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Shaping the future of finance

The Finanser’s Week: 16th November – 22nd November 2015

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Our main stories this week include ...

Where is the banks' tipping point?

I had an interesting discussion about change in the banking markets again the other day.  We were citing emerging new players like Square, Stripe, Klarna and Lending Club, as well as players that have already emerged like PayPal and Apple Pay.  In all of these cases, my colleague felt that these players have all added something to the banking system, and noted that they have not destroyed or replaced anything.  True, to an extent, but when PayPal is processing $70 billion a quarter, and launching new capabilities like Venmo that process near $2 billion a quarter, banks must surely be missing a trick?

Why are Fintech start-ups avoiding the core of banking?

In that same dialogue about when banks should act to block, buy or beat new competition, I realised that the new competition is doing something quite clever.  Unsurprisingly, Fintech firms look at banking and realise that it’s pretty dull and onerous stuff.  AML, KYC, compliance, audit, regulatory reporting, rules and oversight of business are the day-to-day core of what banks deal with.  A Fintech firm doesn’t want to deal with that!  So most are targeting things around the banking system, rather than the banking system itself. That’s why most are adding layers to the system to remove the pain of the past, rather than replacing the system itself.

Banks struggle to get the right talent ... easy to see why

So I was listening to a couple of banking folks discussing the search for new talent.  I didn’t know until I heard the discussion, how tough it is these days.  I mean I knew that MBA students had moved away from banking in their droves to seek careers with consultancies, but generally thought banks were doing ok.  But then it’s not the search for tellers and call centre workers that is the issue, but the search for coders.

What is the real mindset of millennials about banks and money?

There’s been a lot of debate about millennials and their likes and dislikes.  I myself cite regular surveys that millennials would rather go to the dentist than visit their bank, and that surveys of millennials find no bank brands are desired. They may not like banks, but it is interesting to see what they really think about them, rather than what people think they think about them.

Welcome to the Whitechapel Think Tank

At the start of 2015, I was honoured to be invited to join a new group called the Whitechapel Think Tank. The group was initiated by Jeremy Wilson, Vice Chairman of Barclays Corporate Banking and John Edge, Managing Partner, RRVIG.  What is the Whitechapel Think Tank focused upon?


This week’s major news headlines include …

Power List 2015: The 50 most influential people in the world - The Independent

For better or worse, these people's decisions affect millions, shake industries, and change nations

Barclays hit by another $150m forex fine - The Telegraph
The British bank was caught cancelling clients' trades when the market moved in the customer's favour

Epayments a guide to alternatives to cash - Financial Times
Money has been popular for more than two millennia, will digital technology finally replace it?

City of London's tallest skyscraper yet: the Pinnacle site on Bishopsgate will see building taller than the Gherkin and the Heron tower - The Independent
The brand new building will be located at 22 Bishopsgate

Bank of England fears challengers will never de-throne the giant banks - The Telegraph
Top officials are encouraging small banks to grow but are worried these new entrants will never displace established giants

Nationwide taps Garner’s tech talents - Financial Times
The building society looked for a chief at home in the digital age and the world of banking

Banks' crime fighters want to quit their jobs - The Telegraph
Most compliance, regulation and anti-money laundering officers want to change careers as they fear being jailed if other bankers break the rules

Bureaux de change pay the price as money-laundering rules bite - The Telegraph
Small firms are being driven to the wall by regulations that were designed to prevent criminal activity

Robots threaten 15m UK jobs, says Bank of England's chief economist - The Guardian
Results of the Bank’s study, Andy Haldane said, suggested that administrative, clerical and production tasks were most at threat

Individuals and technology are the future - Financial Times
Fund houses will have to rethink their products to win new money


If you like the Finanser, buy Chris Skinner's latest book: Digital Bank


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Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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