(Published in the Star Tribune April 5, 2021)
By Todd Nelson, Special to the Star Tribune
Steven Meirink, Minneapolis-based executive vice president and general manager of Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions, said the company has helped preserve nearly 10 million small-business jobs nationwide during the past year by enabling banks and credit unions to expedite Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications.
Lenders have used Wolters Kluwer's market-leading TSoftPlus software for more than 20 years to process Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, Meirink said. Compliance Solutions launched an enhanced version last April after making major modifications to ease small-business access to federal stimulus money available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meirink's guidance throughout the pandemic and in launching a new lending platform, known as the Paycheck Protection Program supported by TSoftPlus, earned him the 2021 FinTech Senior Leadership Award in February from Finance Monthly, a global industry publication.
The award recognizes more than 1,200 risk and regulatory compliance employees, 700 of whom are in Minnesota, who "stepped up in that moment of crisis," Meirink said.
"They brought a tremendous level of purpose to a mission of supporting small businesses and supporting jobs," Meirink said. "That's probably the career highlight moment for many of us on my team."
Meirink and his Compliance Solutions team were central to Dutch-based Wolters Kluwer's $280 million December acquisition of eOriginal, adding SBA electronic signature and record retention to create an end-to-end digital lending platform.
Wolters Kluwer hired 40 employees last year at its downtown Minneapolis office and is hiring about the same pace this year, Meirink said.
Meirink joined Wolters Kluwer in December 2015 after serving as senior vice president and general manager of Assurant Mortgage Solutions and holding several senior-level positions with Equifax.
Q: How are you helping customers respond to increasing demand for digital banking services?
A: Our role is to help banks, credit unions and other lenders expedite a digitized and contactless transaction with their customers, typically small business or consumers. It's mission-critical for lending transactions to be contactless, remote and easy. Our role is not only to make that process happen but to make sure it's done in a compliant manner.
Q: How are you helping customers address competition from fintechs?
A: I find in most conversations with our clients they are all evolving fintech lenders who are tailoring their services to the markets they serve. In fact, across industries (banking, insurance, securities) we are likely supporting both the newer entrant fintechs as well as traditional lenders who are focused on providing a great customer experience.
Q: How can you help customers navigate developments in artificial intelligence as they affect the regulatory landscape?
A: The speed of new technologies continues to accelerate but the regulations in the last two to three years that are designed to protect borrowers and keep our financial services ecosystem strong and healthy are evolving dynamically too.
We help clients incorporate new technology to deliver a better customer service or improve their business while ensuring they do so in a compliant and responsible manner.
Q: What brought you to Wolters Kluwer?
A: I grew up in Apple Valley by the Minnesota Zoo. Wolters Kluwer presented a unique opportunity to move back to my hometown (from Atlanta) and to work on leading a growth part of the business with the resources of a global company. My kids play sports and I attend many of those events at the same schools that I went to at their age.