I want to compete with other software or applications or systems that a company might be using. I want to complement it. I want to be an option as a bank for a customer, but also want to be able to give the customer their banking data to be able to use in their own systems, as they see fit. I'd like to be able to use customer data to give customers information that is more insightful for them. And I’d like to be more like a subscription service… I think banking and FinTech (FinTech being systems and services and tools that corporates are using for the purposes of managing their financials, their liquidity, their cash management, and their treasury management) can complement each other as well.”
When examining changing client expectations, the need for simplified experiences is evident, assisted through advancements in technology, and bank-FinTech relationships. 
“Financial institutions should be a place where people and companies feel like they can conduct their business in a virtual world.” - Patricia Tripar


Listen to the full episode with Patricia Tripar as she dives deeper into the global banking experience, how to complement treasury management tools instead of competing with them, and the growing importance of the bank-FinTech relationship. You can listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAmazon Music or by visiting the If I Ran the Bank website.

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