In a broad sense of the word “Fintech” (financial technology) refers to any innovation made in how people transact business finances. This would cover anything from the evolution of digital currency (think bitcoins) to double-entry bookkeeping.
Financial technology has grown tremendously over the past few years since the onset of internet 2.0, and mobile and smartphone internet revolutions. It used to be a term for advancements made in the banks back offices but is applied to a wide variety of achievements in technology related to personal and commercial finance (money transfers, smartphone check deposits, raising capital, etc.). According to an EY survey, fully one-third of consumers use two or more fintech services almost daily.
Understanding Fintech in the Banking and Finance Sectors
Regulations in Fintech: Financial services are one of the most regulated of all industries. It is no surprise that regulation comes up as the number one concern for governments when a fintech disruption takes off. Sometimes it is the technology that causes concern, other times it’s the tech industry’s impatience as they disrupt traditional banking processes.
As an example, automation of processes and data digitalization can make fintech vulnerable to breach attacks. Recent industry attacks illustrate the need to proceed with caution when disruptive technology is introduced. The question becomes who is liable in the long run for consumer loss of financial or personal information.
Fintech gives rise to new businesses: Fintech has introduced the world to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. While they are substantially different from each other, they do complement one another through their integrated use of applications.
For example, Contract Manufacturing businesses benefit from fintech as the technology is perfect to complete and manage their financial needs. Blockchain offers faster and cheaper ways to complete transactions securely.
Fintech’s impact regarding cryptocurrencies goes beyond helping just new financial startups. The power of the blockchain means changing the lives of individuals in countries where a currency is tightly controlled or substandard, corrupt or inadequate financial systems are the only options.
Digital channels have taken over many industries as alternative methods of communication. Banks especially had to innovate digitally as customers were steering away from traditional, bank branch-based activities.
Fintech has introduced not only mobile solutions but social media channels as well as multiple message channels (email, live chat, SMS).
Fintech’s role in the omni-channel customer experience means customers having consistent, seamless online interactions including “smart” experiences offline if attendance at a branch is required.
Automation in Fintech: According to Deltec Bank, Bahamas – “From robo-advisers to virtual assistants, financial services have seen massive growth in the disruption of traditional operator services.” These advancements in innovation take the form of automated messaging during a live chat or alternative communication channels or workflows. The automation is built around specific customer needs based on consumer behavior analytics. This is in turn used to power both sales and customer engagement.
Chatbots and fintech: A major disruptor of fintech in banking and financial services involves the use of chatbots to functionally streamline customer interaction processes. The term ‘conversational banking’ grew from this technology.
Agents can spend less time on the phone dealing with mundane daily repetitive answers to common questions by using this technology. This allows for a greater focus on more complex tasks.
Advantages of chatbots include quicker response to common queries, wayfinding to get the customer to the appropriate service departments, or webpages, as well as automating data collection.
Another benefit of chatbots includes integration with applications and other technology that incorporates machine learning and artificial intelligence. This has led to 24/7 open banking developments in collecting relevant financial information from customers and the automation of support queries resulting in substantially improved customer satisfaction rates.
Though there is still a preference for dealing directly with humans from a minority of consumers, the ‘new normal’ as a digital hybrid, for now, is taking a stronghold in the industry.
Customer expectations from digital banking are ever-evolving. Financial services need to reimagine how to do business, how to deliver their products and services, and what they offer. Fintech is an all-encompassing technology along the customer journey. Chatbots, machine learning AI, modern messaging and automation are only a few of what’s to come.
Disclaimer: The author of this text, Robin Trehan, has an Undergraduate degree in economics, Masters in international business and finance and MBA in electronic business. Trehan is Senior VP at Deltec International www.deltecbank.com. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the author, and not necessarily reflecting the views of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries and/or employees.
About Deltec Bank
Headquartered in The Bahamas, Deltec is an independent financial services group that delivers bespoke solutions to meet clients’ unique needs. The Deltec group of companies includes Deltec Bank & Trust Limited, Deltec Fund Services Limited, and Deltec Investment Advisers Limited, Deltec Securities Ltd. and Long Cay Captive Management.