Annahita is a content and brand marketer who enjoys writing about the transformative power of Flinks and the fintech space. When not telling Flinks' story, you can catch her reading, travelling, and fostering kittens

Filling the Gaps in Data Connectivity

By Annahita Mirsalari on August 9th, 2023

Reading Time: 4 min

With the launch of Flinks Upload, the Flinks and Ocrolus partnership took center stage July 2023, featuring a Flinks Engage session dedicated to sharing the best ways technology can bridge the gaps in financial data connectivity. 

The session, led by Adam Gibson, GM of Open Banking at Flinks, and David Snitkof, SVP of Growth at Ocrolus, tackled the issues businesses encounter when attempting to access user-permissioned data. The vibrant conversation centered on how technology can be best utilized for businesses, with a primary focus on enhancing customer experience and boosting revenue generation.  

Here are some key takeaways from the session: 

Accessing banking data is complex

The first order of business in the discussion was addressing the elephant in the room:  as it currently stands, accessing user-permissioned banking data is not easy. Although data aggregation technology comes close to 100% accuracy, it’s not a silver bullet. David points out “an interesting thing about bank data is it is customer-provided or customer-permissioned data. There is no bank data bureau.” 

This makes it difficult to have 100% accuracy all of the time, but as David points out, “the customer actually has to be involved in the experience of providing that data to you or authorizing you to go get that data on their behalf, which creates a lot of interesting workflow challenges as well as opportunities.”

A hybrid approach to data collection

The lack of standardized banking information means businesses must rely on different channels to receive a customer’s data. A poll of the audience demonstrated that the majority of viewers take a hybrid approach to data collection: 

Despite Flinks having more US OAuth connections than ever, there are no formal Open Banking programs in the US or CA. Adam finds that a hybrid model works best for two reasons:

  1. Not all customers trust OAuth and are uncertain if it’s reliable
  2. Customers sometimes forget their credentials, causing connectivity issues and failures

David picks up on that discussion point, noting that “lots of financial services providers are just at the beginning of the digital transformation journey, [which is why] a hybrid model makes lots of sense here as they can use data aggregation or manual upload to make the process as easy as possible for their customers.”

Leveraging document upload technology

Many businesses rely on documentation, particularly lenders. They traditionally deal with these documents in sub-optimal ways, such as manual reviews and undifferentiated optical character recognition (OCR). 

David highlights the fact that “people upload documents of really varying quality. And lenders need to have a high-quality output to make the right decision. And so you’re always balancing accuracy, speed, cost standardization and so on.” Lenders especially need high-quality outputs to make the right loan decisions, which is why Flinks has launched its partnership with Ocrolus to offer a combined solution with both data aggregation and document upload technology. 

David goes on to explain that “the more digital, automated, and customer-centric, the more competitive lenders can be. Getting that data allows lenders to make more accurate decisions, and extend credit to more people whom they were not able to lend before, because they can get a more accurate profile of their customers. And as lenders, you also want great customer experience and great risk management to further maintain that relationship with your customers.” 

Optionality is the best workflow

Adam points out that “there are many different versions of workflow, and everybody does it a bit differently – we have customers who only do data connectivity and eliminate all other options including fallback; on the other side, some use connectivity as their fallback, whilst they have data coming from a broker channel to their Salesforce. They embrace optionality by giving their customers choices.”

Adam goes on to say “the focus should be on how to get financial data from nearly 100% of my users. And in order to do that, how do I give optionality to them?…The customers that I think have succeeded the most are the ones that have embraced optionality and choice, and they think: how do I equip my team, my product, and my experience with the best options to just open the floodgates to pull in financial data, however customers are willing to use it?” From there,  businesses are able to then standardize it, enrich it, and interpret it. For Adam, the most successful business mentality is one where companies “aren’t married to one technology or another technology, but are focused on kind of the task at hand, which is how do I get financial data from nearly 100% of my users?” 

Golden age of customer experience

David summarizes the current state of data connectivity best when he points out that “your borrowers expect a digital and automated process. We combine digital process and document support to help businesses get through this process so that more and more of them can implement this solution.” Until we refine our data aggregation processes and embrace Open Banking completely, Adam notes that technology helps “you with a hybrid way.” 

This is where technologies like Flinks Upload make the greatest impact. Flinks Upload provides reliable, standardized bank data with more high-quality outputs, which facilitates accurate credit decisioning. It’s flexible implementation also gives customers options, providing a truly customer-centric, seamless experience.

Curious to learn more? You can watch the entire discussion on-demand here

Interested in finding out how you can implement Flinks Upload into your workflow or product? Contact a member of our team today and we’ll get you started! 

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