In the rapidly evolving world of fintechs, cutting-edge intermediaries that seek to disrupt traditional banking or cater to underserved niches, success depends on rigorous customer screening and proactive regulatory compliance, according to Vladislav (Slava) Solodkiy, cofounder and CEO of Puerto Rico-based Arival Bank. Solodkiy is also managing partner at Life.SREDA, a Singapore-based venture capital firm that over the past six years has invested in more than 20 fintech startups and successfully exited from nine. He has documented his journey from a fintech investor to a founder of a digital bank in his book, The First Fintech Bank’s Arival – From Book to Bank in 12 Months.
Arival claims to be the first digital fintech bank to be focused on small businesses, the so-called “gig economy” of entrepreneurs, freelancers and startups, and small and medium-sized business enterprises that use crypto currencies to receive and pay money. While it may be difficult to identify the ‘bad guys’ among those customers — who could be money launderers or others with dubious backgrounds — prompt reporting of problem cases to regulators and remedial action to prevent future occurrences could save fintechs from hefty fines, according to Solodkiy and Arival’s chief operating officer, Jeremy Berger. Arival is now in the process of securing a federal banking license in the U.S. and exploring similar licenses in Europe and Asia. Solodkiy and Berger shared insights into their strategies for Arival Bank and the road ahead for fintechs in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton. (more…)