This week on FinTech Profile we have Amir Khan from Zikher; a small financial technology startup that promotes a more efficient platform to banks and credit unions. Zikher’s aim is to revolutionize the financial industry by improving the loan application process to be more client and sales focused.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Amir Khan and I am the founder and CEO of Zikher. I am a visionary, thinker, and entrepreneur who believes in technological innovation and reform in the small banking industry. I was born and raised in Agra, a small city in India. I came to the Unites States to study finance at San Francisco State University.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
I’m the CEO and founder of Zikher. I have a wide range of daily tasks ranging from business development, budget & cost control, firm-fixed-price contract management, team building, staff recruitment, training, & retention, and planning & organization.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Zikher is a financial technology startup company that makes it fast and easy for customers to apply for loans with small banks, credit unions, and other partners. Our SaaS platform uses consumer-facing technology to streamline the loan application pipeline. Zikher is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2015.
Tell us how you are funded.
Zikher is VC funded by Right Side Capital Management and a private angel.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
I started the company because of a bad loan experience. I spent four hours at my bank filling out paperwork and didn’t know the status of my loan until three months later. My frustration led me to think there had to be another way to make the loan process more efficient. I wanted to be apart of creating the new generation of digital banking.
Currently, the consumer, commercial and residential loan processes in the small banking industry begin once the customer inputs basic data to get their first appraisal. This lengthy and time-consuming process takes 30-60 business days, leaving many banking customers frustrated and unhappy. According to SNL (S&P Global), currently, 90% of small banks are using the paper-based system due to security risks and limited resources to keeping up with ever changing industry compliance. Additionally, their small tech divisions focus generally on maintaining a bank’s day to day operations. Zikher’s main goal is to provide a unique solution regarding API platform security, limited resources, and promoting workforce efficiency for financial institutions.
Zikher is an open API based solution for credit unions, community and regional banks that automates and streamlines loans, mortgages and account opening process. This is achieved by directly connecting the customer data, loan officer, the bank’s on-boarding system and bank approved third party document verification vendors. With real-time application data at everyone’s fingertips, Zikher rapidly increases the efficiency and cut down application turnaround time by 80%.
With our platform, customer’s information is saved into the bank’s system, so they don’t have to refill their customer profile when applying for multiple loans. Bank customers can apply for a loan within minutes, which is much more efficient compared to the current paper based process takes days. Zikher will help banks stay competitive and achieve technological superiority in their market.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Zikher will provide a high comparative advantage to credit unions, community and regional banks in the US and Canada. The market size includes:
• 6,818 Credit Unions with assets averaging $2 billion each
• 6,246 Community Banks with assets averaging $6.5 billion each
• 60 Regional Banks with assets averaging $30 billion each Revenue Model:
Our SaaS business model offers a multi-tiered pricing structure for customers
• Integration fee: $1,000 / per bank branch
• Monthly Subscriptions: Bankers($50/banker) Processors($30/processor)
• Commission on approval loan value: 0.15%
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Alohomora! I want to open doors for innovation in the banking industry in an effort to make it entirely digital. Digitization of banking is the future and I’m excited to be a part of the process.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
I believe that larger players in the finance industry should embrace the fintech revolution. Fintech is emerging because consumers want a digital banking experience. If larger players don’t adopt fintech innovation soon, they will lose their customer base and fall behind. I believe they should be setting an example for small and mid size financial institutions by joining the fintech revolution.
What phone are you carrying and why?
I’m carrying an Android because I don’t want to be a person who waits in endless Apple lines. Additionally, Android provides more flexibility in the usage of third- party apps, longer battery life, and better user experience.
Where do you get your industry news from?
AIT Group, SNL, S&P Global, Celent, American Banker, etc.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
1. Jim Marous (@JimMarous): Top global Fintech Influencer, Co-publisher of the financial brand, and owner of digital banking report.com.
2. Chris Skinner (@Chris_Skinner) author of digital bank, and nine other financial books, and has his own website: chrisskinner.com.
3. Pierre Gramegna (pierregramegna) Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance and fintech influencer
Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interest- ed in being profiled?
Dave Lambert of Right Side Capital Management
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
One of the best fintech products I’ve seen recently is Venmo because it makes it easy to split a check between friends and family members.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
I predict that the digital transformation will continue because currently most customers prefer to interact with their banks through digital channels. The demand for online resolutions will rise as millennials represent a larger portion of the workforce, and banks need to meet their needs to stay competitive and relevant. We can also expect to see biometrics secure corporate mobile. As banks continue to teach their customers about mobile security, they will try to integrate biometrics to increase security and enhance the user experience.
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