Maybe you haven’t heard of Banking Circle. But the Danish-founded young bank and fintech are happy to be operating behind the scenes serving financial institutions around the world with the technology they need at the pace and scale that customers demand, providing financial infrastructure for cross-border payments and banking services. And they are good at it due to a unique combination of technology and banking service offerings. This approach has allowed Banking Circle to grow its business at an impressive speed and at the same time go fully cloud.
“We started out with a traditional hosting set-up of our core banking infrastructure, but when we entered a new growth phase we decided to re-engineer and go fully cloud”, the CIO of Banking Circle, Michel André says. The cloud-first strategy is supporting Banking Circle’s growth ambitions. And grow is what banking Circle is doing. In fact, so much so that the company has acquired a unique status in the world of fintech.
“The cloud certainly allows for a high amount of flexibility and scale. We are simply able to move and operate quickly compared to more traditional approaches”, Michel André continues. The lift to Azure was done quite rapidly and according to the CIO the explanation for this high pace of integration lies in being small and agile: “We are quite nimble and able to execute quickly. Furthermore, we had several critical upgrades and extensions to the platforms that allowed us to make this move based on real business demands”, he says.
Not just for making the move
The lift to the cloud was therefore not just for making a move, but because Banking Circle was indeed building a new API and upgrading core banking and processing systems along with building new capabilities within CRM and data warehouse. Some capabilities did not exist before the cloud process began and some have been reinvented and significantly extended while moving to the cloud. According to Michel André, success was heavily dependent on business alignment: ”A good alignment of business priorities and IT projects is key. It allowed us to shift everything to the cloud in a fairly short time”, he says.
With Azure, we can do more payment transactions and help more clients but also expand geographically. Scalability, speed, and flexibility are core to success. And the lift to the cloud provides us with that.
– Michel André, CIO, Banking Circle
We have grown alongside the lift to cloud
Sometimes the transition to the cloud comes with changes that are hard for the organization. And sometimes the cultural transition can be tougher than the technological ditto. However, this has not been the case for Banking Circle: “Bear in mind that our company has grown alongside the lift to cloud process”, Michel André stresses. “We have increased our engineering department from 15 to 150 people. This gearing has taken place alongside our lift to the cloud – so the processes have been going on parallel which eased the transformation”, he says before diving into the actual transformation: “We started with migrating the client-facing parts, the APIs, and customer front-end to the cloud, where we utilized native platform services and build that for the cloud. That was quite easy, but when it comes to migrating and upgrading core banking systems heavily customized to our needs it took us some time, and we had some bumps on the road. Luckily, we had help from Microsoft along the way.”, Michel André says.
We have a lot of people joining us because our agile approach and culture means that we are quite far away from the incumbent companies in the use of technology and in the way we operate.
– Michel André, CIO, Banking Circle
“We’re growing approximately around 100% YoY. That puts some stress on the system and being able to cater to this demand is crucial, as is reduced time-to-market. That’s where the cloud comes in handy. We chose to liaise with Microsoft because it was very well suited for our industry regarding compliance and governance apart from having a broad pallet of services that fit our bill. This gave us a license to operate quite quickly which was not as apparent for the other cloud providers”, Michel Andre concludes.
About Banking Circle
Banking Circle is a fully licensed next-generation Payments Bank that is designed to meet the global banking and payments needs of Payments businesses, Banks, and Marketplaces. Banking Circle’s solutions are powering the payments propositions of more than 250 regulated businesses, Financial Institutions, and Marketplaces, enabling them to gain geographic reach and access to the markets in which their customers want to trade. Banking Circle process over 10% of Europe’s B2C e-commerce flows and in 2021 alone, the company processed over 250 billion Euros in payments volumes.