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TOGETHER’S TRANSFORMATION STORY

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For over 40 years, Together has been committed to providing no-nonsense lending in even the most complicated of situations.

 

The company works with homebuyers, investors, landlords, and small businesses, and partners with a network of intermediaries, including brokers, accountants and solicitors, to secure the finance people need to buy a new home or start a new venture.

 

Antiquated processes

Historically, Together relied on manual processes, which were cumbersome and time-intensive. For a business that is focused on common-sense lending, the human touch in making intelligent business decisions is essential. However, it soon became apparent that the use of technology was an integral part in supporting people in making and implementing those decisions in the most efficient and effective way.

 

As the company began to experience rapid growth, this became even more essential, and so Together turned to Mastek to embark on a digital transformation journey.

 

Simon Carter, IT Director at Together, says, “The business had ambitious growth plans, but we recognised they couldn’t be achieved if we continued to work in the same way. We were very limited in our digital engagement with our intermediaries and our customers. To transform the business, we had to transform the technology.”

 

A journey of transformation

Because Together lends mostly through brokers, its transformation journey initially focused on them. Mastek helped the company replace obscure, complex product interfaces with a unified broker portal that is easier to use, much more systematic and clear about what brokers and customers can expect from Together, and about how the lender’s products work.

 

“We’ve removed paper-dependent steps out of processes, and automated manual ones. Our own research has shown 95% broker satisfaction with the new portal, and the business has reduced the underwriting turnaround by 30%. Meanwhile the business can instantly respond to regulatory changes. Ultimately, we have been able to grow the business in line with expectations, without changing the heart of the business,” says Simon Carter.

 

Improvements to the broker portal have also continued. For example, a recent addition of decision-in-principle functionality uses sophisticated underwriting logic to give potential customers immediate pre-approval for a specific loan amount. This gives them more information and confidence when choosing a lender to apply to.

 

Realising business growth

Together’s programme of smart change has played a big part in its ability to grow the value of its loan book by 150% in just three years, two years ahead of target.

 

Speed and ease of service have made Together increasingly attractive to brokers and their customers. New channels, such as mortgage clubs, have opened up to the lender. And Together’s many new internal efficiencies have allowed the company to take this growth in stride.

 

“Importantly, the partnership has provided us with the ability to scale up or down as business requirements change. We almost doubled our head count in the last four years, and trebled the size of the loan book, so this flexibility has been essential in supporting our rapid growth. Market conditions can also change, so it’s important to have the security of knowing the technology can support the business in that scenario too,” comments Simon Carter.

 

He adds, “the reality is that unless we had transformed, we may not be in business today. We recognised we needed to keep pace with the changing market, but the growth we’ve witnessed since our digital transformation shows we’re more than competing.”

 

Agile development

In the four years since starting to work with Together on the broker portal, the original 14-strong Mastek team has grown to more than 100, working on more than 125 Agile development projects and IT-enabled business enhancements.

 

Steve Thomason, Head of Business Systems at Together, explains, “We don’t buy our core IT products off the shelf; we’ve always pursued bespoke development of our systems of differentiation. It’s a strategy that works for us, giving us the control and flexibility to respond to broker and customer needs without ever waiting on a software provider.”

 

Before bringing Mastek on board, developments were managed in-house with ad-hoc use of contractors; but as the company’s ambitions grew and the pace of change accelerated, there was an unwelcome increase in delivery delays. These are now a thing of the past, with readily scalable Mastek resource and effective Agile development processes in place.

 

Planning for transformation

Every Together development project starts with an idea — a response to a broker need, for example — that is examined until all of the expected benefits and costs are clearly understood. Ideas that pass muster become projects (large or small) and the priority and delivery of projects is continually assessed and re-assessed. Even as the current crop of projects progresses, Together is planning ahead, usually by six to twelve months.

 

Collaborating for success

Besides looking outwards to its products and services, Together looks inwards for continual improvement in delivery. To this end, Mastek and Together are in daily contact. Not just to track and measure progress, but to assess ways of working, the mix of onshore and offshore resource, the performance of individuals, the support that they need, who to hire and when: everything that impacts on the success of the collaborative approach embraced by both companies.

 

Formalising innovation

‘Innovation’ can’t really be ordered on demand, but Together wants to be actively open to new ideas, and is looking to Mastek to bring them to the table.

 

“When we toured the Mastek Centre of Excellence in India and saw some of the things they were doing for other customers, it was an eye-opener,” says Thomason. “Today we have a joint innovation forum and meet regularly to discuss ideas.”

 

One of the novel approaches being tried is a hackathon, in which a number of small Mastek teams compete to come up with innovative solutions to a given Together challenge. Since most of the teams aren’t working on the Together account, it’s a productive — and fun — way for the Together/Mastek partnership to come up with fruitful new ideas to explore.

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TINTRA PLC FINALISES JOINT VENTURE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PARTNER TO BUILD INDUSTRY CHANGING REGULATORY TECHNOLOGY

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TINTRA PLC FINALISES JOINT VENTURE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PARTNER

Innovative fintech company, Tintra PLC(https://tintra.com/), has formed a joint venture with award-winning Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning business, TMC2, via its subsidiary Finsensr.

