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Railsbank news round-up: Banks look to fintechs for growth

Week 7: a brief look back at some of the fintech news that’s not always picked up.

Banks and Credit Unions look to fintech partnerships for growth

We start in the US this week with news that financial institutions are making fintech partnerships a key priority in 2020.

In What's Going On In Banking 2020: Outlook for a New Decade from Cornerstone Advisors, it was revealed that 65% of banks and 76% of credit unions say these partnerships will be an important part of their business strategies this year.

The report detailed that amongst eight areas in which surveyed institutions plan to partner with fintechs, both banks and credit unions ranked new products and payments first and second.

"Banks and credit unions are acknowledging that fintechs often have better design capabilities than what exists at banks or their major industry vendors," Cornerstone Advisors President and co-founder Steve Williams said in the report. "They see partnering as very much a chance to 'bolt in' a better customer experience to their legacy back end in a time frame that can allow them to stay competitive."

Sezzle hits one million customers

Sezzle, a digital payments platform which operates in the US and Canada, announced that it had passed the one million mark for active end-customers.

The company, which only launched in the US in 2016, said it had enjoyed explosive growth, as both merchants and consumers embrace its buy-now-pay-later payments solution.

"Today is a day for celebration, not only for our company, but for our merchants, who now have a direct path to accessing a vibrant community of over one million savvy shoppers who know how to unlock the value of their purchasing power," said Sezzle CEO and co-founder Charlie Youakim. "Although we are taking a moment to recognize this important milestone, we have lots of work ahead of us in making Sezzle the world's most dynamic, far-reaching, and trusted payments platform."

"The Sezzle team is extremely proud to have reached this pivotal milestone," said Sezzle's Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder Paul Paradis. "One million active users is a huge operational achievement, and a testament to the value our users see in our product. Whether it's our commitment to transparency, our flexible payment terms, our user-friendly experience, or our expanding universe of retail partners, Sezzle is definitely gaining traction as the marquee 'buy now pay, later' solution in the U.S."

Sezzle said its mission is to financially empower the next generation of consumers who have been historically locked out of the traditional credit system and support shoppers across the entire demographic spectrum with a flexible, reliable, transparent, and secure alternative to the incumbent payment options traditionally available to average consumers.

Fintech Reggora raises $10m

We stay in the US as we finish with news that fintech Reggora, which develops residential appraisal software, has raised $10m in a Series A funding led by Spark Capital.

Spark also led the company's $3m seed round in January 2019 and existing investors, including Boston Seed Capital, also participated in the round.

Reggora will use the funding to focus on adding to its engineering, sales, and operations teams, expanding its nationwide presence, and continuing to innovate in the real estate valuation space.

Alex Finkelstein, a partner from Spark Capital, said: "Reggora has exceeded all expectations from a customer and product standpoint since its seed round. We continue to be impressed with the company's ability to scale and innovate, and are excited to support their vision."

Reggora has built a modern appraisal technology platform that brings mortgage lenders and appraisal vendors onto a single core platform. Its all-in-one software provides lenders with faster turn-times, operational efficiency, and a better experience for both borrowers and loan officers.

"Since our last round of funding, we have been able to establish ourselves as the premier automated appraisal technology and now work with regional and national lenders across the country. This latest round of funding is a testament to both our rapid growth and the strength of our software. I'm excited to continue our journey and spearhead a new era of appraisal modernization," added Brian Zitin, Reggora's CEO and co-founder.

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