Industry insider: Sit down with Ebury’s Joe Kemsley
Ebury’s Head of Product Strategy, Joe Kemsley, shares insights on what makes their transaction banking platform unique, challenges faced by the company, and how Codat’s solution is helping them build deeper connections with clients.
Tell us a little bit about Ebury
Ebury is a transaction banking alternative with the goal of helping companies that trade internationally. Our products fall into three categories: cash management & payments, foreign exchange and hedging, and trade finance. All of these products are integrated into the Ebury account, which we consider to be the best-in-class transaction banking platform for medium-sized corporates and multinationals.
Our target market is also divided into three main groups. The first group includes small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and mid-sized corporations that engage in international trade. The second group comprises multinationals and larger clients, while the third group is the Ebury institutional solutions business group that caters to funds and similar businesses.
Each of these groups has unique needs. The SMB wants simplicity, while the multinational requires a bit more assistance, and their drive for efficiency is more intense.
The fund space has entirely different needs. Traditional banks are not effectively catering to institutional clients because of their complex corporate structures. As a result, it often takes banks many months to onboard institutional clients, if they are willing to do so at all. This is why we operate in the institutional space – to provide solutions to institutions that traditional banks can’t offer.
What makes Ebury unique?
Ebury is a unique platform for businesses because of our payment network that connects with over 30 infrastructure providers, payment networks, and banks around the world. This means that businesses can transact with Ebury using any of the 30+ banks that are part of our network, making it easier for them to work with us.
Another thing that sets us apart is our global coverage. We have people on the ground in over 30 countries, which means that we can offer personalized assistance to our clients. While technology is important, businesses also need a human touch, and that’s what we provide.
Our exceptional banking network, combined with our on-the-ground coverage, makes us a leader in the industry.
What challenges were you facing before Codat, and what led you to seek a solution?
We faced a challenge in establishing deeper connections with our clients and embedding ourselves more deeply in their workflows. We wanted to avoid being considered a commodity that could be turned on or off whenever they pleased. To achieve this, we knew we needed to integrate with their accounting and ERP software.
At Ebury, we offer various APIs to our clients; but, we understand that implementing them can be challenging for small or medium-sized businesses that have so many other priorities. We knew we needed a solution that would enable clients to connect their accounting software more easily. However, since we operate in +30 countries, connecting to the various accounting and ERP systems used in different markets would have been a hugely complex task.
We were fortunate enough to already have a relationship with Codat, and they had a solution that could help us. Codat’s Bank Feeds product offered a one-to-many connection that made it incredibly easy for us to integrate with various accounting software packages.
It was a scary problem to solve, but Codat’s solution made it possible for us to achieve our objective quickly.
How is the solution delivering value to your clients?
At the end of the day, we know that people are always looking for the best price. They want to get the best value for their money, and they want things to be convenient. For instance, if a coffee shop nearby offers coffee for £2, while the one you usually go to charges £8, you’re more likely to switch to the cheaper option.
We want to avoid these conversations with our clients entirely by delivering more value.
Our goal is to provide exceptional service to our clients, allowing them to focus on growing their business. Seamlessly integrating with their accounting software helps us achieve this.
What does Ebury have in store for 2024?
From a product perspective, our goal is to provide deeper and more sophisticated products for our larger clients. This includes offering FX options, further local payment connections, and much more.
We recently acquired Bexs Banco in Brazil, and our current focus is on integrating it (now the Ebury Bank of Brazil) with our platform. That’s going to take up a lot of our focus for 2024.
What trends are you seeing in the cross-border space?
In the fintech industry, there is a growing emphasis on creating local payment connections to enable instant payment disbursement. This has been happening at a local level with schemes like PIX, SEPA, NPP, and CHATS. In turn, companies like Ebury are building local connections in markets such as Brazil, Europe, Australia, and Hong Kong, allowing for faster, cheaper, and more efficient payments not just for local participants, but global ones.
But that’s not enough. Beyond just local payment connections, you also need to build deeper connections with your clients. And from a technology perspective, that looks like APIs.
In the coming year, we can expect to see a wider understanding of the benefits of APIs, especially among mid-sized businesses, where treasurers, finance departments, and MDs are seeking ways to streamline processes. APIs are an obvious solution to this need for efficiency.
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