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Financial Solutions
12 Dec 2017

SLUSH 2017: Arvato meets Solarisbank – On The Cutting Edge Of New Banking

To be an e-commerce giant or fintech hero, requires more than a good user interface – you will also need to partner with a bank. And the chances are, it won’t be your traditional bank that fits the bill.

Open banking is already here and will continue to grow in the coming years. The EU will require banks to open up their customer data to third parties in 2018. This means banking will shift even more from being sold by one-stop-shops to being available on open platforms.

The result is that customers will benefit from a more “modular” approach to banking. Already in the UK alone, there are more than 60 new players applying for banking licenses. As a result, traditional banks are predicted to lose up to 47% of their payment transactions.

In Germany, Berlin-based fintech solarisBank got its banking license 18 months ago and has partnered with Arvato to jointly offer innovative financial services to multinational clients. We spoke to the company’s founder, Marko Wenthin about the benefits of doing business with Arvato, after he gave a speech at Slush.

Marko Wenthin, solarisBank was one of the first fintech companies to get a banking license. Why did you go for it?

E-commerce companies and fintechs require close cooperation with banking institutions when offering financial services to their end-customers. Most traditional banks – built on outdated technology – don’t have the technology or processes to meet the rapidly changing demands of these digital companies.

What does solarisBank do?

We enable any company to offer financial services. It’s that simple. We have built a B2B banking platform under our own banking license, which brings two out of three ingredients together, which you need to offer digital financial services: a modern banking infrastructure and state of the art APIs. The third ingredient is a user-centered product, which is provided by our partners – mostly digital companies.

In addition to e-commerce players and marketplaces, we serve fintech companies looking to introduce new financial products to the market.

What advantages does solarisBank get from being a startup?

We live and breathe the same air as startups. Our platform is built on state-of-the-art APIs, using the same programming languages you would see in other, non-fintech startups. Also, all of our product teams are working with agile coaches to ensure that our company stays completely agile. We take it very seriously to be a tech company with a banking license and not a traditional bank.

In practice, you will compete with giants like Apple, Facebook or Google. Doesn’t this bother you?

We don’t really see it as competition. Actually, there could be use cases where we collaborate with these giants. In order to bring contextual banking to life, banking platforms like us have to work with other digital platforms. We won’t provide the frontend or the user experience – this is what our partners do. And companies such as Facebook or Amazon are already really strong in this field.

Do you have any advice for startups?

My advice for any startup is just to get the product out instead of over-planning. And try your own product and be objective, otherwise you’ll think your offering is the best thing out there. But will the customers buy your idea? It’s vital to find out.

Why do solarisBank and Arvato make a perfect team?

Arvato is not only an investor in solarisBank, but also a strategic partner with a large number of potential customers. Arvato has a strong expertise and track record in financial services and there are many ways we are creating value together.

Watch the video from the event here

For more innovative financial solutions go to www.arvato.com

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