A match made in BaaS heaven – Chetwood and Yobota partnership

Thursday 4 August 2022 13:36 CET | Editor: Oana Ifrim | Interview

Julia McColl, Chief Product Officer at Chetwood Financial: Our mission is to empower our partners to deliver financial services that are flexible, intelligent, and put the customer first

Just to start off we would love to hear about your background and career path that brought you to Yobota.

Before becoming involved with Yobota, I led strategic initiatives for Capco clients across Wealth Management and Private Banking for two years. Prior to that, I worked at Lloyds Banking Group, where I was responsible for digital transformation across Credit Cards, Mortgages and Personal Loans. Six years ago, I became a founding member of Chetwood Financial, which was formed alongside Yobota by founders Andy Mielczarek and Mark Jenkinson. Earlier this year, we acquired Yobota and folded their platform into ours to improve the reach and strength of our combined Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) proposition and heighten operational efficiency – it’s been an exciting year!

What do you see as the biggest emerging trends in the fintech industry? What are the major trends you are witnessing in fintech right now?

The fintech space has been a highly productive source of innovation and growth in recent years, in spite of broader economic trends. Some of the biggest trends emerging today revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain, where the technology is evolving and becoming more prevalent every day. Crypto represents a bold and accessible form of investment for many, to whom conventional stocks and commodities may be too complex to navigate - and we are sure to see many new and existing fintechs turning their attention toward this opportunity in the months and years to come.

As well as powering new ventures and generating growth, I hope to see the underlying distributed ledger technology before blockchain and crypto play a much bigger part in fighting fraud and financial crime, which sadly too is on the rise

The other driving force behind many of the trends we are witnessing in fintech right now is Open Banking and BaaS, which together are making financial services more diverse and accessible for many. From smart money management platforms that link directly to the user's bank accounts, to financial and banking products being embedded into the platforms of non-financial companies like ecommerce retailers, fintechs are once again enabling massive change in their sector and beyond thanks to BaaS. The result is that consumers have access to genuinely innovative financial products, tailored to their needs and requirements – not the rigid, more commonplace financial tools of yesteryear.

What can you tell us about Yobota? Who are your primary customers?  What differentiates Yobota from other cloud-native core banking platform platforms? 

The customer is at the heart of everything Yobota and Chetwood do – our mission is to empower our partners to deliver financial services that are flexible, intelligent, and put the customer first. Yobota works with banks, financial institutions, and both financial and non-financial companies across multiple sectors, using our cloud-native core banking capabilities to deliver smart, API-driven solutions that integrate seamlessly with our partners’ platforms. 

What sets Yobota apart is its flexibility and its capacity to deliver products that adapt to the specific needs of each partner. Our core banking platform allows us to deliver bespoke offerings reliably and at pace, while still delivering real value to the end-user. Yobota becoming a part of Chetwood Financial has only strengthened these traits, and both parties will continue to work together to improve their offerings. 

Could you give us a few examples of the different services Yobota can offer to its customers?

Some of our most popular products are customisable lending and account solutions, but we’ve worked with a broad range of clients to date, from rental deposit fintech Fronted to B2B buy now pay later (BNPL) solutions like Tranch. The time and money required to build these products from scratch are enough to put most non-banking businesses off, so partnering with us enables them to bring innovative financial products to market at pace. Our cloud-native platform is fully modular, however, which allows us to offer bespoke solutions. Anything our partners can dream of; we have the technology and the know-how to deliver.  

What is cloud-native? Why is it gaining traction? What are the benefits of a cloud-native core banking platform?

Being cloud-native means that the foundation of our offering isn’t based around a physical computer architecture of servers in an office somewhere – we were built from the ground up online, meaning we can adapt and scale up without constraints. That flexibility isn’t only to our advantage – it also allows us to adapt better to our clients’ needs. 

As other cloud-native businesses like Uber and Airbnb have proven, the greatest benefits of cloud-native architecture are digital agility and disruptive competitive advantage. Being able to outmanoeuvre larger, historic institutions nullifies their size advantage, particularly in such a fast-paced arena as financial services where constant upheaval and innovation are the norm.  

What are the challenges of cloud-native environments?

Some businesses are formed in the cloud-native environment, and some existing businesses transition into it. Each presents its own challenges – businesses that start cloud-native will likely have to contend with higher start-up and operational costs, as well as facing potentially higher security risks initially, as there are no physical foundations to fall back on. 

For those that attempt to enter the cloud-native space, the challenges are even more numerous. Transitioning every element of their legacy infrastructure to the cloud can be a lengthy process, and the variety of platform and technology options is so great that the choice can be overwhelming. The benefits, however, undeniably outweigh the challenges, and the resulting competitive advantage means that no business would regret it. 

What are the UK banks and FS institutions' attitudes towards innovation? What are the common innovation roadblocks?

I think the fact that established banks and FS institutions are scrambling to update their offering in order to keep up with fintechs and startups shows that they see the value in innovation, even if the inherent sluggishness that goes with decades of bureaucracy can be a major hindrance to progress. Having no physical legacy infrastructure is what keeps cloud-native platforms like Yobota nimble, and nobody has more legacy infrastructure than the big banks. 

The greatest roadblock facing innovation today is the risk that regulation and policy might not keep up with the pace of technological advancement. Regulatory bodies must work at lightning speed to ensure players in the financial services space are not being held back in their digital transformation efforts. 

How do you help financial institutions looking to migrate from legacy technology? How can core banking platforms help financial institutions innovate?

The strength of our core banking platform is that financial institutions cannot just offer FS products through our BaaS solution, but actually update their infrastructure entirely. Being able to reliably and securely bring new products to market is the only way to keep pace with the sector today, and that technological basis is fundamental to innovative and creative thinking. 

What areas of financial services do you believe have the most growth potential for the coming years? What can we expect from Yobota in 2022 and beyond?

The past few years have proven the futility of trying to predict where the next FS boom will take place – what matters most is ensuring that our partners can deliver financial solutions that are built for today, meeting their customers at the point of need, and that they are able to scale and adapt to the needs of tomorrow. 

Now that Yobota is part of Chetwood Financial, we are ideally placed to ramp up the flexibility and support we provide to our partners, ensuring that they won’t fall behind their competition in the next wave of digital transformation. We will keep making our core banking platform stronger and our solutions smarter to keep our partners one step ahead, no matter what comes. 

About Julia McColl

Julia McColl is a founding member of Chetwood Financial, having led the business from start-up to scale-up and beyond. She has a wealth of experience creating innovative consumer-led products that deliver ROI and make people better off. 


About Chetwood Financial

Chetwood Financial was founded in 2016 to challenge every aspect of how financial services firms operate today. Its products use innovative means of delivering value to users, and its Banking-as-a-Service solutions (powered by its subsidiary Yobota) allow its partners to offer that same value to their users as well.


About Yobota

Yobota is a cloud-native core banking platform that provides solutions that flex with changing business needs, always allowing its partners to meet demand and drive innovation. 

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Keywords: BaaS, core banking, digitalisation, fintech, cloud services
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: Chetwood Financial, Yobota
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech

Chetwood Financial



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