Financial services have been in the news a lot recently, mostly for the wrong reasons. Lay people got a rude lesson in the exotica of financial services - CDS, CDO, MBS, LIBOR, TED Spread and other ingredients of a decidedly unpalatable alphabet soup, that were at the center of a multi-trillion dollar near-collapse of the world economy. The personal consequences of the financial crisis and the ensuing recession have affected many, and I am no exception. My previous company shuttered its US operations. Instead of trying to find work in a hostile job market, I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
For a few months now I have been involved with oFlows, a company I co-founded, and where I am responsible for building some really cool technology.
Though most of us cannot relate well to exotic Wall Street products, we are all consumers of financial services. We open bank accounts, apply for loans and credit cards, transfer money, pay our bills etc. Financial institutions have historically been extensive consumers of information technology, and they have used technology to automate operations and drive down cost. Since the advent of web, banks and other financial institutions have steadily brought a number of consumer facing functions online. We can check our balances, transfer money and manager our finances quite efficiently online. Generally, these activities can be started and finished in a single session with immediate online feedback and timely email reminders.But, applying for a loan or opening an account is still a very inefficient process. oFlows takes aim at the origination process and makes it completely paperless.In the next few posts, I will address these inefficiencies in the originations process in more detail, and how paper stops here with oFlows.