7 мая 2016 г.

How would you like to bank with Apple, Google, Amazon, or Facebook? This is the question Fujitsu has just asked a sample of some 7,000 people throughout Europe: around a fifth said they were up for it.

As the fintech environment garners an increasing number of experiences that tend to take place outside banking or insurance, and while the big tech companies push into financial products through payment initiatives, the idea seems to be gaining traction with more and more people.

What is a bank anyway? If most of the business these days is mainly about moving bits around data bases, it’s pretty clear that the big tech companies are going to have more expertise than banks that don’t see technology as part of their business and tend to subcontract it out to the big consultancies or to simply continue doing thing like they did in the 1950s.

Most banks are way behind the tech companies when it comes to dealing with clients, when it comes to their internet systems, and most definitely when it comes to analytics, as well as the assets they hold.

Banks are generally still relatively small setups, less developed, and rooted in obsolete working practices. This is reflected in key areas such as risk analysis, which lags behind the big tech companies’ use of machine learning, which in the case of outfits like Google are considered the basis for future growth.

Until now, the tech sector has thought that it wasn’t necessary to own a bank to disrupt the financial sector. But the signs are that some tech companies areincreasingly taking on the role of banks. We can easily imagine a future in which these well-capitalized outfits realize that a banking license isn’t such a big deal when it comes to building a sustainable competitive advantage and that they could integrate these services in the future if people accept the idea.

The pundits have been asking for some time which sector Apple will disrupt next. The company would have no problem finding the money to meet the legal requirements, and with its history of cross selling, its network of shops and its client base, it would have few problems in becoming a powerful and profitable bank. What’s more, the smartphone and companies like Venmo,Square, PayPal,Snapcash and many others, have pretty much put paid to the cheque book and the credit card. What’s more, their target audience is the millennial generation born between 1981 and 1997, is already the majority, and have no problems in accepting disruption to the financial sector.

Let’s be honest: the traditional banks do not enjoy sufficient loyalty from their customers that they could stand up to competition from new entrants from the technology sector.

Could internet end up replacing the traditional banks? For the moment, the most proactive are buying startups and companies with interesting business models, or those who are able to fit into their traditional ways of doing things, but… will such initiatives be enough to hold onto their places in an industry in which major disruption is coming?

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