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GulfTech is a challenge due to diversity

I took part in a webinar the other day, focused upon the developments in digital banking in the Middle East.  Having visited Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar recently, I can claim to know a little.  Equally, having been to the region regularly since 2002, I’ve seen how it is developing and changing.  This is…

The European banking system is flat-lining

There was an interesting article in The Independent last week about the big banks becoming bigger since the financial crisis hit.  The article notes that the big American banks control 70% of all US assets, and that this figure has increased 40% since 2008. In the lead up to 2008, parallel to increasing debt levels,…

Will Apple Bank be the first new American #Fintech Bank?

On Wednesday the American Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)* followed up on its promise last December to introduce a national bank charter for Fintech bank startups by issuing a white paper on how to apply for a licence, the evaluation process and what will be involved.  It’s a massive move towards allowing…

The Boy who cried Wolf! (#fintech stylee)

I remember organising my first banking conferences in the 1990s and there was a regular mantra amongst the memes of the folks speaking on stage. There is more change coming and you’re going to be dead meat unless you change. It was a common theme to hear the word disintermediated being used in these speeches. …

When will banks stop seeing financial inclusion as charity?

I was asked this question at a recent conference and yes, banks do believe that the mass poor are just that: poor.  How do you make a profit out of the poor?  Well, truth be told, the poorest are the most profitable.  They’re the ones who need loans and go overdrawn, and therefore pay all…

57 banks and nothing wrong?

Seven years ago, the first new retail bank in almost a century got its licence to open: Metro Bank.  Now, there are so many new banks starting up in Britain (and across Europe) that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it all.  There are app-only start-up banks (Atom, Monzo, Starling, Tandem); foreign exchange payment cards (Revolut, SuperCard); personal…

Blood on the FinTech carpet

I was reflecting on a friend of mine who runs a FinTech start-up.  Their company was on a funding round, and struggling.  They struggled so much that they ended up having to lay off a load of staff, cut budgets and defer income.  In fact, they reached the point where they would only survive another…

Most thinking about poverty is wrong

There are basic human needs: food, drink, sleep … wifi.  Once those are covered, everything else is supplemental.  It’s not needed.  It’s just stuff you want.  If you can eat, drink and sleep comfortably, what else is there? I only ask this question because I was thinking about what we value, and realised that we…

web 5.0, the 2030s and Samantha

There’s a line in the 2013 film Her, it’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness.  The film is about Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix.  Theodore is a lonely writer who gets to trial a new operating system OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system.  The OS1 tailors itself to your habits and…

web 4.0, the 2020s and the Internet of Things

We are already entering the fourth-generation internet, the internet of things, but it won’t really take off until the next decade, the 2020s.  Sure, we have self-driving Teslas and Nest home appliances, along with Samsung’s Smart Things, but it’s not mainstream yet.  For example, none of my friends has a self-driving car yet. This will…

Fintech expert Chris Skinner: countries need digital transformation to remain competitive

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Chris Skinner
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