Here are this year’s 11 most-read blog items but, unlike previous year’s, they are not in order as it made more sense to list them by subject matter. Therefore, the placement is in parenthesis. Enjoy!
Banking in 2022: what’s going to happen? (#9)
This was the forecast for banking made in January, using a range of consulting reports.
My feeling is that banks are dealing with digital transformation – a thing they should have dealt with a decade ago. For the next decade, they need to deal with investment transformation. Why? Because of the link between banks, investing, corporations, fossil fools and climate.
FinTech in 2022: the Big Regression? (#4)
Similarly, using a range of reports, this was the January forecast for FinTech in 2022.
The next few years will see a Big Regression. It started in China when the $300 billion IPO of Ant Group was dismantled. Now it is clearly happening in Europe and America. What is the Big Regression? It is the reversal of technology progress. It's not that people will reject technology. It's governments and regulations. In fact, it is likely that FinTech will be affected by the Big Tech fall-out.
The FinTech Bloodbath (#10)
This is a more recent blog entry from October, reviewing the consequences of the Big Regression in action as valuations are decimated and lay-offs across the industry are rife.
Back in January, I called 2022 the Big Regression for FinTech. Ten months later, sure enough, it is. Daily headlines about losses and layoffs are gathering non-stop, and storm clouds are gathering fast to demand market change through consolidation and merger.
Although it was noted that the picture accompanying this blog entry may have been the reason why it was so well read.
The death metal band Bloodbath
When a rebel meets a banker (#5)
Back in February Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, contributed some fantastic insights around the links between banks and climate impact. It received a very angry response from one reader. Here is Gail’s reply.
The “free” in free markets used to mean free from monopolistic powers. Now it has come to mean being free to do whatever the hell you can get away with, if you’ve enough money to buy your way out of regulation in secrecy, and the funds to lobby politicians to do your bidding.
It was interesting to see what happened when they actually spoke to each other, in a follow-up blog in June.
We’ve acted against various banks and have three demands. One is to report on their climate impact, and provide a path towards change. The second is to name the systemic issues that create this incentivisation of harm. The third is to champion an assembly of ordinary people who can support a process to make the changes to the system that are necessary, and that is a complex thing to do.
Financial sanctions: a reality check (#1)
As Russia invaded the Ukraine in late February, the world applied financial sanctions. The thing the world did not understand is that financial sanctions don’t work when there is a get-out clause.
Some friends were applauding Visa and MasterCard’s decision to throw Russia off their payments networks over the weekend. Both companies handle 90% of all debit and credit card payments outside of China - and their announcements will deal another significant blow to the Russian economy. It sounds grand, but the presentation by the media misses a key point: Russians or, rather, President Putin doesn’t care.
Will Visa and MasterCard survive? (#2)
Whenever you have a heading saying such-and-such is doomed, you get a lot of clicks. This one reviewed in-depth the future of Visa and MasterCard. The conclusion?
Going forward, credit cards and companies like Visa and MasterCard are not going to go away. But they have to adjust to an increasingly multi-polar payments environment with novel infrastructure capabilities. And that means that some of their established power will change hands.
SWIFT may not exist in five years, according to MasterCard (#7)
In a similar vein, questioning the viability of SWIFT is always a good question to ask, and it did arise this year when the CEO of MasterCard wondered if they would still be around a few years from now.
We don’t need SWIFT, MasterCard or Visa in the days today of cryptocurrencies and P2P payments. But that statement is naïve because you have to have critical mass and, in all three cases, these networks not only have critical mass but also density, volume, value, history, trust and network effects.
Will the euro collapse and disappear tomorrow? (#8)
Continuing such speculation, you can then ask whether the euro is needed and this was questioned due to the challenges in the Italian economy in the past years.
Italy is led by Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank (ECB), but its “bloated debt load may finally doom the experiment with Europe’s shared currency”. The tension here has been building for a long time, but it’s basically the fact that Northern European nations are subsidising Southern European nations and they’ve had enough of it.
The End Of Digital Transformation In Banking (#3)
And yes, another blog about the end of something, this time digital transformation. Ron Shevlin and Jim Marous provided their thoughts.
I’m not calling anyone a liar, but it’s hard to believe that banks are as far along in their digital transformations as they think they are. Among other requirements, digital transformation efforts should be addressing core system limitations and emerging artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technologies—but they’re not.
11 episodes to decode banking … #mustwatch (#6)
11FS made a masterclass series of videos, freely available on YouTube, explaining how banking works and is being evolved through technologies.
11FS has just released the result of months of work. A new video series on YouTube called Decoding: Banks. There are 11 episodes in the series starring many industry luminaries and protagonists, including yours truly and the likes of Dave Birch, Nick Ogden, Joanne Dewar, Rishi Khosla, Emma Lindley and more.
Why new banks should also be worried (#11)
Finally, we have lots of talk about old banks being rubbish, but it’s not a joy-ride for new banks either. This is the story of Monzo’s particular issues dealing with the FCA’s client onboarding requirements.
According to data from the Financial Ombudsman, 1,392 complaints were made against Monzo in 2020, a 177 per cent increase on the previous year. Because of the constant negative feedback I joined Facebook group Monzo stole our money.
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, 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...