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Essential resources for banking executives:Enter ‘Banking Reinvented’

The one-stop shop that wins small businesses for life

Find out how Standard Bank and BetaBank are using the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform to capitalize on the opportunity of underserved small businesses.

by Jarno van Hurne


You may know that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, making up 90% of businesses worldwide. But are you aware that 82% of them feel their banks aren’t giving them the services they need to effectively manage their finances?

It’s a shocking statistic, I know, but it represents a major opportunity for financial institutions.

McKinsey estimates there’s $5.2 trillion in unmet financial needs for businesses of this size – that’s 1.5x the current lending market. In the next few years, someone will fill this gap and capitalize on the massive potential for revenue growth.

So ask yourself, who will own the primary financial relationship with these small businesses? Will it be the platform players like PayPal or Revolut? Or will it be you?

If your financial institution can give these businesses the tools they need to grow, you’ll become their trusted advisor – and a one-stop shop for all their financial needs. And with the help of the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform, you’ll be able to make the paradigm shift and re-architect around your customers, allowing you to truly focus on solving their daily jobs to be done.

It all starts with adopting a single-platform approach for both your customer and employee journeys, giving you consistency and empowering you to make better decisions across the lifecycle of your customers’ businesses. A platform model also allows you to master the “basics” of business banking – including quick and transparent credit decision-making and fast, low-cost transactions – that are non-negotiable in today’s market. From customer onboarding to customer servicing, customer loyalty, and loan origination, we’ve got you covered.

Financial institutions, it’s time to dream big. You’ve earned the trust of your customers, and you have all the services that business owners need. That puts you in a great position to play a primary role in addressing their needs at every stage of their lifecycle. By moving to a platform model, you’ll capitalize on the situation and future-proof your bank for the years to come.

Jarno Van Hurne, Head of Business Banking, Backbase

At Backbase ENGAGE 2022, I got the chance to speak with leaders from Standard Bank and BetaBank about how they’re becoming a one-stop shop for all their customers’ financial needs. Here’s what they had to say:

Standard Bank

Standard Bank is the largest – and oldest – bank in Africa, serving 20 countries on the continent for 160 years. When they saw the opportunity that a platform presents, they leapt at the chance to better serve their business banking clients.

Their goal was simple: they wanted to become the mall, not the shop, a place where their customers come for all their financial needs. And this all started with creating a deep understanding of their clients and their needs – and then just getting the basics right before moving on to innovation.

We had to understand the basics of doing business – and the basics of doing banking – to afford our customers the things they're looking for and be exceptionally good at it.

Moshima Shongwe, Head: Digital and eCommerce Business Clients, Standard Bank

By making the customer their north star and investing in a single-platform model, they streamlined five separate digital touchpoints into a single, easy-to-use app with a greatly improved client experience. This allowed them to increase adoption, boost engagement, and speed up their frequency of releases. Now, their customers have the self-service capabilities they need to successfully grow their business, as well as instant digital support.

With their sights set on becoming a fully realized platform business by 2025, Standard Bank is well on their way on its journey to become a one-stop business banking shop for millions of customers across Africa.


More than most, BetaBank understands how underserved small businesses truly are. That’s why this digital native was founded: to provide superior services for small businesses, particularly those that feel neglected by the traditional banking system.

I think a lot of businesses see that the old way of doing things is broken, and they’re ready for something new.

Alan Harder, Business Development Director, BetaBank

But building a bank from scratch isn’t done overnight. BetaBank had to make the right technology choices to meet the high expectations of their customers and deliver the experiences they deserve.

As a greenfield institution, BetaBank started from a completely blank slate, and this brought with it a unique set of challenges and opportunities. For one thing, they were able to focus entirely on crafting exceptional customer and employee journeys, without the burden of legacy systems. But on the other hand, they had to build everything for the first time, including all the one-stop shop services their customers expect.

Luckily, by leveraging the strengths of an Engagement Banking platform, BetaBank was able to build a customized product faster, all while reducing roadblocks and minimizing risk in the product development process. “We were able to design our bank specifically for the types of customers that we’re targeting, which is small businesses,” Harder said. “That’s all we’re focused on.”

As BetaBank continues to develop its services, they’ll keep their laser focus on the needs of small businesses, allowing them to establish life-long loyalty for thousands of customers throughout the U.S.

Becoming your customers’ one-stop shop

The success of Standard Bank and BetaBank demonstrates the power of becoming a one-stop shop for your business banking customers. In a matter of years, someone is bound to seize the opportunity that these businesses present, and it’s essential that your financial institution is ready. And thankfully, this has never been easier, thanks to the unique strengths of the Backbase Engagement Platform. It will help you create better experiences while eliminating complexity, allowing you to meet your customers’ demands easily and at scale. By catering to these small businesses, you’ll differentiate from the pack – and win their loyalty for life.

Backbase ENGAGE 2022 brought together hundreds of industry leaders and technical experts to learn and share progress on their respective journeys into the platform era. This is a part of a series of recaps drawn from those sessions. Click here to learn more about what happens at ENGAGE.