BankiFi + Nationwide Building Society = happy business customers

Wednesday 16 October 2019 11:53 CET | Editor: Melisande Mual | Interview

In a joint interview at Sibos 2019, Emma Huntington and Conny Dorrestijn discuss Nationwide`s recent investment in BankiFi, as it plans to launch its business banking service


First of all, what is the difference between a building society and a bank? Also, could you provide more details about Nationwide Building Society and BankiFi?

Emma: Banks are companies usually listed on the stock market, and hence are owned by, and run to the benefit of its shareholders. On the flip side, building societies do not have external shareholders involved in their business. Current account and savings account holders, along with mortgage borrowers, are members of the society, who can vote on decisions that will affect the overall building society. Without the need to pay dividends to shareholders, building societies are more focused on offering better rates and a higher level of customer service to their members.

In the 80s, there was more of a defined difference between a bank and a building society, but the governmental changes since then have blurred the lines a little. Come the dawn of the 1980s, the government decided that banks would now be able to offer mortgages. Up to this point, only building societies were offering mortgages. Moreover, during that time, building societies were given the option to offer traditional banking products such as the current account.

Nationwide Building Society is a British mutual financial institution, the world’s largest building society, the UK’s second largest mortgage provider, and one of the UK’s largest savings providers.

Two years ago, we started our ventures through which we invest in early-stage startups, pilot new technologies, and test new solutions and business models through our business incubator. Nationwide is making strategic investments in and is collaborating with early stage startups exploring innovative products and services that could provide real benefits for the Society’s members in the future. The venture arm is focusing on different areas, from house and home, payments, banking-as-a-platform, to communities and societies, personal data and identity, SMEs and many more.

Conny: Based out of the UK and the Netherlands, BankiFi offers financial institutions solutions technology to enable their business customer with the right Open Banking solutions at every stage of life, throughout their entire journey. We offer a native cloud managed services scenario with user subscription whereby the bank subscribes to a set of micro services of their choice: invoicing, accounting, payments, nudges, lending, virtual accounts, cash management, etc.

The bank creates its own bundle for a particular segment or solution by combining a set of these services. Ultimately, the bank can opt to let the business customer also create its own bundle from their banking selection in order to create a customer specific experience. At any stage, new services can be added or removed as the business services are hosted and updated in the cloud.

The true impact and benefit is for the bank’s business customers, something that is key to Mark Hartley, my founding partner, and myself.

Could you please elaborate on how the investment will support the growth strategy of Nationwide? 

Emma: The investment is the latest deal from the GBP 50 million Venturing Fund set up a year ago, which is designed to create partnerships in which the Society and partners share knowledge and expertise. We are now looking at delivering new capabilities for Nationwides business customers by exploring new services and technologies that will help deliver our technology strategy now and in the future. Nationwide has announced its intention to launch an SME bank, an SME current account and, as a result, we are collaborating with BankiFi to look at how we could make additional services available for business customers.

Conny: BankiFis platform provides business account holders with a menu of services such as accounting, invoicing, payments, cash flow, VAT submission, lending and banking services – from the bank or its pre-approved third party providers through a single API. We support the idea that Open Banking should mean greater choice for business customers as well, and that they deserve financial and banking services that are wrapped around their daily lives. Banks and building societies can bundle our micro services into any bundle they or their customers might choose and offer it through their preferred channel. This experience is possible with the latest technology, through one bank cockpit without sending the customers off to meander through endless apps.

What can we expect from Nationwide and BankiFi in the not too distant future?

Conny: We look forward to working with Nationwide to explore how we can help them with their new business current account proposition and ensure their business customers get access to new technology.

At BankiFi we will continue building up our micro services which can connect to banking services via application programming interfaces (APIs). We are looking into the large enterprise area, enterprise integration. On the longer roadmap, we are also looking into co-developing microbusiness services with large banks for specific customers.

Emma: As mentioned, we are launching our SME bank and now, together with BankiFi, are exploring how we could make new and exciting services available for business customers.

Moreover, we focus on inclusive economy partnerships and we believe Open Banking presents a huge opportunity to help people manage their money better and support a more inclusive financial services sector. We are looking for innovators to come forward with ideas to help people living on a financial knife edge. Nationwide Building Society has challenged the fintech community to develop Open Banking technology that helps improve the lives of the one in four UK households who are financially squeezed.

Launched in September, Open Banking for Good will pair established fintechs and startups with debt and money charities in a bid to develop apps that help drive financial inclusion. The initiative is part of a Government-sponsored programme, dubbed the Inclusive Economy Partnership, to bring together public and private sector organisations to enable positive change across all communities.

About Conny Dorrestijn

Conny Dorrestijn is globally active in the fintech industry, as BankiFi’s Founding partner and in range of Advisory and non-executive roles in fintech, advisory and investment companies.


About BankiFi

BankiFi supports financial institutions in the monetisation of their open banking infrastructure through micro business services which the bank can bundle into a relevant business accounting and banking offering.

Abourt Emma Huntington

Emma is currently leading Nationwide’s Strategic Development, Innovation and Venturing capability. She launched Nationwide’s first strategic venture fund to invest and partner within the global fintech market. She is focused on creating an innovation environment to seed and test new business and propositional concepts & introducing user centred design methodologies to create propositions for new and core areas of the Society.

About Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide is the worlds largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and the second largest mortgages provider in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers and members. Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwides head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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Keywords: BankiFi, Nationwide Building Society, interview, investment, SMEs, fintech, Sibos 2019, payments , banking, Open Banking, API, innovation, financial inclusion, Business Banking, accounting, invoicing, payments , cash flow, VAT submission, lending
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