The Fintech 5 with Michael Haney — Head of Product Strategy at Galileo Financial Technologies

The Fintech 5 is a series of blog posts consisting of questions and answers designed to help you get to know the people in the Fintech Sandbox community.

Michael Haney heads product strategy for Galileo Financial Technologies. Galileo enables fintechs, banks, and both emerging and established brands to build differentiated financial solutions that deliver exceptional, customer-centric experiences.

Michael has spent his career at the intersection of technology and financial services, frequently driving digital transformation. Last fall, he was on the 2023 Boston Fintech Week stage as a participant in a panel called Laying the Foundation: Digital Infrastructure for Modern Banking.

Michael Haney — Head of Product Strategy at Galileo Financial Technologies
Michael Haney

Question #1: What fintech problem has your attention right now?

The Federal Reserve Bank analysis revealed that most consumers in the Millennial cohort have a high degree of interest in faster payments for both account-to-account (A2A) and consumer-to-business (C2B) scenarios, at 61% and 71% respectively. Two separate studies by Barlow Research Associates and Citizens Bank show that about 52% of businesses also indicate a high degree of interest in faster payments and expect about 22% of their outbound payments to faster payments. As of the third quarter of 2023, 461 financial institutions participate in The Clearing House’s RTP platform, and 331 participate in the Federal Reserve’s FedNow service. Here at Galileo Financial Technologies, we are meeting this growing demand by enhancing our money movement capabilities to support faster payments. Galileo clients of all types, including financial institutions, digital challengers, and even non-financial brands, can leverage this new capability.

#2: What trends in fintech are you most excited about?

(1) The rise of faster payments and its enablement of pay-by-bank services.

(2) The improvement of conversational banking by incorporating generative AI technologies.

(3) Better fraud prevention and detection through broad industry participation in data consortiums.

(4) Increased bank adoption of purchase finance solutions, such as BNPL.

(5) Bank workload migration to the cloud, including core processing.

#3: What are some of the biggest learnings from your career journey in fintech and/or entrepreneurship?

(1) There is no success in this industry without a deep understanding and appreciation for risk management and regulatory compliance.

(2) Surround yourself with colleagues who are smarter than you, complement your skill set, and are at least as equally passionate about the opportunity.

(3) Rebuilding the same capabilities on a modern technology stack is insufficient to succeed; you must offer something new.

(4) There is no straight path to success, but don’t let that detour you from achieving your goals.

(5) Start with a customer pain point or unexploited niche, then grow new offerings quickly and tangentially.

#4: Which fintech companies are you keeping an eye on right now?

Credit, used responsibly, has the power to enhance our lives greatly. However, traditional credit scoring limits individuals from accessing loans and increasingly impacts the ability to rent homes or gain employment. New credit scoring methods improve inclusivity and help create a more complete picture of existing clients already in the lending system. Emerging players for alternative credit scoring include Nova Credit, Zest AI, Altro and Pagaya.

#5: Hot take! What are your thoughts on AI in the industry?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is an umbrella term for several technologies that can work together or independently to increase automation, improve user engagement, or uncover insights. The three forms of AI penetrating the financial services industry the most are Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP). The application of these technologies is almost limitless, ranging from intelligent digital assistants and alternative credit scoring to personalized marketing offers. Financial institutions will improve productivity, increase efficiency, and shift work to more value-added tasks. These technologies continue to improve over time; for example, neural networks enhance ML, and generative AI enhances NLP. We have only begun to leverage the power of AI, and it will shape our industry for years to come. However, safeguards are required to ensure fairness, maintain resiliency, and improve confidence in the output of these solutions.

Bonus Question!

What’s the best career or life advice you’ve received?

Prioritize your health. Without it, you cannot achieve your professional ambitions, support your family, or enjoy your personal endeavors. Do what it takes to keep your energy levels high, your mood elevated, and your enthusiasm sustained.

If you are a fintech entrepreneur with an early-stage company and you could benefit from free access to data, cloud hosting, and a supportive community, please visit our website to learn more!