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Fintech 23 Mar 2018

Banks and fintech are looking for the perfect symbiosis

The relationship between banks and ‘fintech’ startups has evolved from mistrust to collaboration.  Users, already used to enjoying improved customer experiences, may come out big winners. In this collaborative context, BBVA is mentioned as an organization that is “showing the world what the future of banking can be”.

“Interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” This is the definition of symbiosis according to the Oxford Dictionary. And this is, precisely, the state towards which relationships between traditional banks and ‘fintech’ startups should evolve, according to the World Fintech Report 2018, by consulting firm Capgemini and LinkedIn in collaboration with Efma, an association of more than 3,300 insurers and banks around the world.

According to the report, presented on March 21 in Madrid, ‘fintech‘ startups have helped improve customer experiences in financial services, catering to the growing demand for simplicity and personalization.  From this point of view, ‘fintech’ startups have already succeeded. However, the study emphasizes that customers are still having a hard time trusting them when it comes to managing their savings and financial transactions. Traditional banks are far better prepared than these technology companies in key areas such as risk management, regulatory experience, retaining and building their customers’ trust and access to capital.

BBVA is showing the world what the future of banking can be”

Ultimately, the solution seems to lie in a symbiosis between traditional banks and fintech startups. These new companies already have a very clear idea about what they want from incumbents.

The report’s presentation included a round table that included some of the so-called fintech revolution’s prominent players, either from ‘startups’, from banks or from the consulting firm. The debate revolved around the possibility of the so-called GAFAs (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), plus Microsoft and China’s Alibaba, (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), breaking into the financial business.

These are extremely powerful competitors and that is why Capgemini VP Elias Ghanem, Vice President FINTECH Continental Europe at Capgemini, emphasized the need for both sectors to start cooperating as soon and efficiently as possible. “Without a committed and agile collaborator, incumbents and fintech startups are putting themselves at risk,” said Ghanem, who emphasized that “BBVA is showing the world what the future of banking can be. Ten years ago they decided to transform, and they’ve put  a lot of time and money into it. That is what you need to do.”

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