FinTech is a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities. FinTech revenues worldwide in 2018 amounted to 92 billion euros covering a wide range of services. According to the forecast presented and published by Statista’s Research Department, the sector's revenue is expected to grow at an average rate of nearly 12 percent in the following years and reach a value 188 billion euros by 2024.
Banks and other financial institutions face new competitive challenges today. Following a global pandemic that started in March 2020, digitization of products, processes and services became at its most relevant and necessary. Many financial technology solution providers race to compete with each other as the market developed substantial opportunities. The pandemic provided the ultimate test environment for the digital readiness of all kinds of businesses, including SMEs, forcing momentum for the FinTech Sector. Banking, cards, payment services etc have been forced to follow the direction of demand and adopt digital approaches and automation. As more customers have now switched to digital, Financial Institutions are experiencing the benefits with a now faster growing customer base and revenue.
LFS provide comprehensive networking and advisory services, from ideation to proof of concept (Business, technical and functional writing), to process mapping and automation, to digitization, to testing, to deployment, to piloting, to all-inclusive support and training.
Our consultants harness innovation and deliver an end-to-end experience that includes strategy, architecture, customer experience, service management, project management & product management. We help our clients to make their IT fit for their digital business.
LFS experts have helped clients to offer a variety of digital products and services through in-house knowledge and experience to customize generic offerings to the specific needs of the bank / MFI, its clients, and the market, including but not limited to mapping, digitizing, automating and improving internal workflows.
Already at the pre-selection stage we assist clients with formulating and aligning an IT strategy that fits their digital finance and business strategy and building their future systems on the bases of Enterprise Architecture principles. We believe initial steps i.e. Data Flow Analysis, Process Mapping, Requirements Gathering, Low and High Fidelity Prototyping etc are essential in the success of an IT project and extends from ideation to concept.
We help selecting the right solution and vendor by supporting a comprehensive vendor and solution selection process, drafting the respective tender documents and requirement catalogues, evaluate incoming offers, finalizing long- and short lists and organize and evaluate vendor and solution presentation and proposals. Upon the identification of a preferred vendor and solution, we assist clients in the respective negotiation process. For this latter service we also accept performance related pay components.
In Implementation Projects we help to structure, prepare and manage throughout the project life cycle. We offer project management services, services in sourcing for project teams and other IT positions and assist in individual project tasks and phases. LFS can help to make the final go or no-go decisions throughout the testing and development following the Agile project life cycle.
We assist our clients in making their IT Operations deliver under the new solution landscape with project steering committees. The project team can assist with observation and analysis during the pilot phase and help train the expected users of new software or systems.
LFS' advisors are proficient in using industry practice third party or open source solutions for project management (MS Project), business process modelling (Bizagi), work organisation and work flow management (MS SharePoint, Jira), knowledge management, distribution and documentation (MS SharePoint, Confluence, Invision) and others.
LFS deploys a range of proprietary Tools and Solutions, all of which have been tested and hardened in real project situations. Our toolbox includes:
LFS maintains a comprehensive network of associated highly qualified IT professionals. We maintain partnerships with service providers in the areas of enterprise architecture, IT operations, and business process design. Where appropriate and beneficial for a project, we will source them for our assignments.
LFS has implemented a number of projects in different geographies, such as Egypt (Sandah for Microfinance and Al Ahly Capital) and Pakistan (Karandaaz), where LFS helped setting up MVSE finance institutions. We have assisted to developed strategies in digital finance for Palestine Investment Bank and Caja Piura in Peru and in climate finance for PEG Ghana and Yemen Kuwait Bank. For GIZ Jordan, LFS have provided support to the local Central Bank as well as to the Development & Employment Fund. In Kyrgyzstan, we managed a project to develop and launch an IT Portal for the customers of a local mortgage lending institutions and its clients. LFS has extensive work experience in Europe, the MENA region, Sub-Sahara Africa, Asia, the Pacific Region and, Latin America and with all major development finance institutions. LFS recently launched HelloCash, which is a proprietary community based cash hailing application. HelloCash's cash management platform creates a peer-to-peer network between mobile money users (interoperable through aggregation) to allow them to manage their cash needs among themselves. As such, we uniquely blends business acumen with IT and project management knowledge with deep experience in sustainable finance. To ensure cost efficiency, we adapted key internal processes to the vendors’ model bank and opted for a cloud-based product. In this aspect we also assisted our client in establishing a management level service for managing its vendors. The project was delivered in time, scope and budget.
From 2017 till 2019, LFS worked with the Social Fund for Development (SFD), the Yemenite apex body, to enhance the agricultural loan process via the introduction of a digital tool to improve the collection and analysis of loan data. For this project, a tablet based smart application was developed which allows agricultural loan officers to enter loan data (pictures, GPS locations, financial details and cross-checks) in the field. After data entry, the application can be connected to the MFIs’ back-end systems for information processing. LFS supported two MFIs to successfully pilot and rollout of the smart application. A first benchmarking exercise three months after introduction of the tool revealed that the MFIs were able to increase the average number of monthly loan applications by nearly 20% and reduce backend data entry time from 25 minutes to 10 minutes per application. The app was subsequently introduced by other Yemeni MFIs with the support of SFD.
In 2019, UNCDF contracted LFS to provide technical assistance for the development of Vodafone Fiji’s digital payments strategy. Vodafone is the leading operator of mobile money and m-commerce in the Pacific and wishes to reinforce this market position by aligning its current payment offering and adding further digital financial services and products to the existing ecosystem. Starting with an analysis of the external environment for digital payments and financial services in Fiji and the region, LFS subsequently conducted a diagnostic mission to the Vodafone Headquarter in Suva, Fiji to map existing digital payment services and ongoing payment initiatives and assess the internal digital readiness of all departments. The on the ground mission culminated in a participatory digital strategy workshop with Vodafone’s key executives, during which the key pillars of the digital strategy were agreed and subsequently translated into an aligned and comprehensive strategy document.
In 2019, LFS aided the development of a joint underwriting process of the State Mortgage Company (SMC) of Kyrgyzstan and its partner bank, supported by an online solution, that allows clients to apply online, gather and store credit support documents (title deeds, police registration, income verification, certificates etc.), make them available to banks along the application process and support the joint underwriting of banks and SMC. Key activities included: Institutional assessment of risk management practises in SMC. Development of a joint underwriting process of banks and SMC, where banks assume a retail function and SMC a wholesale function for underwriting housing loans in a variety of programmes of SMC. Developing a Business Requirement Document and functional requirements for the online application to support the new underwriting process. Developing the online application, including integration into Core Banking System of SMC, interfacing with various state bodies (in particular Tunduk, an integrator for government services), payment services (cards, accounts, wallets) and banks and the creation of a client specific space for document storage and communication. Supported going live with the application and provided pilot support.
Raphaelle is LFS’ in-house specialist for IT consulting and other technology issues requiring deep IT expertise. She has achieved a Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications, Software and Engineering from Dublin City University. Prior to joining LFS, she developed websites, a financial application for corporate actions and designed and developed a heat mapping automation tool for risk management. At LFS, she has been involved in Digital Finance related projects in Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Yemen, Brunei, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Many of Raphaelle’s tasks include the mapping/enhancement and automation of processes, assessment and improvement of Micro Finance Institutions’ IT Environments and introducing/designing/prototyping/building tools and applications. Often, Raphaelle is bridging the gap between business and technology.