As COVID-19 spread around the world, financial institutions were forced to shutter branches, transition employees to work from home, and find new ways to transact and communicate with their customers.
Multi-year digital transformation projects needed to take place in weeks.
Tearsheet’s Resilience Awards seek to recognize financial institutions, fintech companies, and their partners that have found the best ways of overcoming adversity, pivoting quickly and thriving in the face of unprecedented challenges.
Resilient Company of the Year
Marqeta, the modern card issuing platform, won this year’s Resilient Company of the Year Award. The firm’s API serves some of the most innovative companies, like Instacart, DoorDash, and Postmates, create world-class payment experiences. Marqeta also partners with Square to power its Cash App, which received government approval to disburse stimulus checks to millions of users nationwide.
While the company transitioned its staff to work from home, Marqeta has experienced record levels of usage. The company has instituted company-wide wellbeing initiatives and donated money to Oakland, California organizations to help local people in need.
Most Resilient Traditional Financial Institution
Fifth Third Bank, forging partnerships and offering hardship assistance programs for customers, won this year’s Most Resilient Traditional Financial Institution Award. The bank originated $5.5 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans to approximately 38,000 small and mid-sized businesses.
The bank made more than 2 million calls to customers to check on them, help them use digital banking if they weren’t, apply for hardship or in some cases, deliver them food. Interestingly, Fifth Third didn’t close branches. It moved to a drive-through operation, with lobby by appointment to keep our branches open. Fifth Third also forged strategic relationships with fintechs to help its customers, including one with Steady, which helps customers find jobs and maximize earnings.
Most Resilient Fintech
Challenger bank Dave won the Most Resilient Fintech Award for 2020. As COVID was hitting, Dave polled its users and found that many of them would see their wages severely impacted by shelter at home orders. 21% said that their pay would be cut in half while 18% said their pay will be cut entirely due to the outbreak.
Dave quickly responded to the realities of its customers by launching an expanded version of its Side Hustle job-finding feature to include dozens of new work-from-home job options. As a result, Dave saw a 600% increase in applications with 70,000 customers applying for remote jobs in just the two weeks following the start of the crisis, with hundreds of thousands more applying for work in the following weeks.
Most Resilient Team
The financial data aggregator Finicity responded quickly to the pandemic. In addition to its US office, Finicity has an office in Mumbai. The company quickly found creative solutions to prepare its employees to work from home. Finicity also transitioned its employee engagement program completely online.
Additionally, the company added a new paid day off for June 19th so employees could engage and learn more about Juneteenth. Workers were encouraged to volunteer, attend a peaceful protest and donate to causes that would have a positive outcome on racial equality. This increased social awareness as and community engagement.
Resilient Partnership of the Year
Central Payments and Ubiquity won Tearsheet’s Most Resilient Partnership Award for 2020. Businesses in El Salvador, where one of Ubiquity’s call centers in located, were abruptly shut down. The customer experience outsourcing firm worked with Central Payments to transition quickly to alternative geographies and a secure work-from-home solution while maintaining performance.
Within a week of a fast track launch in Nebraska, Ubiquity’s Omaha team was fully trained and certified into production. At a time when many banks were still measuring call wait times in hours rather than seconds, Central Payments and Ubiquity were able to support client customers at high service levels in English and Spanish.
Resilient Professional of the Year
Michael DeLorenzo, Global Program Manager of the Client, Banking & Digital Technology team at RBC Capital Markets has distinguished himself as an outstanding leader during the challenges brought on by the current crisis. Michael is responsible for a variety of processes with separate initiatives, serving over 10 lines of business within RBC.
Michael began working with key stakeholders to clearly define each new use cases in reaction to the pandemic. He then sourced and vetted various virtual platforms. Michael compiled the intelligence he had pulled from his research and met with various vendors. With a clear, thorough analysis of virtual platform capabilities, he cross-checked with the business requirements to ensure his team would deliver an appropriate solution.