As the need to innovate becomes more pressing, banks have become increasingly collaborative. This new era of cooperation sees lenders striking up new partnerships with the full range of market participants including clients, fintechs and employees – to pursue their digitisation and innovation agendas.

Danielle Myles, investment banking editor of The Banker, speaks with Eli Keren, Founder and CEO of Betalo to hear the fintech view on collaborating with banks.

The Banker Viewpoint Series is sponsored by Nordea but independently edited.

Partnering with fintech companies has been a more controversial issue for some banks. Once viewed as potential rivals, fintechs are now numbered among the banking industry’s most valuable partners.

In transaction banking, regulators have pushed a competition agenda, with the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) promoting the concept of open banking, whereby banks must give third parties access to client data (with the consent of account holders).

Coming together

Cooperation, rather than competition, is now the byword when it comes to fintechs and banks. Nordea’s Open Banking Developer Portal, an API (application programming interface) sandbox, for example, has gained much traction in its first year, with more than 2000 developers now using it.

Eli Keren says PSD2 has been a “big game changer” for the industry and will open many new opportunities for payments providers – both banks and start-up fintechs. “For us, PSD2 gives the opportunity to add value and add services to our customers. We know that our users are looking for a full picture of their financial life and that is something that we can offer them now through the PSD2 initiative,” he says.

Getting the company’s products out to the market is another matter, and Keren says partnerships have been at the core of the company “since day one”. Betalo has worked with Nordea for a year and recently started a new communications project with the lender’s customers.

“With 11 million customers, Nordea is the largest bank in the Nordics. We tried a number of different communication channels so far and Nordea has proven to be really successful and we hope to do more in the future,” explains Keren. Nordea has provided the company with the scale to reach different geographies.

This story and accompanying videos originally appeared in The Banker.

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