Technology is and has always been a crucial part of finance. From the first promissory notes (banknotes) in the Netherlands and China, there was a race with counterfeiters that parasitically undermined trust. As in political communication, technology is the message, rather than merely "a tool": when it comes to money, trust is not just instrumental, it is fundamental. With cashless payments being the norm and social media platforms weαving an additional layer of involvement in our social data web – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple – Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already in our wallets, business, and financial affairs. In a non-western setting, one may refer to the Chinese "social rating" system, which allows the state to value and evaluate social behaviour patterns, creating a link to individual credit rating.
Financial services incumbents along with early-stage startups and large tech companies are all competing in fintech. CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal gave a 110-slide presentation at our fintech conference in New York. The full deck covered broad VC funding trends for fintech and the developments in large categories such as wealth management, blockchain, remittance tech, and insurance tech. On robo-advisors, Sanwal noted that market volatility has not necessarily been a boon to the category. "It's not all roses," he said. "There are headwinds … When market volatility picks up, people want to talk to an advisor." At the end Sanwal highlighted 9 trends we're watching that are generating excitement. The slides for those trends are included below. If you have questions, please use the hashtag. Use it on Twitter or on the mobile app, and I'll try to get to them. Please ask me easy questions only. If you like something about the presentation, please tweet it out. If you do not like something about the presentation, please just keep it to yourself. Let me jump in and we'll go through this pretty quickly, I think. So this is what we do, take lots of data and try to predict technology trends. You've seen this join the conversation piece. We have lots of great customers, many of whom are in the room.
The Russian subsidiary of the Austrian lender Raiffeisenbank has run the country's first ever mortgage deal on blockchain. It could be a taste of more to come in the nation. In the transaction, a mortgage contract was issued as an xml document containing all relevant information, including data on the mortgage loan issuer, the borrower, date and place of signing the deal, the total amount of the loan, and the repayment period. The use of blockchain for mortgage loan issuance is set to increase the safety of data storage, cut depository costs, and speed up transactions for both borrower and lender, Raiffeisenbank said in announcing the deal. Normally, after sealing a mortgage deal, the borrower has to visit the bank again to deposit the mortgage contract, while the application of blockchain allows the borrower to do it remotely, also cutting the amount of paper documents.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it's bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can't keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich information needed to drive trading decisions. With the unique multi-core architecture of the GPU, financial computations can be processed efficiently and quickly, making it ideal for financial services streaming datasets. He shared how several financial institutions' quantitative science groups are specifically using GPUs to accelerate analytics, deep learning/machine learning, and converging AI and BI. With over 18 years of software experience in a variety of roles and responsibilities, he takes a holistic view at software architecture with special emphasis on helping enterprise IT organizations improve their service availability, application performance and scale.
Global banks that have a large mortgage business are facing pressure internally and externally to upgrade their operating model to save money, decrease processing times and enhance the customer experience – today it can take more than 60 days to complete a mortgage transaction. The pressure is particularly strong with FinTechs like US online lender Rocket Mortgage and UK digital mortgage broker Trussle creating a completely digital experience for prospective home buyers. Banks, therefore, are exploring everything from mature technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to more leading edge and high-tech solutions based on blockchain and artificial intelligence. While some of these solutions could dramatically impact day-to-day business for lenders and their brokers and customers, blockchain has the potential to completely transform the entire mortgage financing industry. The financial services industry is all about trust – whether relationship based, reputational, authoritative (legal) or transactional – banking today is built on trust.