Oct 1, 2020

Post-Brexit fear drives digital banking surge

deVere Group
digital banking
covid-19
Brexit
Joanna England
2 min
Digital banking has experienced an unprecedented surge since Brexit and the pandemic, the deVere Group has revealed
Digital banking has experienced an unprecedented surge since Brexit and the pandemic, the deVere Group has revealed...

Digital banking has experienced an unprecedented surge since Brexit and the pandemic, the deVere Group has revealed.

CEO and Founder of deVere Group, Nigel Green, says the rise in demand for cashless banking has been fuelled by worries regarding post-Brexit rule changes, climate change anxiety and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Green said enquiries for challenger bank apps had risen by 67% in the past few months, with digital banking apps enable customers to have greater flexibility regarding currency changes, transfers and deposits. “The monumental quarter-on-quarter surge for banking-style apps is, we believe, attributable to two main drivers,” he explained. 

Commenting on climate change as a driving force, Green said, “First, individuals and companies are increasingly embracing and expecting green, paperless banking. This is partly fuelled by the pressing need for us all to drastically reduce waste and better protect the environment – something the pandemic and issues such as raging wildfires has collectively focused minds on - but also because a paperless system is, typically, a more convenient and efficient one.”

But, Green confirmed, the UK banking rules post-Brexit are also a major contributor. “The other major point driving engagement with e-money apps in Europe specifically is that many of the UK’s banks are set to abandon their customers, by closing their accounts and stopping use of their services across Europe within weeks unless they have a valid UK address. Under post-Brexit rules, it becomes illegal for UK banks to service customers living in the EU without applying for new banking licences.”

He explained this would cause a large disruption for people, businesses and other organisations, hence the move towards banks that were operating “under pan-European rules.”

Vault, a state-of-the-art app launched by deVere, enables customers to deposit, store, transfer and exchange money in most major currencies. It has also proved particularly popular with younger demographics. Green concluded: “For Millennials and Gen Z clients especially there’s been a radical shift toward ‘less stuff, more impact’ in banking and financial services.

“And this is just the beginning of this global and far-reaching trend.”

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Jun 17, 2021

Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem

Zafin
Banking
Technology
Digital
3 min
FinTech Magazine holds a Q&A session with John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, on the evolution of banking and its future as an aspect of tech ecosystems

The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?

John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.

Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:  

Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?

It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started. 

While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk. 

Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand. 

I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.  

When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic. 

Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?

I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.

Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.  

The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC. 

I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives. 

Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss? 

Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement.  

 

 

Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.

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