Finastra to prioritise tackling financial exclusion and SME funding issues

Finastra to prioritise tackling financial exclusion and SME funding issues

As part of its accelerated innovation mission and open cloud platform strategy, Finastra has set forth a plan to support nine million lives around the world and focus on resolving the SME funding gap, inequality in financial services and financial exclusion.

While efforts to reduce the number of people who are unbanked or underbanked around the world (1.7 billion) have had gradual success, what is also evident is that the best and most impactful way of reducing poverty is through employment and empowerment.

In an attempt to bridge the $19 billion SME funding gap in Kenya Finastra has launched Trust Machine, a microfinance initiative that with support from partners such as GreenPoint Financial, University of Leeds, ETH Zurich, Straterix and ConsenSys, provides a loan and balance sheet optimisation solution.

Trust Machine’s aim is to lower the funding gap by 1% in every country Finastra approaches, potentially creating 50,000 new jobs and in turn, improving sustainable economic growth.

Alongside this boost to the SME sector, this model allows fintech firms to localise components and build business lending apps, which can target a generic customer base or focus on specific outcomes such as female empowerment, healthcare or energy.

Similarly, in Bangladesh, Finastra’s digital solutions are enabling the likes of IFIC Bank to provide five million people with access to financial services through an account offering named Aamar.

Further to this, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to create uncertainty, many technology providers are pressured to transform rapidly, seizing the opportunity to help banks move from the response phase to recovery.

Fuelled by Finastra’s Fusion Cash Management, Ecobank created cross-border payment and cash management system across 34 countries and processed $75 million in transaction volumes for Covid-19 relief funds to citizens.

In the US, similar challenges persist. According to a UC Berkeley report, up to 1.3 million purchase and refinance loans were rejected for African American and Latinx applicants. To accurately identify potential bias in credit decisions and mitigate anomalies, Vista Global Hackathon 2020 winner FinEqual has been tasked with resolving this issue.

Finastra’s core banking platform Fusion Phoenix, after having moved to the cloud earlier this year is also expected to enable US community banks and credit unions to provide continued banking support remotely to nearly a million end users.

Simon Paris, CEO of Finastra, highlights that amid the unprecedented change and disruption, with it must “come a broader awareness of the need to redefine finance for good, and to empower better outcomes for society as a whole.”

He continues: “Our goal is to support our customers through this change as they accelerate their digital transformation and deepen the role of financial services to help millions of individuals, SMEs and communities navigate the future. Our people, technology and ecosystem help tackle some of the biggest challenges in our industry, with the aim of driving open finance and economic prosperity for all.”

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