IBS Journal: The iconic monthly FinTech magazine

February 2020 issue out now! Subscribe now

Launching India FinTech Report 2020

Market sizing and forecast of Digital Lending, Payments, WealthTech & RegTech. Subscribe now

Leading Back Office Systems for Banks

In-depth Supplier Profiles and User Lists. Subscribe now

In-depth Banking Tech and FinTech Research

Over 300 research reports that's updated quarterly. Subscribe now

For three decades, Nucleus Software has been helping some of the world’s most innovative financial institutions leverage technology to achieve their business ambitions. We spoke to the company’s CEO, RP Singh, to find out more

Senior Editor
Bill Boyle

Can you please outline the major problems that you solve for your clients?

“Whether they are large banks digitising their entire retail lending process end-to-end, corporate banks providing advanced working capital finance solutions to multinationals or new market entrants disrupting their segment with loans approved in minutes, we serve them all.

“Our solutions deliver the business agility today’s lenders need to cater to the complex needs of lending to retail customers as well as large corporate and small-to-medium enterprises (SME) customers. We cover the complete loan lifecycle across multiple channels, including web portal and mobile.

“We are using cutting-edge machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities in Nucleus Lending Analytics to enable lenders to make faster and more informed loan decisions through data visualisation and business insight generation.”

What is the major unique selling point that sets you apart from your competition?

“We know that our success is dependent on ensuring that our customers are successful, and we are privileged to help some of the world’s most innovative organisations deliver outstanding service to millions of customers every day. We have earned this honour by helping our customers transform their lending and transaction banking businesses – dramatically lowering their total cost of ownership, radically improving their time to market with innovative products and delivering a secure, scalable and highly available infrastructure to underpin their business.

“Today, our customers in 50 countries are leveraging our experience, commitment, innovation and vision to drive their business forward and keep their competitive edge. We believe that our specialisation and focus on lending and transaction banking when combined with our relentless focus on customer success is the foundations of our success. However, what truly sets us apart is our values-based approach focused on long-term partnership with our customers.”

What do you think is going to be the deciding factor in your success in the coming year?

“Since our foundation in 1986, we’ve grown steadily, expanding into new markets and new countries, building all the time on our valuesbased approach. While technology continued to evolve continuously throughout this period, I think we are at an inflection point – where the combination of advanced technology and business expertise can deliver tremendous change. But it is easy to get lost in the technology, how cool it is! The key factor is in how you put it to use, how you use it to solve business problems for your customers. I think we’ve proven ourselves in this regard over the last three decades and things will only accelerate from here.”

Are there any hi-tech problems that your clients can avoid by choosing you as a supplier?

“The lending and transaction banking landscapes are complex and fast moving. Delivering the products and services that customers expect demands a breadth and depth of functional coverage: breadth because customers have wide ranging needs – from simple overdrafts to complex leasing agreements – and depth because even the simplest overdraft is becoming increasingly complex. In transaction banking, the challenge of gaining the visibility corporate treasurers need amid rising levels of volatility is making a difficult problem even more complex. Our solutions address these issues for our customers.

“But it is more than that – the pace of change of technology, the rise of fast-changing ecosystems and the regulators are all putting pressure on financial institutions. Old, monolithic, inflexible systems simply can’t cope – they are difficult to change, costly to maintain and hard to integrate. Our solutions eliminate these hi-tech problems while also preparing our customers for the future – whatever that brings.”

How has been the journey so far with Nucleus FinnOne Neo Cloud?

“The adoption of cloud technology has been accelerating dramatically. According to McKinsey, the expenditure on cloud infrastructure is expected to grow six times in comparison to other IT infrastructures by 2020. The financial services industry is also realising the benefits that cloud brings.

“We designed FinnOne Neo Cloud with the intention to help Non- Banking Finance Companies and Housing Finance Companies deliver tomorrow’s digital lending, today. With our solution, our customers can offer mortgage loan approvals virtually on the spot, extend credit profitably to people with informal income, provide end-to-end loan services on mobile, expand into new lines of business quickly and handle large volume of loans cost effectively. The market is seeing the benefits that FinnOne Neo Cloud brings because we have gained more than 25 customers in the last 24 months, and as testament to the solution’s quick start design, 20 of them are already up and running.

