This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. JPMorgan Chase has been one of the most active incumbents in adjusting to an industry increasingly transformed by fintech, striking data-sharing deals and innovating in-house. In his annual shareholder letter, CEO Jamie Dimon offered details on the bank's fintech approach and projects. That by now all incumbents are modernizing in one way or another indicates that adjusting to an evolving financial services landscape is no longer optional. It remains to be seen which of these regeneration models prove most successful, but making the effort to modernize is essential for incumbents if they wish to remain relevant.
Is the financial services industry headed towards a major upheaval? If the rise in the number of fintechs popping up over the last several years is any indication, then the short answer is yes. But there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to new technology in the financial services sector. Fintechs, emerging financial technology companies, are innovating and continuing to break dominance in the way we lend and borrow money, pay for goods and services, and transfer funds between accounts and overseas. Investment in fintech is projected to remain strong, and the demand for it among savvy consumers and forward-thinking businesses is expected to rise.
We track more than 2,000 start-ups offering traditional and new financial services--though we estimate there may be as many as 12,000. Here's how banks should respond. Banking has historically been one of the business sectors most resistant to disruption by technology. Since the first mortgage was issued in England in the 11th century, banks have built robust businesses with multiple moats: ubiquitous distribution through branches; unique expertise such as credit underwriting underpinned by both data and judgment; even the special status of being regulated institutions that supply credit, the lifeblood of economic growth, and have sovereign insurance for their liabilities (deposits). Moreover, consumer inertia in financial services is high. Consumers have generally been slow to change financial-services providers. Particularly in developed markets, consumers have historically gravitated toward the established and enduring brands in banking and insurance that were seen as bulwarks of stability even in times of turbulence.
Fintech is a disrupting force and a decentralising movement in the financial services sector. Fintech's apply information technologies and modern internet protocols for data exchange, and deliver financial services using data storage, data analysis algorithms, or personal telecommunication devices. Digital ecosystems are fundamental to the success of both Fintech and traditional banks. Frost & Sullivan's study, Fintech in Australia – Trends, Forecasts and Analysis 2015 – 2020 defines and focuses on the growth and challenges of the Australian Fintech sectors' three market segments; Digital Payments, Personal and Business Finance, and Financial Infrastructure and Data Analysis. Each segment relies on its own set of digital technologies.
Contrary to the perceived threat of technology disruption to the banking sector, experts have allayed those fears, insisting that Fintech can and will revolutionise banking. Financial technology (FinTech) experts who assembled in Lagos for a two-day disruptive innovation conference held recently at the instance of Interswitch, a major player in the FinTech space, identified collaboration as the way forward, with transaction banks and fintechs leveraging their respective strengths and minimising their weaknesses. They were of the view that technology disruption, especially in the financial space, which is changing the traditional and expensive ways of financial transactions, will assume a new dimension in the near further, in such a way that banks will begin to lose customers to Fintech operators if they refuse to collaborate. FinTechs are technology solution providers, whose solutions are currently disrupting the traditional ways of carrying out financial transactions, thus threatening the continued monopoly of banks as custodians of customers' bank accounts. Given the evolution of disruptive technology across all sectors of the economy, the financial technology experts were of the view that banks would lose greater percentage of their customers to FinTechs, should banks down-play the essence of collaboration.