Continuous lessons in creative-solving for SMBs’ financial setbacks

Stephanie Joseph


Understanding customer pain points to improve products and processes has guided my work for the past seven years. I started my career at Ernst & Young where I consulted on initiatives focused on the delivery of large-scale operational and technological transformation for EY clients across the financial services industry.

At EY, I sought opportunities to nurture my interest in payments by aligning to the Banking and Payments Practice. I was called upon to grow my passion further and get closer to this industry by joining American Express.

When I transitioned from Ernst and Young to Strategy roles at American Express, I had the opportunity to be part of the Strategic Initiatives team in Global Finance Organisation, and in the Global Merchant and Network Services (GMNS) team. The latter worked with cross-functional organisations to help grow AmEx better serve its customers and grow its purchase volume

In Summer 2020, AmEx acquired Kabbage, an SMB-focused lender. In the US, AmEx is the corporate credit card provider for 60% of Fortune 500 companies and has historically dominated the corporate credit business. As such, this was an exciting time for AmEx as the acquisition was part of the company’s strategy to service small and business customers and to continue growing this customer base.

One of the key technology transformation projects I worked on at the time was the decommissioning of legacy credit underwriting platforms at AmEx and migrating customers into a new platform. This migration also involved adopting a new strategy for data sourcing and credit underwriting of a broader range of customer base. As part of this effort, our team needed to consider the implications of working not just with corporate fortune 500 companies, but also with smaller businesses for which we needed to deploy different data sourcing strategies for varying customer bases with very different needs.

“How can we better serve businesses with a wide range of attributes with our business offering?” was the question that was top of mind.

Fast forward to my work at Sava. My role in growth & strategy is guided by a straightforward question: “How can we build offerings that solve the problems of customers that have been traditionally left out by the incumbents?”

Fortunately, I don’t answer this question alone. Together with the team, we use the voice of the customer and incorporate the customer’s feedback in our product development. After continuous phases of product improvements based on feedback we’ve gathered from users, we’ve been able to validate several assumptions that we initially had about the customers’ problems.This stage is equally challenging and exciting for Sava. As we acquire our first customers, we’ve adopted a product-led growth model. In order to do so, we strive to eliminate unnecessary friction in the customer journey and maximise the customer delight.

What’s most exciting is the result: a customer who initially had issues with different facets of spend management finally seeing that they can use one platform to resolve and simplify financial management. It all goes back to studying a segment and creatively developing or improving a solution for them.

Get to experience how Sava is designed to simplify and transform the way you manage your finances. Book a demo today and start your journey to growth!