How to get started with Bricknode as a core banking system for current accounts in 30 minutes

February 28, 2021. Stefan Willebrand.

This is for all you FinTech entrepreneurs who would like to give the likes of Revolut, N26, Lunar and Klarna a run for their money. In this article I will demonstrate how to literally configure a new subscription to Bricknode as a core banking system to start managing current accounts within 30 minutes and at a fraction of the cost that legacy suppliers charge.

We love to empower entrepreneurs so they can bring new solutions to the market at lightning speed.

First I simply signed up for a subscription at www.bricknode.com and I got the logins for the system the same day.

Now, if I wish I can take care of everything myself or I can ask for help from the customer success team. Starting a current accounts business is extremely easy and this article explains everything that you need to do to get going.

Where will you hold your customers cash?

As a first step you will probably already have established a relationship with a bank, or “Custodian” as we call it, where you have an account for client assets. This account has to be created in the Bricknode system as a custody account so the system knows where the assets are stored in the world outside of Bricknode.

Basically the only concept that you really have to understand before you start is what we call Account worlds and Dimensions, that’s it.

Here is an illustration.

The “Internal accounts” are your individual customers accounts, your partners accounts and could also be your own accounts, we call you the “House”. All the assets that reside in the Internal accounts has to be backed up by assets in the outside world, like cash at a client account at a bank.

In Bricknode Financial Systems (BFS) I have now received access to four interfaces, these are:

  • Back office portal, this is where the administration takes place and the back office work
  • Partner portal, this is where your partners can log on to manage their business, their customers and their own branded customer portals if they wish
  • Customer portal, this is where your end customer will log on to take care of their business if you wan to use this standardized portal
  • API, this is where you should concentrate your work. With the API you can build your own mobile apps, customer portals, automation, what ever you would like to expand the functionality of Bricknode and deliver a kick ass customer experience!

In the screenshots that follow I will reference which interface they are coming from with BackOffice, Partner, Customer or API.

Let’s have a first look at BackOffice to set up your first Custody account.

When you first log on you will come to the Dashboard, which you can easily customize with regards to the widgets that you see.

Locate the House View in the upper right corner.

To create a new account simply click on the Create button.

In the resulting dialog I will select Custody Account as the Account Type and I will name the account Bank 1 Client Assets, we are going to store the actual IBAN number of the custody account as a property on the account but it is recommended to include parts of the account number in the label so you can easily identify the account going forward.

Within Bricknode an account can hold any asset so we are not limited to having one account per currency, which a lot of traditional banks seems to be limited to because of legacy systems. We do have to set a base currency on the account though because this is used for calculating account returns in percentage terms, we do not have to deep dive into that here though.

If your bank/custodian limits you to one custody account per currency, no problem, just set up more custody accounts within Bricknode to reflect that.

Now the first custody account is created and I can progress to the next step.

What currencies would you like to accept?

Within Bricknode it is possible to manage any financial asset/instrument that I know of, in this article though I will only discuss traditional currencies. Any account can hold any type of asset but for currencies I want to configure a default custody account for ease of use and I also want to activate a certain number of currencies. Let’s navigate to System Data->Currency Management for this.

Within Currency Management I see that there are 33 currencies available by default but I have set a lot of them to Closed. I have the option to open currencies with different permissions to make them available to BackOffice, Partners and/or Customers.

To start with I have enabled four currencies and I use the same default custody account for all of them.

Setting up the partner and the customer

In this article I am working with a partner relationship where a user called Bricknode Partner is bringing in business and the first customer is called Bricknode User. Creating these users manually in Bricknode is very easy, simply navigate to User Management and create the users through the creation buttons.

Repeat the same process as above for creating the customer manually. Through your own customer facing apps or websites you would be doing this using CreatePersons in our API. If you use DotNet you should get our NuGet package where you have everything already implemented.

Working with the customer account

Let’s navigate to the customer within BackOffice and create a simple account. When you use the API you would implement the function called CreateAccounts for this purpose.

Deposit cash

The transactions relating to deposits and withdrawals would probably come automatically from an integration with a payment service or the custodian but here I will illustrate a manual deposit. Click on the action menu for the account and select Deposit Money.

The resulting dialogue will default to the right custody account and set the Trade Date, Settlement Date and Value Date to today. I have entered a deposit of EUR 1,000.

The balance and the transaction will now show up in the Overview within BackOffice.

The partner perspective

On the customer account I have set up a relationship with the Partner user.

And I have also set up a Power Of Attorney with “View” permission which will enable the Partner to see what is going on in the account. When you use the API you would implement the method called CreatePOAs.

On the dashboard, which the partner can arrange and add widgets to, the customer account can be seen and the related transactions.

By clicking on the customer the partner can drill down into the details.

The customer perspective

If you do not have your own app or website ready you can let your customers log on to the standard customer portal where full interaction can take place and the content can be fully configured by the administrator together with branding.

Reconciliation

The final step is the reconciliation of accounts that should occur daily. Remember the Internal and External accounts, the first I will check is the total balance of the Custody Account against the account statement that I get from my bank/custodian. To view this I will navigate to Positions->Cash.

Now I will filter on the transaction dimension Settlement and enter the balance date of what I would like to reconcile and also select Custody Account as the Account Type.

Here I see that EUR 1,000 is present in the custody account which should align with the account statement from the bank/custodian. If it does not I can click on the account and drill down into each transaction to see where the difference comes from.

Now when I know that the External account is fine I want to know if these assets are correctly spread out across Internal accounts too and for that I want to activate the Add-on that we call Reconciliation Manager. By navigating to the Marketplace I can request a trial of this Add-on right away.

The Reconciliation Manager is now activated and available in the House menu.

 

From the reconciliation overview I can drill down into each transaction if I wish by clicking on the House icon in the list.

Now I am all set and can continue doing business!