Home CompaniesB2B As FedNow comes into play, Pidgin looks to be “universal language” for real-time payments

As FedNow comes into play, Pidgin looks to be “universal language” for real-time payments

by Maija Ehlinger

In linguistics, pidgin is a grammatically simplified language developed to help people from different places communicate with one another. Financial institutions now have the Atlanta-based startup Pidgin to bridge their own kind of language  gap. 

The startup helps financial institutions “overcome barriers and facilitate stronger communication,” said founder and CEO Abhishek Veeraghanta. Specifically, Pidgin is designed to help financial institutions make the shift to real-time payments through the use of its administration portal and user-centric front-end applications. 

The real-time payments landscape is shifting quickly in the US, particularly as the Federal Reserve is rolling out a new protocol this July for individuals and businesses to send and receive instant payments. 

Known as FedNow, the service allows banking institutions to join and build products on top of the technology. This has real implications for community banks, which provide the only physical banking presence in one in three counties across the country. 

“Not only are bank and credit union leaders looking for the technology necessary to support the shift to faster payments, but they also need a strategic partner, as real-time payments pose other implications for product and service offerings, internal operations, and more. The right payments partner can support a financial institution’s strategic planning with consideration for product capabilities, technology implications, treasury operations and more. This is where Pidgin provides value, especially for community financial institutions who may have limited resources to dedicate to faster payments,” Veeraghanta added. 

Pidgins looks to target American banks and credit unions to help “streamline reconciliation processes and reduce interbank settlement times with no added risk.”


Building Pidgin 

The startup, which launched last year, currently has under 10 employees. But hiring plans are on the horizon, according to Veeraghanta. 

Veeraghanta, a Georgia Tech graduate, previously worked at the banking and payment company VSoft Corporation before launching into the startup world.

To help grow, Pidgin is taking the accelerator route. The startup was recently accepted into the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program, also based in Atlanta. Veeraghanta said joining the accelerator was a “timely opportunity” to help Pidgin connect with more community banks. 

“Community banks play a vital role in our economy, employing nearly 700,000 Americans and holding over $5 trillion in assets. These all-important institutions channel deposits and fuel job creation in the communities they serve. Given ICBA’s mission, we immediately saw the value in the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program, and our team has heard positive feedback about the program from past cohorts,” he told Hypepotamus. 

Now in its fifth iteration, the ICBA (The Independent Community Bankers of America) thinkTECH Accelerator is designed to help startups focused on deposit or real-time payment technologies. 

“In today’s evolving banking landscape, it’s imperative that community banks not only respond to market demands, but anticipate the needs of our customers,” said ICBA Chairman Derek Williams in a statement. “That’s why the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator is so important. In helping to source and cultivate promising fintechs through this interactive experience, ICBA is creating a forum for meaningful collaboration where we can shape the future of community banking together.”

Charles Potts, EVP and Chief Innovation Officer at ICBA, told Hypepotamus that ICBA recently expanded its accelerator program to have two cohort sessions during the year. This growth is fueled by the FinTech sector’s focus on real-time payments. 

“Faster payments have quickly become a key priority for 2023, and consumers now expect – and are switching to – institutions that offer these capabilities. Bank-fintech partnerships, such as the ones fostered by the ThinkTECH accelerator program, can integrate emerging solutions and help banks remain agile and competitive in today’s evolving banking landscape,” Potts added. 

Having the program set in Atlanta is also strategic for ICBA, as Potts said the city is “overflowing with fintech talent, from both start-ups and well-established companies, professional associations, universities and other industry networks.”

You can learn about the other startups joining Pidgin in this year’s ICBA ThinkTECH accelerator program taking place in Atlanta here.


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