Recognizing a gap in the banking industry’s ability to serve the growing needs of small to medium businesses (SMBs), Grasshopper Bank, a digital financial institution based out of New York City, aims to build a one-of-a-kind experience for this underserved market. To accomplish this goal, Grasshopper sought a digital banking partner focused on building a scalable & well-designed experience that would ultimately help them win over the small and medium-sized business market.
Grasshopper knew that in order to attract SMB deposits and retain customers, it needed an experienced digital banking partner that could not only integrate seamlessly with their FIS IBS core, but also had the flexibility to extend without heavy development or high cost via an open API.
Grasshopper Bank had the confidence in Narmi to create a modern and innovative digital business banking experience that could grow with them for years to come. User experience became the untapped growth lever for Grasshopper that ignited them to accelerate growth among SMBs.
Grasshopper Bank set out to tackle a long-standing challenge nationwide: Providing an outstanding digital banking solution for small and medium-sized businesses.
Of the commercial digital banking options that were available, most platforms were overly cluttered, making it difficult for business users to find what they needed. Digital banking for SMBs became a headache and a source of frustration rather than a tool that could help them grow.
Grasshopper Bank needed to break this system by serving business customers a platform that would not only meet their digital banking needs in a meaningful and intuitive way, but also focus on helping them grow their business and equipping them with the right tools to empower their financial journey.
Grasshopper leveraged Narmi’s business banking digital platform – proven to increase business customers by 70% – to create a solution for this untapped market. Using Narmi, Grasshopper’s clients are able to quickly and easily manage their business operations, move money, and set controls. Narmi and Grasshopper are deeply aligned on the strategy behind building a digital business banking platform: build an intuitive platform that reduces time and friction for business owners.
According to Butler, “I think about things in simple terms: Time and Friction. Reducing the friction of working with a financial services company for a small business is the number one experience that we're constantly focused on. We need to think about what a small business does every day, what takes time, and how we can reduce friction in that experience. Some important questions to ask are: How many questions does a customer really need to answer? How many clicks and how long does it take? How do you navigate the website? Does it make sense? Can you track your wire transfers?”
Through countless hours of user testing, Narmi’s UI / UX lab peeled back the layers that caused friction and designed an experience that puts SMBs first. Narmi takes the tools businesses already use, and natively integrate them into a single platform, giving users access to their digital banking any time, anywhere. Narmi has done extensive research to build our business banking platform to have the key features SMB business owners need, such as seamless bill pay and role based access controls.
1. Digital-first money movement tools such as account transfers, bill pay, and wire and ACH transfers
2. Granular permission controls and dual approvals that allow business owners to delegate specific permissions to their team without compromising control and security
3. Transaction monitoring through Alloy and visibility over money movement so Grasshopper can protect businesses from fraud
An intuitive and simple user experience was table stakes for Grasshopper, but they wanted to go above and beyond. Grasshopper noticed a shift in the market, observing an increased demand for an Amazon-style business banking experience. These tech-first consumers were looking for a one-stop-shop for their business banking needs, similar to how Amazon has a complete suite of product offerings – from e-commerce, to grocery delivery, to Kindle readers, to online streaming and more.
In the words of CEO Mike Butler, “Inside the small business community, you have an evolution of the types of people who are engaged in SMB today. They’re different from how they’ve been in the past – they are technology oriented and therefore the demand for a digital product has been pretty strong.”
Grasshopper needed to offer a complete digital banking experience that could evolve with time – a platform equipped with third-party fintech integrations – to ensure that Grasshopper is the primary financial institution and fintech competitors don’t steal market share.
Leveraging Narmi’s open API allowed Grasshopper to integrate with fintech partners and take an Amazon-style approach to business banking.
Narmi is dedicated to giving users the ability to view and manage their entire financial story within the platform, making best-in-class fintech integrations a must. Narmi has done extensive user research around what features and third party integrations are most useful to businesses, and integrates with the tools that businesses already rely on, such as Autobooks and Quickbooks. Narmi’s open API is what makes it all possible – it allows Grasshopper the flexibility to onboard any fintech, any time.
