Financial IT speaks to Trevor LaFleche Director, Product Management, Strategic Initiatives at Fiserv
Financial IT: Trevor, could you please tell us more about Fiserv and about your background?
Trevor LaFleche: First of all, let me start with Fiserv.
Fiserv is one of the world’s largest payments and financial technology providers. We have the unique ability to deliver the capabilities financial institutions, corporations, merchants and consumers want and need, and to make connections across the fintech ecosystem. Currently, Fiserv has over 44,000 associates serving thousands of financial institutions and millions of businesses of all sizes, across over 100 countries. Moreover, Fiserv has been one of FORTUNE Magazine World’s Most Admired Companies for six consecutive years.
Our goal is to help clients achieve best-in-class results through a commitment to innovation and excellence. We are always looking at how we can deliver superior value for our clients, to make them successful.
I started off my career at the international banking network, SWIFT, and have also been on the other side of the equation as an analyst, specifically in the payments and core banking space. After that, I moved back to the vendor side when I saw the evolution of payments taking effect. I’ve been at Fiserv for just short of nine years, and focus on strategic initiatives within product management in our enterprise payments platform business. We look at how our clients want to move money between banks on non-card networks, how they want to centralise and streamline, and ultimately make that process faster.
Financial IT: What are the key features that make Fiserv unique among its competitors in this growing industry today?
Trevor LaFleche: Looking at the industry and what banks want to achieve, it’s clear that they want to work with fewer suppliers who can offer a wider range of services. Financial institutions want to simplify their relationships with suppliers, and with Fiserv they benefit from more value from the interconnectedness and product portfolio of a single supplier. And this is truly the difference between Fiserv and a niche software provider. Specifically, in payments, the opportunities we present across the entire spectrum of traditional and emerging payments are unparalleled in the industry.
Financial IT: What are the milestones and challenges that the industry is facing today?
Trevor LaFleche: The payments industry is undergoing a transformation, as consumers expect convenience and access to services anytime and anywhere. Because of this, banks are expected to meet customers' growing expectations for speed, ease and security.
Not that long ago, bank payments systems were turned off overnight when employees went home. Payments were not instantaneous and were often settled the day after, if not later. However, in today’s instant world, consumers demand transactions happen on the same day, or even within a few seconds. This puts a lot of pressure on the traditional siloed systems that banks have historically run.
Our goal is to help banks overcome this challenge by providing them with real-time capabilities: a modern approach to payments. We provide our clients with the ability to integrate and upgrade their capabilities across all channels. Thus, they do not lose business and can remain competitive.
Financial IT: Could you please tell us more about Fiserv’s payment solutions?
Trevor LaFleche: In this current period of unprecedented change in the payments industry, banks are taking advantage of the opportunities presented by employing wide-ranging modernisation strategies, based on a single payment platform.
As a consumer, you’re not expected to be a payments expert. If you walk into a bank, you’d often be set with a confusing array of payment products. You need to know different information to make or send a payment. For example, when making international payments, you need to provide a lot more information. This doesn’t meet consumers’ expectations. Our solutions help move money irrespective of what underlying payments network that payment will flow through. We’re putting intelligence in the front end so all you have to do is tell us when and where and we will get the money there. This is where the industry is going, and where Fiserv is leading.
Whether our clients’ customers are paying in person or online, our solutions allow our clients to maximise the potential of electronic payment processing and match the speed of customers’ expectations. We help our clients find innovative solutions that reduce operational costs associated with multiple payment channels, protect and grow revenue, as well as mitigate and manage fraud, risk and compliance issues associated with the payment process.
Financial IT: What is the next for Fiserv?
Trevor LaFleche: Our recent acquisition of First Data Corporation has cemented Fiserv as one of the world’s leading payments and financial services technology providers. Our clients will have access to a more comprehensive set of solutions and innovations, an extensive range of end-to-end capabilities and integrated delivery. All of which enables the delivery of unique value to financial institutions, corporate and merchant clients, and consumers.
We’re working very closely with our new colleagues, exploring where we can add capabilities and leverage our technology and expertise to serve client needs in ways no one else in the industry can match. For example, there is a considerable demand for ‘pay-by-bank’, using your bank account as a ‘first-class payments’ capability, and supplementing that to pay with a card at various locations. The ability to extend the reach of payments into other business areas is something we are exploring to help our clients.
Financial IT: According to your experience, how can you succeed and become well established company in the payments industry?
Trevor LaFleche: Fiserv is in a privileged position as a leading provider of payments and financial services technology.
We are always looking at how we can take the complexity out of moving money seamlessly and safely. One of the big challenges is that to make something simple, you must be the expert – you have to put a lot more engineering and capability into it in order to make that customer journey seamless. We are working alongside our clients to understand what they want to offer to their customers, and figuring out where they want to go next as we move into the future with one thing in mind: their success.