Helping Brookline Bankcorp grow and scale business banking with international offering

Founded in 1871, Brookline Bancorp is a mid-tier bank based in the greater Boston area with assets of $7.8 billion and annual revenue of around $270 million in 2019. Brookline Bancorp delivers a wide range of banking and financial services to both individual and business customers, including digital banking, loans, and capital markets.

The Challenge

In 2017, Brookline Bancorp was looking to diversify its loan portfolios to include a larger mix of C&I loans across all three subsidiaries: Brookline Bank, Bank of Rhode Island and First Ipswich.

Brookline understood that it would need to up-tier its foreign exchange offerings, and that it wasn’t possible with the existing business model. To attract larger SME customers, it needed to not only revamp the services model and improve existing product offering, but also to move quickly.

The bank’s ability to scale their business banking was inhibited by three key factors:

  1. International banking services were relatively limited and high-cost, discouraging customer adoption.
  2. High-cost of the services due to bank’s complete dependency on large correspondent banks to provide foreign exchange and international payments for its customers. The correspondent banks had no incentive to offer competitive pricing, personalized service or advanced technology to Brookline Bancorp because they competed for the same business.
  3. All the factors combined resulted in a costly and negative experience for Brookline Bancorp’s customers. Poor customer service turned away larger SMEs and significantly inhibited growth.

To overcome these obstacles, Brookline Bancorp considered the option of building its own solution for international banking services from scratch. After an in-depth review the option proved to be extremely time consuming and require enormous investment both financially and operationally.

Brookline Bancorp therefore sought to partner with a non-bank provider that would meet their needs and help them get to market with their new solution within months, not years.

The Right Partner: Currencycloud

After extensive research, Brookline Bancorp chose to partner with Currencycloud. The Bank’s team felt that Currencycloud provided the best solution because of its breadth of functionality, usability and ease of implementation.

Functionality and time to market

Currencycloud enabled Brookline Bancorp to get all the international payments functionality it needed to kick start its commercial banking growth, including an easy solution for foreign exchange. Brookline Bancorp was able to vastly improve its international banking services with Currencycloud’s easy go-to-market model and cutting-edge technology.

Flexibility and Usability

Not only was Currencycloud’s solution flexible enough to adjust and accommodate bank’s unique operational processes, it was also exceptionally user-friendly. It became a stable alternative that was not subject to the threat of de-risking — unlike the correspondent banking model — ensuring a consistent experience for the bank’s end users. The technology integration was supported by a dedicated customer service team with great attention to detail and thorough knowledge of the regulation and compliance needs.

No revenue share pricing

Currencycloud was also able to offer competitive pricing on FX and payments. Unlike traditional correspondent banking model, Currencycloud’s model was not based on a revenue share model, enabling the Bank to scale business banking with international offering quickly and capture more of the revenue as they grew.

The Solution

Brookline Bancorp therefore established a partnership with Currencycloud. The bank offered its customers international payment capabilities by leveraging Currencycloud Direct — a turnkey white-label solution — a “one-stop-shop” for the Bank’s needs when it comes to providing SMEs with global banking experience.

Brookline Bancorp was able to implement and launch their new platform in just a few months. The modular structure of the solution enabled the Bank to add more features over time and roll out solutions as quickly, or as slowly as they chose. This allowed the Bank to “test the waters” with existing customers and gradually incorporate more features, as well as integrate with existing services like online cash management.

Currencycloud’s team facilitated all set-up, including technological implementation and legal aspects, such as KYC. Although Currencycloud offered thorough training, Brookline found it was able to quickly adopt and use the platform to its full extent due to its intuitive and user-friendly nature.

The platform enabled Brookline Bancorp to take control of their international banking services. The Bank could act on behalf of their customers and provide some of them with self-service portal to book trades and payments independently. Its customers no longer needed to call a banker or go through manual processes for payments. They could book conversions and payments themselves, all while Brookline Bancorp maintained ultimate control over the process and access to self-service features.

The Results

“Currencycloud allows for growth while expanding profitability.”

Currencycloud’s solution solved the challenges faced by Brookline Bancorp, enabling swift growth:

  1. Brookline Bancorp was able to offer competitive international payments services with significantly improved customer experience at a lower cost, thus driving customer adoption.
  2. The bank was no longer dependent on correspondent banks and so was able to benefit from competitive pricing and powerful user-friendly technology with Currencycloud.
  3. As a result, the bank was able to vastly improve its customer service and attract new businesses in the commercial space.

Operational Results

Currencycloud enabled Brookline Bancorp to provide a robust offering without having to hire additional full-time staff or build its own costly solution: “The Currencycloud model permits each institution with minimal flows to enter the market and maximize revenues without a lot of capital or human investment.”

Moreover, because the platform is intuitive and easy to use, it is incredibly efficient, reducing the resources needed to scale this business. According to Brookline’s Head of Foreign Exchange, “efficiency improved 1000x.”

The platform also allowed the bank to scale effectively: Brookline Bancorp has not only improved its services across large, small, new and old customers; it has also gained much needed control over those services.

Business Growth Results

Partnership with Currencycloud allowed Brookline Bancorp to provide superior Foreign Exchange services at a higher level than any one of the individual banks would be able to offer.

Improvements in the offering and operational efficiency helped Brookline Bancorp to effectively attract more SME customers and grow substantially. Before Currencycloud, the Bank was processing three international transactions a month; now, the Bank sees nearly 100 transactions monthly. They also have around 20 self-serve clients enrolled in their solution.

The Bank has hit its diversification and growth goals and continues to see more opportunity. They were able to successfully scale business banking with international offering —  success was strongly tied to the unique strengths of Currencycloud’s solution, including their competitive pricing, established international payments system and advanced technology.

“Currencycloud’s pricing model permits an institution to grow business while maintaining the fair amount of revenue. They allow a bank to be competitive and sophisticated compared to other banks that are larger in size and have a more established business.”