Emily Larkin, CISO
Over the years, the banking experience has evolved from visiting brick and mortar banks for the smallest needs to handling all banking needs through mobile applications. And while the rise of technologies has created unprecedented opportunities, they have also paved the way for unique challenges for bankers. In fact, modern-day financial institutions must always remain in lockstep with the latest market trends and incorporate them into their offerings to compete against their contemporaries in attracting new clients. The need to remain nimble and flexible enough to meet the evolving customer needs is a prevalent challenge across the banking sector, but it is most pronounced in community banks that have fewer resources and smaller staff sizes than their larger counterparts. Furthermore, with technology ubiquity driving customer needs for more sophisticated banking experiences, community banks across the U.S. are facing the pressures of continuing operations in the current age of digitalization.
Addressing this challenge as an equalizer that levels the playing field for community banks with its portfolio of market-leading compliance, credit risk, fraud detection, and lending solutions is Texas-based Abrigo. "We enable community banks to meet the evolving needs of their customers and the banking sector as a whole in a seamless and cost-effective manner," says Emily Larkin, CISO at Abrigo. The company also provides advisory services to assist its clients in ensuring that their operations and services are always compliant with the latest regulatory mandates and protected from malicious entities.
Rebranded in 2019 after Banker's Toolbox acquired MainStreet Technologies (MST) and Sageworks, Abrigo's mission is to help all American banks “Make Big Things Happen.” The company's offerings can be categorized into two facets: software-driven products and advisory services. Abrigo's software suite comprises products for BSA/AML and fraud prevention, asset/liability management, lending, and credit risk, as well as portfolio risk and CECL. Concurrently, the company offers advisory services to enhance the efficiencies of a client's existing anti-money laundering prevention, change management, credit and lending risks, and other processes. "With our advisory services, we offer sustainable and scalable solutions to our clients to holistically boost their existing workflows and operational efficiencies with respect to detecting potential financial crimes handling compliance and federal regulations, CECL-related documentation, and more," adds Emily.
Discussing the core competencies of Abrigo's software, Emily mentions how its lending and credit risk software enables bankers to make data-driven decisions and establish a risk-based lending process. The company's lending risk software allows bankers to rapidly gain actionable insights on a loan applicant's risk by simply inputting information on their current and historical financial status, including credit data, collateral information, business profile, and more.
Alternatively, Abrigo's BSA/AML software detects anomalies (including scanning OFAC list screening) in the client's data.
We enable community banks to meet the evolving needs of their customers and the banking sector as a whole in a seamless and cost-effective manner
"Our financial crime solution runs customer data through pre-built scenarios based on real-life fraud or money laundering instances, which simplifies the process of identifying discrepancies that can be utilized for potential breaches," explains Emily. She further elaborates on Abrigo's ability to rapidly trigger relevant authorities in cases where an anomaly is detected to mitigate the issue at the earliest.
With such unmatched capabilities, Abrigo has ignited several success stories since its inception. In one instance, the company assisted several of its customers in efficiently handling the application for funds from the U.S. government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As the program wasgeared toward helping small businesses, the company worked with the Small Business Association (SBA), which is an autonomous U.S. government agency established in 1953 to bolster and promote the economy in general by assisting small businesses, and developed an interface that streamlined the process of application processing. The final interface was designed to help small business owners eliminate manual processes and simplify applying for the PPP by automating the cumbersome task of inputting applicant information. Abrigo achieved this by collecting data from touchpoints across a business owner's banking experience. Additionally, as a prevalent challenge when dealing with SBA-related projects is undesirable changes to an application's status, the company developed a tracking feature that allowed banks and its customers to monitor their application as it made its way through the PPP. "This project started as a one-off client interaction but ended in us helping thousands of bankers process billions of dollars in transactions and save millions of jobs, which made it a long-term success for us," states Emily.
At the heart of this success is Abrigo's passionate team, which in Emily's words, “lives and breathes in the enterprise and community financial space day-in and day-out.” Furthermore, as an organization that is also monitored and examined by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), Abrigo's team has firsthand experience in handling the day-to-day issues that its clients go through, giving them a deeper understanding of how to mitigate them in the best way possible. "We understand the regulatory and compliance woes that our customers face because we face the same ones," opines Emily.
Moving forward, Abrigo aims to develop a stronger footprint in the consumer banking space with the company already white-labeling its loan processing and account opening offerings to its banking customers. Moreover, the company is currently developing APIs to enable seamless integrations with third-party solution vendors that offer services and capabilities that are complementary to Abrigo's existing portfolio. Abrigo is also making significant investments to improve its data analytics capabilities and drive the expansion of its portfolio's applications. And a key factor that is going to help the company achieve this roadmap is the recent funding it acquired from leading VC firm—The Carlyle Group. "With our newly acquired funding, Abrigo is poised to merge/ acquire promising partners that can aid us in truly offering an end-to-end compliance, credit and lending risk, and financial crime management to our clients," concludes Emily.