The fintech sector is being disrupted through digital. The big question is, if the industry can adapt on time. What are the most prominent financial services companies out there at the moment? This panel puts the spotlight on the most important sectors within financial tech such as payment, messaging, digital currency, lending, big data and bitcoin.
FinTech - Financial Services combined with Technology. It's also the way to unlock the economic potential all around the world, Joyce Kim explained at the beginning of her talk. Kim is the Executive Director of Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization focused on open financial access. With approximately 3 million accounts created since launching in July 2014, Stellar is a common payments platform that increases interoperability between diverse financial systems and currencies.
Joyce Kim has a Korean background. Her grandma was part of the Korean generation where women had no own money. They were unbanked what led to a huge untapped brainpower. Because without financial access people are not able to pay for healthcare, for housing, and education.
But how to deposit and save money if you only have cash and a cell phone? There are different possibilities, the most common is to save it at home. The second possible way is to use community savers and in if you are in Nicaragua and have money to save, you'll probably buy a pig ("piggy bank").
What if everyone could safe money? Micro-deposits could have a huge impact of the FinTech world. But how to send and pay money? A huge bunch of people in the world don't have a bank account or a credit card. Often online payments are not possible, but the prices in stores are up to 40% higher than online, e.g. in India. How can people send money from everywhere in the world home to their families? Often the only possibility is mailing, Western Union.
What if it was easy to send? It requires low costs infrastructures and could safe up to 6 billion Dollars worldwide. But are you trustworthy if you only have cash and a cell phone? How to make sure you are credit worthy? In some regions community models were developed: 3 people get a loan, if one is not able to pay it back, the family and friends can help - only loans who are realistic to pay back. This helps to empower entrepreneurs. The three people with their loans are starting a fishing company - one is buying a boat, one is buying a motor, and the last one buys the fishing net. They all work together to pay back their individual loans.
Stellar helps people as well with open access, low transfer costs, financial history, interoperability and microtransactions. When individuals have access to financial services and the confidence that those services are working in their best interest, those individuals can be the next Einstein coming from India or Africa. Starting a new financial business is only the beginning.
For a Q&A session Sonali de Ryker joined the stage to moderate the panel with Joyce Kim, Taavet Hinrikus and James Meekings. James is a Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Funding Circle, the world's leading marketplace for business loans. Taavet Hinrikus is co-founder of TransferWise, the international money transfer platform. The business allows regular people to access the real mid-market exchange rate by cutting out traditional banking fees altogether. It charges only a tiny, totally transparent service charge. In the two years since it launched, the business has transferred over £1bn worth of customer money and has attracted $33m from investors such as Richard Branson, Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, co-founders of PayPa l. They explained the raise of the FinTech sector up to 7.5 billion dollars in 2014 - 5 times more than in 2010. Unbelievable.
But people don't trust banks, they don't know what's happening inside the bank and with your money? But in the UK less than 10% of people will ever change their bank account in their whole life. Their relationship to the bank account is longer than some marriage.
James and Funding Circle want a cheaper, faster and more transparent banking system. Especially after the bank crisis lots of trust is lost. Banks are really in a bad position now. But everyone wants happy customer. So it's maybe time to disrupt the old systems. There are a lot of things that every FinTech business can learn from banks, but also a lot you don't want to learn. But be open-minded and transparent.
What about regulations? How to deal with systems like Hawala based on trust? And bitcoins? What will be the future of banking? Maybe a user-centered approach?
"The next billion people online will change everything, not just in banking.", Joyce Kim