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April 18, 2024 - Greg Oprendek

A Q&A with DataVisor’s new VP of BaaS and BSA Brenda Banks

Fintechs and sponsor banks have been enjoying heaps of success by combining the agility of the fintech space with the industry know how of the banking industry. But as the industry has trended upward and more customers have adopted BaaS platforms, fraudsters have begun to target the industry more often.

New regulatory requirements are on the horizon, and the relationship between sponsor banks and their fintech partners will need to reshuffle to adapt. This also provides an opportunity for more growth and collaboration, as well as creating a better customer experience through adoption of end-to-end holistic fraud prevention.

Ahead of launching our own sponsor bank fraud prevention program at DataVisor, we’re excited to welcome one of the industry’s best and most knowledgeable experts to our team to lead it—Brenda Banks.

She graciously took time out of her busy onboarding schedule to sit down for a Q&A on her background, what she sees lying ahead for sponsor banks and fintechs, and where they need to focus most to succeed in the ever-evolving BaaS landscape.

Could you share a little about your background in the industry?

I began my journey in the digital identity verification sector 11 years ago collaborating with fintech companies and sponsor banks to align them on compliance requirements. This experience provided me with a deep understanding of the industry’s needs. In the past decade, my focus has been on cultivating strong relationships with sponsor banks and offering them tailored products across many areas such as KYC, fraud, disputes, AML, and sanctions screening. Each helps enhance fintech oversight in line with regulatory expectations.

What interested you most about Datavisor?

I was intrigued by DataVisor’s growth potential as it offers a holistic approach to fraud prevention. The platform not only detects fraudulent activities but also helps organizations understand the underlying causes and trends driving fraud. By providing actionable insights, DataVisor empowers companies to proactively address fraud risks. The data orchestration platform allows customers to bring in third-party results to provide a customer-centric view. When you’re solving for modern fraud threats and compliance, having an end-to-end solution like this is a game changer.

What fraud challenges should fintechs and sponsor banks keep top of mind?

In my opinion, ensuring operational integrity and protecting customers requires constant vigilance from fintechs and sponsor banks against diverse fraud challenges. With the continuous advancement of technology, new fraud tactics regularly emerge, necessitating fintechs and banks to stay updated on evolving cybersecurity trends. This entails continuously investing in training and upgrading technologies to adapt effectively.
Proactively addressing these fraud challenges empowers fintechs and sponsor banks to strengthen their operations, ensure customer safety, and maintain trust within the financial ecosystem.

How do you see the fintech and BaaS industry evolving as new regulations arrive?

I believe that with the evolution of the fintech and BaaS industries, new regulations will likely involve a mix of challenges and opportunities. Companies that can effectively navigate regulatory changes, prioritize compliance, and continue to innovate are likely to thrive in this evolving landscape. By staying abreast of regulatory changes, working closely with regulators, investing in robust compliance measures, and fostering a culture of innovation, fintech and BaaS companies can turn regulatory challenges into opportunities for growth and differentiation. Adhering to regulations not only helps build trust with customers, but also ensures the long-term sustainability of the business.

Moreover, as the regulatory environment evolves, there may be opportunities for collaboration and partnerships between fintech firms, traditional financial institutions, and regulatory bodies to drive industry-wide innovation and best practices. By working together, stakeholders can create a more resilient and efficient financial ecosystem that benefits both businesses and consumers.

Overall, the ability to adapt to changing regulations while maintaining a focus on compliance and innovation will be crucial for the success of companies operating in the fintech and BaaS space. Embracing these challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement can set companies apart and position them for long-term success in the ever-evolving financial services landscape.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to fraud leaders right now?

One crucial piece of advice for fraud leaders right now is to prioritize collaboration and information-sharing within the industry. By fostering strong partnerships with other financial institutions, regulatory agencies, law enforcement, vendors, and cybersecurity firms, fraud leaders can enhance their ability to detect and combat evolving fraud threats effectively. Sharing insights, best practices, and threat intelligence can help stay ahead of fraudsters and protect customers more comprehensively.

Last question—what are your hobbies and interests outside of our space?

I’m married with seven sons, but now that they’ve all moved out, my husband and I are empty nesters. Living full-time in our RV allows us to indulge our passion for exploration, motorcycle rides, and sampling local cuisines wherever we go. While we cherish our nomadic lifestyle, summers find us settling down in Northern Minnesota. It’s there that we reconnect with our kids and grandchildren, who all reside in the area. Spending quality time with them amidst the beauty of Northern MN is an adventure we wouldn’t trade for anything.

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about Greg Oprendek
Greg is a passionate digital marketer, avid basketball fan, aspiring fraud expert, and Content Marketing Manager at DataVisor.
about Greg Oprendek
Greg is a passionate digital marketer, avid basketball fan, aspiring fraud expert, and Content Marketing Manager at DataVisor.