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We’ve seen several trends gathering steam in the financial services sector in the past year, as Carole Layzell, Senior Director of Customer Transformation at Salesforce, identified at our recent EMEA Financial Services Summit. Among these is an emerging ethos of doing well by doing good – winning the support of new customers by catering to the financial needs of the under-served. 

The pandemic forced customers to rely on digital services more than before, leading many banks to embark on a massive drive to accelerate innovation in technology-enabled customer experience. 

How OakNorth went from the first cloud-based commercial bank to the top 1% 

We were thrilled to have OakNorth Bank’s Strategy Director of Product & Technology, Shubhanga Prasad, attend the Summit to share how his organization has responded to these trends. Having been the first bank in the UK to move to the cloud, OakNorth is now among the top 1% of commercial banks globally and has lent over £6.5 billion to SMEs to date.

Doing well by doing good

OakNorth Bank perfectly exemplifies what Layzell means by “doing well by doing good”. From its conception, the bank aimed to serve the underserved and lend to the “missing middle,” the small and mid-sized enterprises that often struggle to raise funding. This ethos, as well as what Prasad describes as a “best-in-class tech stack,” has been a major driving force for the bank’s success.

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Giving credit to the cloud

In his keynote, Prasad identified several advantages of OakNorth’s cloud-native, infrastructure light-ecosystem.

One of the most important requirements for a fintech company, Prasad says, is business continuity. A cloud-based infrastructure offers OakNorth the reliability and resilience it needs to continue operating under all circumstances. 

In early 2017, we discussed how MuleSoft’s hybrid solution could satisfy the regulator in a cloud-only deployment with the OakNorth team. This was ground-breaking for the financial services sector as at the time, most banks were entirely on-premise and had no plans to move to the cloud.

Even then, OakNorth understood that in a world where speed is essential, a business can take advantage of the flexibility of the cloud to innovate faster and with greater ease.

As one of Financial Times Stock Exchange’s 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe, agility and scalability are also key for OakNorth Bank. Its cloud infrastructure has allowed them to grow rapidly by onboarding large numbers of new customers without capacity limitations.

These benefits are underpinned by OakNorth’s API-led connectivity strategy, which provides the agility the bank needs to support its rapid transformation and growth in the cloud.

Fostering loyalty with developers 

“It’s the developers that build a fintech business,” Prasad identifies. Fintech businesses need to nurture good relationships with their developers and IT teams.

Since 2021, businesses have asked their IT teams to fulfill 30% more projects than in the 12 months prior. OakNorth has worked to package business capabilities as building blocks powered by APIs, which developers can reuse from project to project. This relieves them of unrealistic workloads and allows them to innovate faster.

Future fintech innovation

Through this approach, OakNorth Bank is becoming a composable business and is able to quickly create seamless experiences for its customers. 

OakNorth intends to use its partnership with MuleSoft to build upon and leverage the microservices it already has in new ways, creating more connected experiences for its customers. With these developments, they will be on a firm course to drive continued CX innovation and find new ways to serve the underserved, helping more entrepreneurs realize their ambitions.

Care to learn more? Read about how API-based modernization is transforming the banking industry in the latest whitepaper from Capgemini and MuleSoft.