“Real innovation sits where it looks the least glamorous and is the most painful.”
– Ben Knelman, CEO of Juntos
Earlier this month, Juntos’ work with financial service providers (FSPs) was highlighted in a report centering on the role of data in financial inclusion. The report specifically mentions Juntos’ customer segmentation and customer engagement strategies.
Accion lists Juntos’ customer segmentation as an example of successful data-driven innovation in financial inclusion
According to Next Billion: “‘Unlocking the Promise of (Big) Data to Promote Financial Inclusion‘ [aims] to provide financial services providers with ‘actionable insights and first steps’ on how to better use big data to boost financial inclusion. The report, developed with the support of the Citi Foundation, points out a remaining gap between the vision and reality of leveraging this data. Its approach to bridging this gap was summed up memorably in a quote from Ben Knelman of Juntos Finanzas: ‘Real innovation sits where it looks the least glamorous and is the most painful.'”
In an article in The Guardian titled “The unbanked: stop catering for the middle classes and open up to the world,” Chris Walker, principal data scientist and economist at Juntos, writes:
“Our research suggests, psychologically, people treat bank accounts fundamentally different to mobile-money products whose ease of use can lead to quick spending, and other research bears this out. Only when referring to bank accounts do we hear users talking about saving for a wedding or religious holiday.”
Things are always moving forward at Juntos. From our earliest attempts at creating our messages, the focus has been on iterative design based on feedback from our users . Although this philosophy extends across all parts of the company, the core remains with the development of our products. For us, this means a deep connection and collaboration between engineering and design.
On a weekly basis our designers set the course, detailing which new messaging experiences we want to test, and which existing ones need to be re-designed or removed. Their vision of how users will receive and interact with our messages then gets queued up, ready to be integrated with our platform.
In most cases, the new experience is scheduled to go live within a week. By the time it goes live, the design team will have the next iteration ready to be queued up and integrated. These quick iterations, fed by the data from our live conversations with customers, are essential for finding the best way to talk with our users and to create content that engages them with information they can truly use.
To maintain agility in creating these experiences, we’ve designed a process that does not require an enormous commitment of resources from our software engineers. Instead, they have built a highly flexible and configurable framework that can accommodate any design.
Working within this flexible framework to continuously improve our automated conversations makes communication and connection between the teams essential. The point where a design reaches configuration is where all the “what if” questions get answered. All the paths that the users can take through our messages get defined here, which often means several rounds of questions and comments back and forth between the UX engineer and the designer.
The idea is to create an experience that is warm and engaging for the end customer, so that their responses will dynamically shape the messages they receive back. Ultimately, it is the user who shapes our product and shows us the way to design Juntos dialogue.
As part of a series presented by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) about the financial sector, Vitas Argimon explains the unique value presented by partnerships between financial startups and banks. Instead of every player duplicating the work of the others by forging ahead alone, partnering is the best way to strengthen the sector together.
“As challenges by tech-enabled competition mount, banks are seeking to link-up with startups as they see opportunities to reach new markets, bring down costs, and/or enhance their service offerings. Startups offer agility, a proclivity for risk-taking, and a disruptive mindset. On the other hand, banks already have the customer scale, comprehensive product portfolio, robust infrastructure, deposit insurance, branding, and experience/expertise. The combination of these strengths can be especially enabling when seeking out previously unreached population segments because the business models for serving those segments often depend on technologies that bring down costs. Startups can offer banks the tools they need to serve lower-income customers that would be difficult to serve within the confines of their traditional banking models. At the same time, many startups need access to customers and financial resources that banks can provide.” (emphasis added)
Image via CFI
Argimon further highlights the benefits of bank-fintech partnerships in another article called “The New Wave of Partnership Models Between Banks and Startups.” He states that “many banks are building a vast ecosystem of partnerships to expand their reach and service offerings and to improve internal processes.” Juntos’ partnership with BBVA is highlighted in a graphic within the article.
Image via CFI
The characteristics inherent to both banks and startups provide a unique opportunity for partnerships and growth between both entities. For further reading, be sure to read both the first and second article in the CFI series.
In a report titled “The Business of Financial Inclusion: Insights from Banks in Emerging Markets,” the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) lists Juntos as one organization enabling innovative means of financial capability for banks. The report explains:
“Many banks are designing simpler products, usually entry products that give new customers experience with banking. Others embed financial capability into product design and delivery. They find ways to help customers learn by doing and give information at teachable moments when customers are most engaged in learning about potential services. BBVA Bancomer and Bancolombia each contract with Juntos to send SMS messages to customers. These messages are tailored to each customer’s use patterns, and customers respond with text messages that then give the bank more information about the customer’s needs and preferences. The two-way communication not only builds customers’ capability, it also builds the bank’s capacity to understand its customers.”
BBVA Bancomer recently published the results of their partnership with Juntos. On page 19 of the report (full report available here; in Spanish), BBVA notes that the partnership resulted in overall higher average balances and an increase in transactions in digital accounts.
BBVA Bancomer ya publicó un reporte sobre los resultados de la colaboración con Juntos. Abajo se detallan las diferencias entre los saldos promedio de los usuarios en el grupo de Juntos y el grupo control. Se puede encontrar el reporte en su totalidad aquí.