On regular occasions I talk about disruptive models of banking and payments, such as complementary currencies, the new European Exchanges, Paypal, Zopa and SmartyPig.
The aim is to illustrate that there is the potential to do banking without banks.
This is not to say that I believe people want to do banking in a different way or even to do banking without banks. It's just to say that it is possible.
This is a theme explored by Banking as a Service and many of the other presentations, discussions and dialogues you will read on this blog.
Much of the dialogue is there to create a discussion, no more and no less. It is not to promote or demonstrate it has to be this way, just that it could be.
And each time I have such a discussion, the same questions are nearly always raised:
"Ah, but no-one trusts those new forms of finance which is why they stay with us."
So what does this mean: trust?
Does anyone trust the bank these days?
After the collapse of so many institutions, can banks really claim any trust at all?
The banks admit that trust is no longer guaranteed, and so we then move onto the next barrier to disruption:
"These new forms of finance do not work because they are not regulated."
Sure, and the banks were regulated with light touch, principles-based, self-regulation and look what that did for us.
Does regulation work in banking?
That's why the G20 and all the supervisory bodies are scrambling around to find a new way to regulate the system.
A Global Deal.
But if banks aren't trusted and regulation hasn't worked, are there really any barriers to new entrants in banking?
"Yes", say the bankers. "To be a bank you have to be licenced by the Central Bank, and many of these new players do not have that guarantee."
"And what does that mean?" I ask.
"It means that if we fail, the government guarantee the return of our customer's money."
Mmmm … if that's the only reason customers stay, it's not a great case for keeping the business models of the past is it?
The banks of tomorrow are arising already.
They are nothing like the banks of the past and they may not have the licence, trust or regulatory endorsements that the old banking system had … but do they need it?