We talked to Carl Hampus about FinTechs and how they affect the financial services industry.
- Tell me, is it really a hype we’re witnessing with the rise of FinTech start-ups? “I firmly believe that it is not a hype. The rise of the many FinTech start-ups we are experiencing now, especially in the Nordics, is driven by a strong appetite for new digital services enabled by rapid development of new technology – and its fast adoption by customers. The traditional banking sector is both a digital and innovative laggard and so customers are increasingly turning to other providers for their banking related errands, which are more user friendly and often cheaper. For these reasons I believe that banks today have reason to be worried about maintaining their market dominance in the future. But will FinTech start-ups completely disrupt and essentially overturn our traditional banks? Probably not, at least not in the foreseeable future. The large banks play such a pivotal role in maintaining the economic eco-system, which we can’t ignore. In addition, it is difficult to compete with the trust that banks instil on customers today, which is needed for us to want to hand over our life savings to them. We will therefore not abandon our banks anytime soon, but it’s not a negligible scenario for the future as FinTechs move ever so closer from the fringes of the financial services spectrum to the very core of consumer banking.”
- What do you believe are some of the challenges that large banks face in responding to digital innovators? “A big challenge is the IT legacy. Most banks run on old IT-systems that are not capable to smoothly interact with new technologies. The fact that these old IT-systems are integrated in all parts of the organisation makes replacing them an expensive, painful and seemingly impossible challenge. An even bigger challenge is the cultural legacy. We know that transforming stable big business to foster innovation is very difficult. I listened to a speaker from the Singularity University whose way of putting it was that large organisations’ bureaucracy and processes function as “an effective immune system” against innovation. In order to remain relevant, banks must be able to develop new products in a much more agile manner. A third challenge is also to convince the organisation of the need for digital transformation, which is still not evident to all.”
- How can we help clients embrace these market changes brought on by innovative start-ups, and stay competitive? “We can help clients understand their customers’ pain points and how new digital products can resolve them. We can co-develop product prototypes together with the client in a matter of weeks, but we can also facilitate partnerships with FinTech start-ups thanks to our strong relationship with the community, primarily through our network The Grid. There are many instances where a partnership of some form is the most efficient way for banks to innovate and is a means for many start-ups to scale their businesses. There is lots more we can do – contact us and we’ll tell you more.”