- In demand are services for the, until now, neglected medium-size companies
- The exchange between established banks and startups will increase
- It will become more difficult for “lean startups” to assert themselves against the competition
With the end of the year approaching, the amount of predictions for 2017 is steadily increasing. How will the industry develop and what will be the next big thing? Although A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), Blockchain, RegTech are buzzwords everyone is talking about, one can foresee the next Fintech trends more realistically by looking at the current developments. Exactly they will determine the course for the next year. Three areas are of special interest
More SME banking: Many Fintechs focused in 2016 solely on two customer groups: either the biggest banks or the private end customers. Many SMEs, however, had respectable profits. The issue is that digital financial products from payment providers and company credits to goods financing are missing.
These companies are too big for peer-to-peer lending and a traditional banking credit is costly and lengthy. More and more Fintechs are detecting the needs of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and are beginning to offer them solutions. The startup Valendo f.e., originally intended as digital pawn shop, is now offering an additional service of merchandise financing for online-retailers – an intelligent step for both the merchants and the company. Another example is the Fintech iwoca from the UK that offers tailormade loans for SME businesses (in the UK 20% of all SME loans are mediated by online-suppliers). In 2017, we will see a significant expansion of these services for SMEs through innovative Fintechs.
More B2B-solutions: In 2016, Fintechs grew up. In 2015, it was still difficult for Fintechs to find any open door within a bank. Today, more and more financial institutions are cooperating with Fintech companies that are faster and more efficient than the company-owned IT-departments. There is hardly any bank that has no digital lab to emulate fintechs. The consequence: The Fintech companies are continually improving their business models to meet the higher requirements. One example is the Berlin-based Fintech company FinReach: With its fully-digital account switching kit, it has already more than 100 German bank customers and is now starting its internationalization.
The big number of partner banks is a clear vote of confidence. This kind of trust is necessary if one wants to be successful in the B2B-industry. Not only that, but the industry requires professional employees. Ex-bankers with longstanding experience in the financial industry, including former board members, are now working for established Fintechs. The cool students may be the ones that invent a new pocketmoney app, but successful Fintechs have grown up. This growth will continue with even more strength in 2017, especially through the demands of complex B2B models.
More complex business models: Not only employees have become more professional, but also the setting of Fintechs itself. While the first ones started as hyped business models without a real business case, dependent on user’s goodwill, nowadays no Fintech starts without having applied for the necessary licenses from authorities and conducting extensive tests before launching. Instead of a “lean startup”, it is now from zero to a hundred. solarisBank, a tech platform with a full banking license, got its banking license before launching – in the record time of only 9 months from the German Bafin.
Elinvar on the other hand has a B2B2C approach and offers private asset managers all the necessary modules to manage their portfolio digitally. With the help of an algorithm that can be fed with individual data, the asset manager is able to take care of a customer’s portfolio faster and in a more efficient way. B2B2C is not easy, because it requires on one hand the supplier’s trust and on the other hand must be well received by consumers. Moreover, it requires a thorough preparation of the product. 2017 will surprise us with more complex and high-quality Fintech models.
At least one thing was demonstrated in 2016: Fintech was and is not only a hype, but a development that needs to be taken seriously and drives the digitization and transformation of the entire financial industry. With new customer groups and new business models, 2017 has the chance to make Fintech accessible to even more professional fields. The course is set, now it is all dependent on the right drivers.