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Powered by Battery  |  September 29, 2020
Banking on Digital Upgrades in the Financial Sector—Even in a Pandemic

This season of the Powered by Battery podcast features portfolio executives representing companies from various geographies and technology sectors. The views expressed here are solely those of podcast guests, not Battery. If you’re interested in learning more about these companies, or others in the Battery portfolio, you can access more information here.

Banks and credit unions haven’t always been the quickest adopters of new, digital tools. But could the global pandemic push them along? In this episode of Powered by Battery, we chat with Dede Wakefield, CEO of financial-technology firm Alogent*, which sells technology to help financial institutions better manage their own internal processes and interact with customers online. Wakefield talks about how Covid-19 at first generated a “pause” in her business, with some customers putting off new initiatives temporarily—but then causing many to re-engage with new initiatives to make them more digitally savvy in a socially distanced world. In addition, Wakefield discusses her lessons learned from having a large team working from home, including changing the way she handles internal company communications. Have a listen.

Powered by Battery · Banking on Digital Upgrades in the Financial Sector—Even in a Pandemic

Key Takeaways:

  • Working from home has advantages—and disadvantages. Alogent is one of many companies that was able to fairly seamlessly convert to remote work once the pandemic arrived in March—partly because some of its employees were already working from home. After the pandemic is over, many companies may realize the productivity benefits of not having employees enduring long commutes each day, and of giving them more flexibility for dealing with family matters. But, as Wakefield notes, some workplace collaboration gets lost when employees can’t see each other face-to-face, including in chance office interactions.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. It may seem like overkill, but employees often appreciate more-frequent communication from the C-suite. Early in the pandemic, Wakefield was writing missives to her team once a week—and found that many employees responded well to more-frequent updates about company news, milestones and other happenings. They also appreciated her sharing some details about her own personal challenges during the pandemic.
  • The M&A process is different these days. Companies that rely on M&A as a major growth engine may need to tweak their strategies. With restrictions on business travel, it can be harder to visit potential targets and conduct due diligence. On the flip side, integrations may be less cumbersome, with fewer offices to merge.
  • Paper checks aren’t going away. Despite the rise of Apple Pay and Venmo, paper checks will be with us for a while. According to Wakefield, there were 14.5 billion checks written in 2019—meaning there are still lots of opportunities for technology players to help process those checks, including through electronic and mobile capture. Many people would still prefer to write a paper check than use digital methods, particularly for larger transactions.
  • Content and document management systems may not be sexy, but they’re important to banks. In addition to improving online services for customers, many fin-tech solutions can also help streamline banks’ internal processes and, in some cases, increase revenue. Credit unions with modern content- and document-management solutions, for instance, might find it easier to offer additional loan products to customers who have existing checking or savings accounts.

This material is provided for informational purposes, and it is not, and may not be relied on in any manner as, legal, tax or investment advice or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any fund or investment vehicle managed by Battery Ventures or any other Battery entity. 

The information and data are as of the publication date unless otherwise noted.

Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Battery Ventures has no obligation to update, modify or amend the content of this post nor notify its readers in the event that any information, opinion, projection, forecast or estimate included, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate.

The information above may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events or expectations. Predictions, opinions and other information discussed in this video are subject to change continually and without notice of any kind and may no longer be true after the date indicated. Battery Ventures assumes no duty to and does not undertake to update forward-looking statements.

*Denotes a Battery portfolio company. For a full list of all Battery investments, please click here.

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