In the dynamic landscape of financial technology, 2023 marked a transformative year for Financeit. The acquisition of the Simply lines of business propelled Financeit into strategic initiatives, featuring collaborative efforts from every department. As economic shifts unfolded, including high inflation and rising interest rates, our teams showcased adaptability by refining credit risk strategies.

This blog post delves into the integral roles played by risk, finance, and UX teams in orchestrating successful integration, navigating evolving landscapes, and aligning strategies to fortify Financeit’s foundation for sustained growth.

Kate Wren – Manager, User Experience Research

What were the major projects/accomplishments in your department this year?

In 2023, our research efforts were introspective, primarily focusing on internal processes, efficiencies, challenges, communication, and collaboration, in addition to addressing ongoing product research needs.

Recognizing a requirement for additional support in Sales Enablement, we intervened to offer strategic guidance to the sales and marketing teams. This involved creating both internal and external resources to enhance the user experience. Collaborating with our Business Intelligence team, we conducted training sessions to make data more accessible and usable.

Furthermore, 2023 marked the initiation of a large-scale initiative to enhance our Partner Onboarding process. This improvement encompassed both internal process enhancements and an external focus on improving the overall experiential journey for new partners.

Why were these initiatives important to prioritize?

With our sales team dedicated to consultative selling and our marketing team immersed in campaigns, promotions, and media, the necessity for additional resources and oversight became apparent. We aimed to implement new communication strategies ensuring professional, consistent messaging, and comprehensive training for our customers.

As our corporate strategic goals expand annually, our focus on improving efficiency becomes paramount, ultimately resulting in a positive impact on our customers’ experience. While individual teams demonstrated a keen awareness of their specific areas for improvement, we sought a holistic view of the onboarding process from start to finish to discern the broader potential impact.

What do you think led to the success of these initiatives? What were some of the challenges along the way?

While a significant portion of this work will continue into the next year, the UX team’s overarching perspective across the organization provides access to insights that would otherwise remain siloed. Our ability to launch successful initiatives is heightened as we consistently gather and integrate diverse, cross-functional perspectives and needs from the project’s inception, incorporating them into the overarching project goals.

In larger projects like partner onboarding, a primary challenge arises due to the process evolving beyond a well-defined, single-owner project. Instead, it spans multiple departments over an extensive timeframe, manifesting as a series of projects varying in size and complexity—each overseen by a different team. This underscores the importance of robust cross-functional teamwork and support in navigating such multifaceted endeavors.

How did this project(s) help the organization as a whole?

Our sales team serves as the frontline interface between Financeit and our partners, tasked with maintaining robust relationships, delivering training, and offering ongoing support. Providing them with access to professional, comprehensive tools and resources translates into more effective and impactful conversations that fortify relationships and contribute to the growth of our partners’ businesses.

While Financeit consistently innovates with new features, services, and product offerings, we remain committed to optimizing the everyday efficiencies in our core product and operations. Despite not being the most glamorous of projects, dedicating time to uncover ways to work smarter can yield a tremendous impact on achieving our goals. This may involve automation, data collection and intelligence, or enhancements to our products and processes.

Darren Viegas – Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis

What were the major projects/accomplishments in your department this year?

The two major accomplishments our team achieved this year were the completion of the Simply acquisition and the finalization of a consolidated budget for the combined companies in 2024.

Why were these initiatives important to prioritize?

The acquisition of Simply was a lengthy process essential for the company’s next stage of growth. Following its completion, our focus shifted to developing a consolidated budget for the merged entities to execute the initial plan established during the acquisition. This endeavor required extensive cross-departmental planning, and the result was a successful financial blueprint for 2024.

What do you think led to the success of these initiatives? What were some of the challenges along the way?

Many highly skilled individuals contributed their expertise to these initiatives, and their invaluable contributions were pivotal. Without the dedication of our team members under the guidance of David Yeilding, these achievements might not have been possible.

The primary challenges encountered were those faced by the entire company this year—effectively merging two teams into one under the Financeit name.

How did this project(s) help the organization as a whole?

As we enter 2024, the company now possesses a clear financial and operational plan for the year. Navigating the first year as a combined entity is inherently challenging, but I believe the senior leadership now has a well-defined, comprehensive plan to achieve their objectives.

Waheeda Ali – Director, Risk Innovation & Automation

What were the major projects/accomplishments in your department this year?

In 2023, we marked a milestone with the acquisition of the Simply lines of business. The Risk team, collaborating with cross-functional teams, played a pivotal role in successfully onboarding thousands of new merchants into the FIT merchant network. Additionally, our team championed various initiatives to enhance our automated credit decisioning, ensuring a seamless transition for the newly acquired relationships.

Against the backdrop of the recent economic environment characterized by high inflation and a subsequent rapid rise in interest rates, our credit risk strategies were judiciously updated to manage portfolio risk within our established tolerance levels. We maintain a continuous focus on finding ways to keep our approval rates competitive while also ensuring that our losses remain low.

Why were these initiatives important to prioritize?

The integration initiatives played a crucial role in guaranteeing a seamless transition for the Simply merchants and establishing a robust foundation for the future growth of the combined business.

Our team’s core responsibility lies in risk management, a critical function that necessitates constant optimization of our risk strategies. Striking the right balance between business growth and loss mitigation is paramount, particularly in alignment with the prevailing credit environment. This ensures that our risk approach remains adaptive and well-suited to the evolving landscape.

What do you think led to the success of these initiatives? What were some of the challenges along the way?

The success of these initiatives was underpinned by a clear sense of collective purpose and a well-defined timeline. While working on these endeavors, we found it necessary to introduce more customization than initially contemplated. The collective sense of purpose and alignment in goals across the organization enabled us to adapt swiftly to these changes.

The decision to modify risk strategies carries implications for other departments such as Sales and Operations. The continuous refinement of strategies to align with business objectives serves as a unifying force, bringing the teams together towards a common goal. This collaborative approach ensures that our risk management efforts resonate cohesively with the broader organizational strategy.

How did this project(s) help the organization as a whole?

The implementation of enhanced, automated risk strategies for merchants and borrowers played a critical role in facilitating the smooth integration and fostering future business growth.

Maintaining risk strategies in harmony with the evolving environment is paramount for FIT to successfully achieve its origination and profitability goals. This adaptive approach ensures that our risk management framework remains aligned with the dynamic landscape, positioning us to navigate challenges effectively and capitalize on opportunities for sustained success.

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