John San Filippo
Tyfone and Cubus Merge, Chart New Course
Updated: May 22
By John San Filippo
On April 27, 2023, Tyfone, makers of the nFinia digital banking platform, announced a merger with Cubus Solutions. Although Cubus Solutions had its own digital banking platform called Cubus One, most of its business was derived from its core-agnostic, digital banking-agnostic point solutions, the most popular of which is its robust skip-a-pay solution. Thus going forward, the original Tyfone team will stay focused on enhancing nFinia, while the former Cubus team, now dubbed the Tyfone Business Solutions Unit, will be responsible for enhancing these existing point solutions, as well as developing new ones.
What’s in It for Credit Unions
Finopotamus spoke with Tyfone CEO Siva Narendra and former Cubus CEO John-Ashley Paul, who now leads the Tyfone Business Solutions Unit, about the direction for this expanded company, as well as the overall future of digital finance. We first asked how the two organizations will complement each other for the benefit of credit unions.
“Tyfone has primarily been a platform company,” said Narendra. “We go in and streamline member experiences with the digital banking platform that is technically channel agnostic. That's how we architected it. But a platform approach carries a lot of baggage. It's about the jumbled mess of wires that are in most institutions, ranging from a core banking system, potentially all the way to modern APIs (application programming interfaces) with fintech use cases.” He explained that, as a platform, nFinia is the aggregator of all these technologies.
“Cubus is really apart from the platform approach,” Narendra continued, “Cubus streamlines user experiences through a lot of these unique business solutions that credit unions need. Skip-a-pay is a great example. It's easy to provide a user interface to a member that wants to skip a payment, but then you got to take that request and create a whole bunch of back office manual processes. The Cubus team has built several of these digital transformation automation solutions.”
Paul further explained that from the outset, Cubus was focused on extracting data from the core and using that data to create business solutions that filled operational gaps. “The first gaps specifically were electronic statements and alerts,” he said. “We built out, independent of all the data, electronic statement and electronic alert solutions.” Cubus became the first non-printer to offer e-statements, he noted. The company continued to leverage its knowledge of core processing to create other point solutions, including a rewards program and automated skip-a-pay program.
“If you really look at the digital banking platform, it's about streamlining member experiences. That's the primary focus,” added Narendra. The Business Solutions Unit is about optimizing a specific feature function for the institution – not just about streamlining member experiences alone. The digital banking platform is about hiding all the jumbled wires so the members don't see them. The Business Solutions approach is to really clean up the jumbled wires.”
Although each business unit will ultimately be responsible for its own product set, there are plans in place for the sharing of knowledge and experience across those business units.
“We're embedding the two teams,” said Narendra. “We’ll share a project management office.” He added that the chief technology officers from both groups are working together to compare approaches and processes, with the goal of identifying a unified set of company standards. He said that even though nFinia is the surviving digital banking platform, there’s plenty the nFinia team can learn from Cubus One.
“We are already beginning to cross pollinate our expertise,” said Narendra.
“The technical teams were together last week,” added Paul. “They're already excited about sharing ideas. They're excited to learn from each other – about these new initiatives and pushing the envelope, using a combined strengths in programming, customer service and marketing.”
Fintechs and an Extended Ecosystem
Tyfone has long been committed to establishing an ecosystem of third-party solutions, allowing its customers to create a truly customized solution. Finopotamus asked how both the merger and the broad industry focus on fintech partnerships might affect this ecosystem.
“Fintechs come in two different flavors,” explained Narendra. “There are ones that don't rely on our customers’ access to the ledger system – the core banking. And there are fintechs that do. We have been primarily focused on fintechs that don't necessarily need access to the core banking system, and to the extent that they do need access to it, we can facilitate that.” He added that because of the Cubus team’s expertise in core processing, Tyfone can now better serve the fintechs that require robust ledger access.
“Now we have the ability to create a marketplace, not limited to a financial institution's digital banking footprint,” he continued, “because at the end of the day, the digital banking footprint for a financial institution is only as big as the financial institution’s user base, but the Business Solutions Unit will have solutions that could integrate to a marketplace that's much larger than the financial institution.”
An Eye to the Future
Finally, Finopotamus asked about the future of digital banking and Tyfone’s place in that future.
“Consistent user experience will become more and more important, not because it is not there today, but it needs to go into more and more touchpoints,” said Narendra. “It's no longer just your phone, tablet, PC, smartwatch, smart speakers, your car, who knows? The future may be very different. So having a consistent user experience is important. We built the nFinia architecture so we can always add new modes of interaction without having to build everything from scratch. I don't exactly know what the future user experience is, but we don't need to know because we're ready for it, whatever it is.”
The user experience will, according to Narendra, include embedded finance and real-time payments such as FedNow. “The embedded finance space – we have to get ready for it,” he said. “And one of the most critical aspects we believe is essential is enabling FedNow and other real-time payment solutions that will become ubiquitous in the US market.”
Paul added that continued and close collaboration with the credit unions it serves will be key to the company’s success. “The whole is going be greater than sum of the parts,” he said of the merger. I think in this case, one plus one equals three. The three represents [Tyfone and Cubus] and the credit union. It’s all about Tyfone and the credit union combining forces to solve problems for the members.”