Podcast September 16, 2020

How partnerships help you stay customer-centric

If you want to succeed…

You have to always put your customers’ needs first.

And partners are a great way to do that.  

Just ask Johanna Pugh, MD North America at Mambu, an innovative fintech that has broken into new markets and stayed customer-centric by leveraging their partner ecosystem. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How partners help you stay focused on the customer
  • Why the customer is all you need to worry about
  • How partners help you break into new markets

The power of partners

Mambu are on a mission to help proliferate and modernize the banking sector across the globe. 

They aim to provide for the underbanked, to help digitize banking and go after new markets. 

The way they’re accomplishing this is by leveraging partnerships to help customers (and their customers) solve their problems. They’re a 100% partner-forward company.

Johanna says the company couldn’t achieve what they have without partners. 

And that’s because they are breaking out of the mold of one-size-fits-all banking where banking services are sold in a bundle.

Thinking outside the box

Mambu isn’t selling a box; instead, they are letting the customer pick only the things they need. 

“We let you decide what you need. Having an ecosystem of partners that we’ve connected with and we worked with helps us paint a story to those organizations.” — Johanna Pugh

And partners let them provide the most top-notch components for the customer to build their own box. You want a transaction component? No problem — you can choose it. 

Mambu connects to whatever service you would like, operating as a core banking system and not a teller system. 

And what this allows for is a bank design tailored to the customer, not the technology used by the bank. 

Picking partners

Of course, Mambu’s approach is only as good as its ecosystem, which is why they are very discerning about their partners. 

Anyone they partner with has to be willing to share information on market trends and technology and undergo training to ensure they are providing the best possible service for the customer. 

And strong, frequent communication is an absolute necessity.

But above all else, Mambu looks for open-minded partners who, like themselves, believe that everything is about the customer and not the sale. 


This customer-centric approach is the core of Mambu’s philosophy.

To illustrate, when you ask Johanna her recommendations for any financial founder trying to get their business idea off the ground, she has two pieces of advice. 

  1. Learn banking
  2. Stay focused on the customer

The first one may seem obvious, but it really relies on the second to work. 

You need to find a use case for your product — which really means figuring out how to create a better-together story for that customer. 

You need to understand the challenges your customers face and how you can help them solve these challenges. 

“Don’t worry about the competition. Don’t worry about anything else. Just worry about the customer and the customers’ customer and you’ll win every time.” — Johanna Pugh

Ultimately, if you want to win, it all comes down to how well you solve for the customer. 

Tackling new markets

Mambu’s customer-centric approach has paid off. 

In recent years, they’ve broken into new markets across the globe. 

Starting in Europe, the company moved into various markets throughout Asia, quite extensively through the Middle East and have started the push to grow their influence in Latin America. 

And their current challenge, which Johanna in her position is instrumental in achieving, is breaking into the North American market. 

How have they managed to spread, scale and grow across the globe so effectively?

Again, it comes down to their partners. 

The technology that Mambu offers as a core banking platform infiltrated all of these sectors because there is such a need for agile solutions to so many banking challenges globally. 

The platform is 100% native to the cloud, the APIs are extensible and the technology makes it really easy for companies to quickly adopt the open banking processes. 

All of this is what their partner ecosystem helps Mambu provide. 

And sure, there regulatory hurdles and market perceptions to overcome (especially in the North American market), but these hurdles are shrinking every day. 

“We’ve broken through all the different walls of communication, especially after COVID. So there’s a lot more open arms extended to try and bring in the new technology” — Johanna Pugh

In the era of COVID-19, the agility that Mambu and its partner ecosystem provide has only become more in-demand. 

Innovation, modernization and customization were always going to be the trajectory for the future of financial services, but the pandemic has proven all of these to be more than nice-to-haves. 

They are desperately needed in order to keep making progress in an unpredictable world.

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Until next time!


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