“I’m also delighted because FinnOne Neo Cloud won the ‘Best Lending Technology Implementation of the Year’ award at the 2018 BFI Innovative Technology Awards for a record-setting, four-day implementation at Sai Point Finance. We were also delighted to win the award for ‘Best Cloud Lending Solution’. We are proud to be recognised with these prestigious awards, which demonstrate the tremendous impact that the combination of innovative technology and customercentric business strategies can have on financial services.”

What has been your long-term strategy to win customers?

“In addition to being served at a time and place of their choice, today’s customers also expect banks to understand their needs and deliver a personalised experience without being overly intrusive. To meet these expectations and to become their customers’ bank-of-choice, financial institutions need to transform their services. They need to understand their customers better, and anticipate and offer what they want before they know they need it. But they need to do this carefully as the line
between ‘helpful’ and ‘intrusive’ is very fine. Banks need to carefully choose the right technology partners that can offer the new capabilities to help them attain their targeted ends. Our long-term strategy is based on helping our customers transform their businesses in pursuit of the elusive goal of delivering ‘customer delight’.”

Are you strategically focusing on any particular region this and the next year?

“We are a global business; we have customers in more than 50 countries around the world. In the last year, we have seen significant traction in markets all over the world, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, the Middle East and India. The level of engagement from our customers continues to increase and we have seen some great opportunities coming in, building of course on our global footprint.

“We will continue to focus on our key markets, including India, South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa, as well as our growing markets in Australia and Europe. We are also looking at the Americas as we believe our solutions can help financial institutions in that region capitalise on the opportunities created by digital disruption.”

Are there any major technology trends coming down the line that you can help your clients deal with in the coming period?

“With all the noise in the market about technology – from AI to blockchain – it is easy to get carried away with the hype. And while technology is clearly important, we need to remember that customers remain at the core of financial services. Of course, financial services operate in the wider economy and as such, it is intrinsically linked to wider economic cycles. However, focusing on things that banks can exert more influence on, I think the biggest threat and opportunity will come from opening up of financial services.

Threat posed by fintechs – last year was a record year for fintech investments – with more than $112 billion invested, and the challenges posed by new regulations such as Open Banking, are significant. But so too are the opportunities. We are advising our customers on how to counter the threat while capitalising on the opportunity.”

How technology can help

Technology can, of course, help financial services companies. Here are a few technologies that RP Singh thinks need to be considered:

FinTechs – compete or collaborate: PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey found that 81% of bank CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change. This is higher than in any other industry. Ecosystems, partnerships and networks – the world has changed, and in many industries, it is no longer possible for a single company to deliver everything its customers want by themselves. The role of fintech companies is evolving – from being direct competitors to collaboration, and in some cases both.

Data – the new oil: Many people refer to data as the new oil, which is a
nice way to try to convey a complex concept in a simple way. However, data is not a finite resource, so unlike oil there is no benefit in hoarding it or storing it in silos. In fact, data becomes more useful the more it is used. However, the ability to mine data will be central to everything that happens in the future of financial services. But only if that raw data can be turned into useful information and that useful information can be combined with expertise to turn it into actionable intelligence.

As data volumes grow, the challenge also grows; in fact it has been estimated that the total volume of data – the datasphere – will grow tenfold from 16 zettabytes in 2016 to 163 zettabytes in 2025. Clearly this is huge growth but what does it mean? If you watched Netflix’s entire catalogue 489 million times you would generate 163 zettabytes. Putting that data to use quickly will be a serious challenge.

Rise of bots: According to Gartner, by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human. Chatbots are revolutionising customer experience and can deliver everything a human can in terms of value to the customer – cross selling, personalised advice and remembering preferences, at a fraction of the cost and pretty much instantly. The time is now ripe for financial institutions to enhance the capabilities of chatbots to create a completely differentiated experience for their customers by combining knowledge across all relevant segments and providing better insights. This will give rise to a new level of conversational banking, in which results are delivered instantly through real-time conversations, thus facilitating better decision making.

Continuous innovation: Singh reserved his final comment for the fintechs: “Today, what helps fintech industries stay competitive against larger institutions is their ability to innovate. These companies put pressure on established institutions to continue to innovate as well. Part of this innovation is digital transformation. Social, mobile and cloudbased technologies offer promises of cost-saving and security. Mobile banking gives consumers a convenient way to spend and save.”

by IBS Intelligence