CNME Editor Mark Forker managed to secure an exclusive interview with Langley Eide, newly appointed CFO at leading Saas banking provider Mambu, to hear more about her new role, what differentiates the company from other vendors – and the importance of creating a culture within their organisation that fosters inclusion and diversity.
Congratulations on your recent appointment as CFO at leading SaaS banking platform Mambu. Can you tell our readers what your key roles and responsibilities will be at the company in terms of shaping their future strategy in this new business climate now labelled the ‘digital economy’?
As the CFO of Mambu, I oversee all aspects of the finance and legal organisations to drive strategic growth and efficient operational scaling.
With more than two decades of experience in key senior executive positions at some of the industry’s leading publicly traded financial services companies, I am looking forward to maturing Mambu’s finance and corporate functions as the company pursues its compelling market opportunity in today’s digital economy.
Mambu has enjoyed phenomenal success since entering the market in 2011 – and is now present in over 65 countries. In your opinion, what is it that differentiates Mambu from other SaaS banking providers?
Banking systems vendors have been touting modularity for years. What they really mean is a pre-defined suite of proprietary modules that extend the functionality of their core systems. They’re extensible but they’re not flexible or open. An apt metaphor is the jigsaw puzzle piece versus the Lego brick.
A modular approach, just like a jigsaw puzzle, combines different pieces into one pre-set picture. It is impossible to swap out pieces for better ones and the platform is locked into one vendor.
On the other hand, composable banking, that Mambu offers, combines independent components in any structure to create many different things. It is re-usable, and users can swap in or swap out any component. Additionally, composable banking follows a best-for-purpose approach with no vendor lock in.
Traditional banks turn to Mambu’s cloud-native banking platform to replace their costly and complex traditional core banking systems.
With Mambu, they are able to migrate, launch and service a new digital challenger proposition, any lending or deposit portfolio, and reduce their time-to-market from several months to just a few weeks or even days in some cases.
You have enjoyed a decorated and distinguished 25-year career in the IT and financial services industry. However, it has been well documented that the IT and technology sectors have issues to resolve when it comes to the gender gap. Do you think the IT industry has made great strides in terms of addressing the inequalities that exist in the industry since you first entered the job?
The technology industry has been dominated by males for a very long time. However, with female empowerment initiatives across the Middle East, and especially in countries such as the UAE, we have seen the gender gap diminishing.
Whilst there may still be challenges, the UAE’S women empowerment national strategy along with its Gender Balance Council are encouraging and supporting women to lead in decision-making positions.
There are a lot of companies now proactively trying to bridge the gender disparity that exists within their own organisations. You have worked with some huge enterprises, namely Morgan Stanley and Service Now, did those companies have a strong culture towards inclusion, and how do they compare to Mambu’s approach to gender equality?
Mambuvians come from over 30 countries across six continents. Over the years we have become increasingly diverse in perspectives and ideas. To us, diversity and inclusion is a company-wide value, and a strategy to boost productivity and to leave a positive, global impact on our industry.
From Europe to Asia, and the Americas – Mambuvians are experts at collaborating globally.
Your role as CFO is global, but how important to Mambu are the emerging markets here in the Middle East in relation to new growth and opportunities?
As the digital world is gaining momentum, we see the proliferation of new digital banks and digital challengers across the globe. For the vast majority of existing and well-established banks this rapid change can be perceived as an existential threat.
But for some banks, whether they are startups, spinoffs and incumbents, change isn’t a threat at all. In fact they see change as a major opportunity to build new digital banking propositions.
They also take a fresh approach to it – instead of coding, they are configuring and integrating; instead of on-prem workloads, they are deploying in the elastic cloud; instead of major and disruptive releases, they continuously improve.
Essentially, we see more digital banks and fintechs alike working as a tech company, rather than a bank.
Digital challengers in emerging markets have a unique opportunity to operate like modern, platform-based companies. This brings us to a competitive advantage that tech companies have. Their IT is typically organised around a set of platforms, run by accountable and lean digital teams.
These platforms are each managed individually, can be swapped in and out, and when put together, they form the backbone of a company’s technology capability. This is why technology companies can get their products and services to market 100x faster than their industry counterparts.
This is what we call a Composable Banking approach. This approach has a big impact in two ways. It helps grow your top line revenue by rapidly acquiring new customers, for example through account opening and personal finance, as well as your bottom line through SaaS and cloud operating models which can radically improve your cost to income ratio by applying lower capital expenditures.