Money20/20 Europe Day 1: DJs, Banks and the Future of Money
There may have been a comic-book hero theme and a hard-hitting DJ in the background, but the messages coming out of Money20/20 in Copenhagen are very serious.
The fintech conference, which includes a significant presence from Earthport, is now established as one of the leading forums of this dynamic and disruptive community. If you needed any confirmation that the great and good were in attendance, when Money20/20’s Tracey Davies took the stage, the soundtrack was Heroes!
It’s clear that in the message, “let’s create the future of money”, the undercurrent is also the future of banking. On the opening day, a plethora of sessions that asked questions of the sector attracted a lot of debate and soul-searching.
Money20/20 not only placed emphasis on fintechs that are challenging the status quo but also banks that are trying to kick-start transformation. Barclays’ Ashok Vaswani admitted that banks needed to “get their societal purpose right” and revealed that his bank was creating a new model that, unlike many industrial revolutions, “will not leave anyone behind”.
Rabobank underlined its role as a cooperative bank, putting together customers and investors. At the same time, chairman of the Dutch bank’s executive board, Wiebe Draijer, said the bank was providing a breathing space for startups. This highlighted how the world of banking and fintechs are coming together.
Challenger banks, naturally, have airtime at Money20/20 and Clear Bank, the first new clearer in the UK, spoke with enthusiasm about the way they are indeed confronting the “big four” in the UK market. But Nick Ogden of Clear Bank admitted that the payments industry has continuing issues around efficiency and the growing threat of cyber and financial crime. Starling Bank’s Anne Boden, another “challenger”, spoke about the need to break down the value chain and championed the need for the “right delivery at the right time and the right price”.
Interestingly, a former banker, Anthony Jenkins, who has talked about banking’s “Uber moment”, underlined the urgent need for reinvention. “The banking industry is still struggling from the fall-out of 2008,” he said. Jenkins added that the way banks handle data will be a decisive factor. “They have to move quicker and that will change in the next few years.”
Data, he said, is the oxygen of the financial system, but he was clear that banking needs to be redesigned. The industry has to be wary of a “Kodak moment” taking place, where some banks suddenly realise they are no longer relevant. “Banks have to realise that innovation has only taken us so far, we now need transformation. The CEOs that realise this will be the winners.”
Written by Mike Steinharter, Chief Commercial Officer, Earthport.
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