The Joint Venture will utilise or create advanced, end-to-end AI tech – some already patented – to revolutionise how compliance between developed and emerging market economies works. This exciting tech stack includes the utilisation of lightning-fast large scale predictive modelling and semantic embeddings of financial data; together with the development of scalable efficient solutions based on customised shallow classifiers, deep learning, and Bayesian inference for robust and explainable predictive modelling.

Tintra is focused on enabling financial institutions, EMI’s, multi-nationals, and large corporates in the emerging world to gain access to banking systems that understand their geographic need. Using pioneering payments technology and compliance infrastructure will evolve the global banking industry. Where other fintech’s iterate, Tintra will innovate across the space.

In forming a joint venture with TMC2 – the team behind Mashtraxx, the AI engine being used to power a multi-billion dollar US based social media platform – Tintra aims to eliminate or radically improve the well documented emerging market issues of KYC & AML. The mission is to utilise these solutions to democratise financial regulation and level the playing field for all markets and make access to the global market place as seamless in Africa or Asia as it is in Europe or the United States.

 

Gary Wright, lead for TMC2 in the transaction stated, said “We are extremely excited to enter into this long-term partnership with Tintra to support the expansion of its business through the use of our leading-edge artificial intelligence. 

Our in-house team includes PHDs in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. A Senior Executive Team with experience in the financial sector across financial services, Technology, Corporate banking, Investment management, Fund Management, and transaction services. With our key personnel gaining experience in institutions including Sungard, Mann Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, M&G, Prudential, Simplex Technology amongst a host of others

We are setting out to create the next generation of intelligent automated AI RegTech that we are confident will help power another billion-dollar unicorn, like Mashtraxx before it. We hope that this will revolutionise how the financial services industry fulfils the complex demands of KYC and AML compliance and regulatory legislation”

Tintra PLC is publicly listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and also available on the OTCQB Venture Market in New York.

In early November 2021, the PLC unveiled plans to raise additional capital to accelerate its growth strategy.

 

For more about Finance Derivative.

 

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CELLPOINT DIGITAL PARTNERS WITH VYNE TO ENABLE INSTANT OPEN BANKING PAYMENTS FOR MERCHANTS

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CELLPOINT DIGITAL PARTNERS WITH VYNE TO ENABLE INSTANT OPEN BANKING PAYMENTS FOR MERCHANTS

The partnership will allow CellPoint Digital customers to incorporate Vyne into its payment ecosystem and access instant payments without a need for direct integration.

 

Payment orchestration leader CellPoint Digital today announces a partnership with full stack account-to-account (A2A) payments specialist, Vyne. This partnership allows the Vyne platform to offer instant payments to CellPoint Digital’s merchant customers, allowing users to check-out faster than ever before and reducing merchant transaction costs.

Through CellPoint Digital’s Velocity Payment Orchestration Platform, merchants can easily incorporate Vyne into their payment ecosystem, providing all the speed and convenience of instant payments without the need for a direct integration with an open banking provider. With transactions intelligently routed and monitored in real-time, merchants can analyse performance and use data to cut costs, boost acceptance rates, and simplify operations via automated reconciliation.

By partnering with Vyne, CellPoint Digital’s merchants can now access improved payment experiences too. Harnessing open banking technology, the Vyne solution allows online shoppers to check out in as few as three clicks and offers settlements within seconds.

 

CellPoint Digital CEO, Kristian Gjerding, said: “The partnership with Vyne represents a significant addition to CellPoint’s payments offering. Merchants currently using our Velocity Payment Orchestration Platform can utilise all the benefits of the Vyne platform within their payments ecosystem and this will provide merchants with a greater opportunity to grow their business.

“At CellPoint, we put much stock into our partnerships. To us, they are more than simply functional and with Vyne being fellow innovators in the payments space with a track-record of supplying top tier merchants, we look forward to developing a long-lasting, collaborative relationship.”

The Vyne solution functions by using a customer’s existing online banking app to initiate and authenticate a transfer. As a result, the customer does not need to enter their account information online and sensitive financial details are never held by the merchant, resulting in a more secure process for both parties. By enabling a payment method that can be completed in just three clicks, the platform provides a simple and seamless experience that can help to reduce cart abandonment.

 

Vyne CEO, Karl MacGregor, said: “Existing payments and banking solutions are broken, and stacked against the merchants and consumers that use them. Payment methods come with a variety of settlement formats and can take anything from days to weeks to complete with customer conversions impacted by manual card data entry.

Vyne provides a new, alternative payment method for merchants and their customers and we’re delighted that more people will benefit from it through this partnership. CellPoint merchants will now experience instant fund settlement and their customers will be able to complete payments through their own banking apps in just a few taps with no card details needed. Merchants can also engage customers at the right time, through the right channels, using pay by link or QR codes, which can be sent via email, SMS, in app or used for in person sales.

“We look forward to working closely with CellPoint and empowering merchants with a level of payments functionality that can drive real, measurable growth.”

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