Finovate Award Winner MANTL Publishes Report Warning Traditional FIs to Digitize Now or Lose Later

By W.B. King

It has been a busy few months for the New York City-based MANTL. The banking technology firm, which offers financial institutions an omnichannel account opening platform, took home the 2021 Finovate Award for “Best Back Office/Core Services Solution.”

Co-founder and CEO Nathaniel Harley said the late-September designation is a “shared achievement” across the entire company, which counts “multiple credit unions” as clients. This figure, he said, has continued to increase since the firm opened its doors in 2016.

Among reasons MANTL nabbed the Finovate Award is that its platform enables customers to open accounts from anywhere, on any device and at any time. Users can open a new account through its white-labeled platform in as little as 2 minutes 37 seconds, noted Harley.

MANTL CEO Nathaniel Harley.

“Through our flagship account opening software, MANTL has optimized the consumer onboarding experience and helped community institutions — many of which are competing online for the first time — establish efficient and profitable digital operations,” said Harley. “As a result, our customers onboard hundreds of thousands of new customers and raise billions of dollars in core deposits each year.”

The Cost of Not Modernizing

In an effort to better understand the banking demographics its serves, MANTL, in association with Wakefield Research, recently published “The 2021 Banking Impact Report: New trends redefining the role of community banks and credit unions in the U.S. financial system.”

The report’s goal was to identify how evolving banking trends impact the local community and the role that banks and credit unions play in the U.S. financial system. To this end, the report surveyed three key demographics: 1,000-plus consumers, aged 18 and over with a bank account; 500 U.S. small business owners with a bank account (defined as those with annual revenue of $25 million or less); and 100 community banking executives and 50 credit union executives, defined as those vice president and above, who manage between $500 million and $50 billion in assets.

Among topical findings is that despite the rise in neobanks, the traditional banking model remains resistant against this emerging trend. To this end, only 7% of consumers and 8% of businesses trust neobanks over a traditional bank. The report, however, also found that it might only be a matter time before traditional financial institutions lose members and customers to emerging digital-first competition.

Currently, 43% of community banks and credit unions do not offer online account opening for consumers and that figure is even higher for businesses, the report stated. More than half of consumers (58%) and small business owners (57%) “will not do business with an institution that doesn’t offer online account opening,” regardless of whether the account is opened in-person or online.

“Credit unions must recognize that the opportunity cost of not modernizing is now a matter of survival and they must not only offer the services — but the superior digital experiences — that consumers now expect,” said Harley. “The top three banking experiences that consumers expect their financial institution to offer are mobile transfers and check deposits; notifications for fraud, bills due and large purchases; and online account opening.”

With 48% of consumers and 50% of small business owner (SBO) respondents likely to open an account at a community bank or credit union in the next 12 months, the report stated this “will severely limit new customer acquisition, particularly among younger