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Fintech A.M: 07-11-2017

Digitization rules the current financial markets as established players are digitizing their offerings and business processes. Banks are keeping their apps up-to-date with state of the art technology, hoping to keep up with the innovative fintechs.

Digitization in the banking sector

Banks are continuously adopting technology into their services and business processes. Today, UK banks Nationwide and Bank of Scotland announced to start using the new iPhone X’ Face ID feature in their mobile apps. Apple, however, does recommend customers to use a passcode to ensure the safety of private information.

Kansas’ Emprise bank recently also unveiled plans to digitize their loan process with e-signature, looking to gain competitive advantage and expand its services outside their current reach. Citizens bank follows the same path, as it is also digitizing its loan application process, thus enhancing its SMB lending offering, in collaboration with online lender Fundation. This way, SMBs have fast access to loans, where they receive funds within three business days after applying, if they get approved. 
 Last week, Wells Fargo & Company launched the mobile first, digital bank “Greenhouse”, approaching the digitization differently from the aforementioned banks.

The digital bank is supposed to target a broad base of customers, especially those subject to budgeting challenges due to multiple sources of income or infrequent payments. However, the digital only challenger bank Varo Bank is sceptical, taking Wells Fargo & Company’s ability to adapt into question. Changes in the banking industry, however, are coming from both directions. UK-based fintech Cashplus, for example, announced last week that it is pursuit of a banking license. They are convinced their banking services are eligible to compete with the High Street banks.

Payments are becoming faster, more efficient, and more accessible

In the payments sector, Deutsche Bank seeks to streamline cross-border payments as it has gone live on Swift’s global payments innovation EUR services. With Swift’s gpi, Deutsche Bank has access to real-time tracking of payments and same day use of funds for corporate clients. The EUR gpi services are an addition to the USD gpi services, introduced in October. 
 In Australia, Westpac bank, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank have teamed up to offer a mobile payment and wallet solution app called “Beem”.

The app enables free and instant P2P payments to customers and small businesses, without the requirement of being a customer at one of the banks. Google’s mobile payments app “Tez”, launched in India in September, has been installed by over 7.5 million users and already registered over 30 million transactions. Tez’ competitor, the BHIM app, still holds the record with 10 million installs in just 10 days, indicating the demand for digital payments solutions in India.


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