“The Future of Financial Services,” a report that the forum, working with Deloitte, spent a year and a half preparing, is a wide-ranging, 178-page missive (you can find the whole thing here). The goal was to draw a comprehensive picture of how “fintech, as it’s popularly called, is going to not only disrupt the banking sector, but become an integral feature of it.
“We’ve seen a sea change in perspective of senior leaders in traditional banking,” R. Jesse McWaters, a financial innovation specialist at the Forum and one of the report’s authors, told MoneyBeat. When they first started the report, they saw no urgency from banks on the topic. By the time they finished it, that had completely changed. Bankers have gone through their own sort of five stages processes; they ignored it, then feared it, and now they are figuring how how they can live with it, and even profit from it.
Fintech is a hot topic on and off the Street. But like any hyped-up topic, discerning the substance from the speculation can be difficult. What the report seeks to do is establish a taxonomy, a map of the landscape, and show specifically how and where the two worlds of traditional banking and fintech are going to overlap.
One thing bankers have yet to broadly understand, said Deloitte’s Rob Galaski, another of the report’s authors, is the permanence of this change. Banking executives have grasped the importance of innovation, but “many senior leaders came at this as, innovation is a 2016 priority, but for 2017 it’ll be something else,” he said. But that misses the point. Technology is going to continually offer new services and options to customers, they say, and banks are going to continually have to follow that. “There’s no time horizon that we can see where that dynamic changes,” Mr. Galaski said.