“MyMonty is a life project. Building a bank is a very complex endeavor. It will become the flagship of the Monty Finance brand. This means added responsibility while focusing on the team’s passion and accepting challenges wholeheartedly,” Cesar Jabr, Deputy CEO, Monty Holding
What is MyMonty’s scope of activity? The financial company’s sole focus is to provide a seamless digital banking experience that contributes to financial inclusion to reach underserved and excluded populations. A goal that could be considered rather ambitious but not impossible. MyMonty is not just a neobank. It is a multifaceted initiative meant to remedy the way that financial exclusion has been practiced.
From this core belief, MyMonty has been formed to solemnly deliver on this promise, all while adopting and implementing the needed measures to materialize this vision. Before anything, MyMonty binds itself to the application of digital onboarding. The financial technology (Fintech) business is currently on the rise. Many emerging financial companies are focusing their operations on achieving success and delivering innovative solutions to transform the sector, and easy accessibility is critical by eliminating the need to go to a bank to complete one’s finances physically. It’s no secret that, nowadays, people’s reliance on technology has amplified, and chances are, it will continue to do so. At its core, and purely from a perceptual aspect, MyMonty represents the public’s disconnection from traditional banks and interconnection with digital banks.
The market’s opportunity for the financial company has been synchronized with the comprehensive reshaping of the financial sector and how the public relates to and adheres to the requirements of digital transformation. Simply, MyMonty’s market opportunity lies in most people’s need to manage their finances digitally from the comfort of their smartphones. Cesar believes transitioning from traditional to digital means “less social pressure and friction. On the contrary, it means the presence of a well-prepared user experience (UX) framework, accommodating clients developed needs to meet the sector’s digitalization.”
Competition between digital banks and legacy banks is intensifying. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers tolerated the absence of a robust digital presence in the banking sector. However, with the rise of financial technology solutions, banks are struggling when offering their users the innovation they seek. A struggle that brought into being a rivalry between the old and the new, altering the dynamics between financial institutions and their customers. Yet, while it has become notably acknowledged that user experience will fundamentally change, why are traditional banks still refraining from developing a digital user-oriented strategy?
The Deputy CEO acknowledges that some traditional banks are on the right track, and some have already begun developing such strategies, but not all. This could create a certain imbalance in the legacy banking system; those riding the transformative wave of digitalization [accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic] and those who now stand vulnerable in the face of digital disruption.
“Competition is always strongest in a saturated financial market,” Cesar highlighted, “traditional banks, in general, are not designed to be user-oriented. Their systems and processes are built in a way to satisfy regulations and maximize their own protection. Even if these traditional banks want to become user-focused, they need a mindset, attitude, training, communication, and even systematic transformation.”
Neobanks already play a significant part in digitalizing banks through their extensive offering of profitable and favorable solutions that give users more control over finance. Through the automation of numerous services, they are already lowering operating costs for banks. Yet, for neobanks to ensure the success of their operations, a drastic shift in tactics also needs to happen. They must make the necessary adjustments to alter the focus from attracting new clients and products to heightening their customer service needs.
Hence, user-friendliness is a vital element in the design model for MyMonty. With the growth of neobanks, “we would advise traditional banks to relocate their target market into a corporate, investment, and private banking, leaving retail and small and medium-sized business’s (SMB) banking to neobanks such as MyMonty,” Cesar said.
With online banking, users can still do routine financial transactions with fewer visits to a physical bank. On the other hand, personalization technologies used in digital banking allow for the mapping of consumer preferences and the incorporation of intelligent tools such as chatbots and tech support.
Most conventional banks confuse online banking and digital banking when adopting transformative solutions. In fact, some legacy banks’ online banking experiences had their fair share of failures. On one side, you have the challenges of traditional banks, and on the other, the opportunity for fintech services to address this market. The bad news, however, is digital banks are not yet profitable. The good news is that users are benefiting from this competition.
