According to Accenture’s recent report, investment in Fintech in APAC has more than quadrupled in 2015 compared to 2014. Fintech startups have popped up in the financial landscape with an estimation of 5000 to 6000 of them around the world. Will they disrupt the banking industry, like Amazon disrupted the retail industry or Uber disrupted the transportation industry?
That was the thematic of the roundtable moderated by Gerben Visser, Chairman of the Singapore Fintech Consortium, during the Future of Commerce meetup organized by Terrapin as a pre-event before their handful of events around payments, financial inclusion, retail and e-commerce in Singapore in April.
Why are the banks not collaborating with Fintech startups?
Banks are scared to be disrupted, as they are aware of their inefficiencies, slow processes and high fixed costs which bite into every transaction. So what refrain them to embrace the digital transformation and/or to collaborate with the startups? “We would like to collaborate with the banks but they are not very cooperative” explained a startup founder. Their rigidity is explained by the heavy regulations and strict security requirements which add a lot of complexity in the way they operate. Technology exposes them to a risk of being hacked.
Can Fintech startups really penetrate the market?
As all other big players, banks are also overlooking the long term value and looking for immediate return on investment. They capitalize on the fact that, for the moment, most Fintech startups thrive to penetrate the market because people tend to stick to their old habits. The truth is that behaviors change slowly. Banks will most probably continue to dominate the market for a while tough. This is believed by 46% of the Fintech executives compared to 20% of the banks, according to a survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit. But is unavoidable that Fintech startups will transform the banking industry if they offer value to the consumer, either by increasing their access to money, improving their experience or decreasing their transaction fees.