Q&A with Seb Taveau of Envestnet on the relationship between fintech and banks

By Amber Donovan-Stevens
Seb Taveau is theVP of Developer Experience at Envestnet . Here in a short Q&A, he answers questions on on the relationship between banks and fintec...

Seb Taveau is the VP of Developer Experience at Envestnet . Here in a short Q&A, he answers questions on on the relationship between banks and fintechs, and the future of these collaborations. 

1.       Are banks working harmoniously to formulate a positive culture of innovation and collaboration within fintech?

The need for banks to invest time and resources into innovation is nothing new, but has escalated in the past 10 years as digital has become the norm. As challengers rose and began competing for the same users, some banks took drastic measures.

Particularly within the UK, banks started feeling the heat when challengers scaled big enough to own more and more of the market share.

The US has fostered a stronger sense of collaboration. Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo recently worked together on a unique strength with the launch of Zelle. They’ve also invested in time to create joint ventures outside the banks’ sphere of influence.

Are the banks working together? Yes. Is it smooth sailing? Not always. There will always be competitive suspicion which slows down these engagements. The important part is that we carry on trying, for the consumer.

2.       What is the relationship like between the entrepreneurial, risk-taking culture at fintechs and banks with whom they are increasingly working more closely?

There is significant tension and concern from risk-averse banks around the ‘move fast and break things’ attitude of many fintech startups. As an industry, though, I think we’re seeing more and more examples of traditional banks working with financial players such as PayPal, Square and Stripe.

And when it works, it works really well.

Banks are starting to hire from fintechs to increase in-house innovation and promote digital solutions. Many banks have even created internal incubators or accelerator programs to foster and grow start-ups and to create a portfolio of start-ups working on ideas which interest them.


3.       What does the future of this relationship look like?

Ultimately, banks rely on fintechs to compete outside the boundaries of audit and regulations, and fintechs need banks to foster a sense of trust with consumer bases.

As long as a gap exists, the two will be able to interact symbiotically. With that said, however, it’s critical that any partnership enables both parties to learn and grow, or risk the gap widening and banks – and consumers – losing out.

4.       What will the future working relationship look like?

Increased collaboration – banks and fintechs will need to continue joining forces in order to best serve the market. Ultimately this will be a win-win situation, but there will be struggles along the way. What matters is that the customer is put first – therein lies the key for success.



Sebastien Taveau, VP Developer Experience


“Taveau is a puzzle solver and beyond-the-horizon watcher, Sebastien experience spans more than 20 years in the fields of POS, mobile payment, mobile security, mobile identity and consumer solutions.

His executive vision was key in delivering the first turn-key pre certified POS solution, the first successful mobile payment wallet, the first mainstream consumer biometrics payment system and one of the most successful effort around Open API and developers engagement for several international technology companies such as PayPal, Validity, and MasterCard.

At Envestnet Yodlee, his role is to manage the developer experience via the developer portal and other engagements with developers to make Yodlee a true destination experience for all, from the fintech entrepreneur to the large corporate coder.

Prior to Yodlee, Taveau was Chief Technologist at Zelle/Early Warning Services, Chief Developer Evangelist for MasterCard, CTO for Validity and Principal/Astronomer at PayPal.”


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