A Digital and Traditional Alliance
Nowadays, consumers and businesses throughout the world have become more and more reliant on online banking. This is good news given the growth of any digital entity relies heavily on the customers’ perception of it. This is mainly due to the enablement of accessibility to managing their finances from anywhere in the world
Traditional banks have elevated their offering of online services, but that does not necessarily mean they cannot take such offerings to another level. They can gain immense advantages from working with fintech companies delivering niche digital banking solutions that would help banks enhance their customers’ experience.
Be that as it may, big banks are still holding back from showing fintech companies that they consider them a threat, despite acknowledging the fact that fintech companies have an opportunistic advantage over them. But could such antipathy affect the digital maturity between both entities?
There is no denying there is a mutual benefit for both parties, and the reality is that there is more opportunity to create an alliance – instead of birthing a quarrelsome rivalry. The greatest challenge for traditional banks comes from within, from their failure, or more accurately refusal, to go digital. Two distinct segments have emerged as a result of the market’s digital maturity. The first segment is deemed relatively costly for banking, with branches to service retails and SMD client. The other segment focuses on the digital aspect of banking solutions, such as investment, corporate, and private banking. This duality provides an answer to the dilemma of cost-cutting.
The next step is to provide value by collaborating with fintech companies to offer digital banking, and truth be told, the stock market gets a charge out of this opportunistic combination.
“Cutting cost, creating value, and the ability to scale. MyMonty is positioned to play a major role in each of them. Banks will reduce costs by allowing neobanks like MyMonty to manage their retail and SMB business,” Cesar explained.
“Banks will see their value raised when perceived by the market as digital. The alliances with fintech enterprises, like MyMonty, will allow banks to offer digital financial services. By definition, they will become digital platforms for embedded finance when these alliances are formed. This a coupled phase on legacy and digital life cycles,” he added.
Fintech Academy and Center of Excellence
Another initiative close to Cesar’s heart is the fintech academy. Started in 2016, it is a body of fintech knowledge, used as a foundation for the Monty FinTech academy. This is a highly relevant inclusion to this article because financial technology is not only about mobile money and banking, or even wallets. For example, MyMonty targets the financially excluded, the unbanked, and the underbanked.
Did you know that females in emerging markets are more financially excluded than in developed markets? This academy’s strategy is to empower women in terms of managing their finances, and is currently working on campaigns to achieve this goal.
“Our strategy is to empower the lady in the house, the mother, to manage the family finances. We are preparing initiatives in this direction because most families on this continent are matriarchal,” Cesar explained.
In Africa, the academy of fintech is set to implement different approaches to spread knowledge in rural areas. This means working on the telecom network, the disruptors, conducting community meetings with media support, and others. The company will not rely on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or their funding but rather the effort of translating local dialects and converting the course into digital content to be funneled to the dissemination medium.
“We will be providing funding for the telecom bandwidth for the courses to be delivered through the telecom network, just like governments did for schools during the Covid pandemic. We will train the last mile telecom distributors and agents to assist in the training,” Cesar highlighted.
When Cesar first started creating fintech awareness in 2015 and 2016, the concept was relatively new and not commonly known. From there, he was faced with challenges on how to move beyond the limitations of the basic model of fintech. The initiative is primarily created to spread fintech awareness in favor of financial inclusion and, by default, distinguish what MyMonty offers.
If left unsupervised and unregulated with the right policies, fintech can be hazardous, considering the technology’s detachment from ethical values. Therefore, creating a close and personal interaction between the company and users must deliver a better experience through customer-centricity. And this is at the core of digital transformation.
The benefits of the academy’s fintech awareness lie in establishing and consolidating the need and relevance of the academy. Technology, telecoms, and other relevant skills will be the pillars of the curriculum. The idea is to emphasize the classroom structure while adding online, digital content, quick training videos, group projects, supporting materials, expert interventions, testing, grading, and certificates as and when needed. While it might appear like it would require a great deal of work, it does not mean it is unattainable.
“Our ambition is to build a Center of Excellence. We are now at the foundations level. We have technology success stories. We have in-house expertise, and we are filing for patents, publishing scientific content, and delivering courses. In case there are other foundations to add, we will be more than happy, ready, and willing to do so,” the Deputy CEO expressed.
At the moment, the company is having elaborate discussions with various technology and certification bodies and representatives for testing, grading, and certifications.
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