According to Butler, “Grasshopper has the continued philosophy of engaging with fintechs to create an Amazon-like experience. We’ve partnered with Narmi to help onboard fintech partners as it relates to additional embedded finance offerings, as well.”
1. In-app integrations with Quickbooks, Autobooks, Alloy, MX and more
2. Open API that gives Grasshopper the ability to offer business integrations and add fintech partners, without heavy development or high costs
Grasshopper started fresh on their mission to tackle small business banking, not only under new leadership, but also in need of a new core banking system. Grasshopper selected FIS IBS knowing that this new core would enable them to meet their go-to-market timeline and requirements. The next step was to find a digital banking partner with a history of successful core integrations and expertise integrating with FIS IBS.
Grasshopper evaluated potential partners through the lens of adaptability and support. Adopting a new core that can seamlessly integrate with a new digital banking platform requires more bandwidth across teams, as well as increased levels of communication and project management; all of which can lead to headaches with the wrong provider.
Grasshopper needed a digital banking partner that was innovative and flexible enough to adopt their new core system and go to market on an expedited timeline to meet their launch goal.
Narmi took Grasshopper live in less than five months through a seamless integration with their FIS IBS core – an impressive timeline for a new core integration for Grasshopper.
Using Narmi’s prior integration with FIS IBS for digital account opening as an anchor, Narmi was able to rapidly execute on this new integration to business banking. Narmi’s deep understanding of the most secure means of connecting to the core and best practices for integrating with FIS IBS Code Connect made all the difference in meeting Grasshopper’s tight timeline.
Leveraging Narmi’s open platform, API framework, and design system, Grasshopper was able to innovate in record time, giving them the bandwidth to focus on driving user and deposit growth.
1. Narmi met Grasshopper’s expedited timeline through project management as well as internal and external cross-functional alignment
2. 2 week lead time to integrate any fintech partner
3. 10+ Narmi core project team members dedicated pushing the project through to the finish line
As a company founded on providing best-in-class digital banking for business owners, innovation and growth remain two of the core principles of Grasshopper. Too often, Grasshopper found they were lacking a true partnership with vendors and wanted to work with a team who challenges the status quo.
Tired of vendor backlog and barriers to innovation, the team at Grasshopper heavily considered taking their digital banking operations in-house to bring this vision to life. After weighing the cost and upkeep of in-house only development, the Grasshopper team decided to pivot away from relying solely on internal developers and move towards a partnership model.
This shift would allow the Grasshopper team to focus their internal efforts on projects like improving client experience and engagement efforts. Grasshopper realized they needed a partner who could not only tackle the development heavy lifting, but also one that would continuously innovate to be the latest and greatest for SMB customers.
Narmi’s release schedule gave Grasshopper Bank the confidence that Narmi would continue to innovate and improve on their products over time, at a speed unheard of in the industry. Narmi uses continuous deployment and development, with a standard release cycle of software updates every six weeks. These regular releases give Grasshopper a competitive advantage in the market – the updates, new features and bug fixes all work to position Grasshopper as an innovator and ultimately yield a larger market share of SMBs.
This regular cadence not only allows Grasshopper peace-of-mind around stable innovation, but also means that Grasshopper has advance notice around all updates. This gives Grasshopper the time to understand, test, and respond to the changes, as well as avoid any unexpected down time. Since launching, Grasshopper now receives monthly product updates directly from the Narmi team, as well as leverages the Narmi hub for innovation page to stay up-to-date.
This all meant that Grasshopper could launch confidently, knowing that innovation would come every month after launch, reliably.
1. Continuous product development and deployment, with updates every six weeks and small batch releases that lead to dependability and more time for development
2. Advanced notice of upcoming releases that offer the ability to opt-out and keep you as up-to-date as possible
3. Regular innovation updates, like this in-depth feature update walking through a redesign of the log-in process for business digital banking