Summit View: Bank Tech of the Future

Our expanded FinovateFall conference is coming up on September 11 through 14, and we’re taking a look at each of the six summit discussions that will take place after the demos. In the final segment of this series, we’re examining future technologies.

Summit #6: Future technology

The year was 2000. AOL and Timer Warner merged, Tate Modern and the London Eye both opened in London, Blink-182 and Oasis ruled the air waves, and the movie Meet the Parents premiered in theaters. Seventeen years later, we’re living in the future, and while payments and mortgage technology sometimes still hark back to the 1990’s, there are a handful of enabling technologies that remind us of our progress.

Blockchain

Blockchain has come a long way since Bitcoin became available in 2008 and spiked in value in 2014. The blockchain, the technology behind the digital currency, has not only opened doors to a range of other cryptocurrencies, it is now used by companies to track and manage personal identities, transmit data, send and receive international payments, and more.

Notable alums leveraging the blockchain:

  • Ripple, the technology behind the XRP cryptocurrency. Ripple demoed at FinovateSpring 2013 as OpenCoin.
  • Caxton, a multi-currency, cross-border payments platform. The company’s CEO, Rupert Lee-Browne debuted Caxton’s Firebird Payment Engine at FinovateEurope 2017.
  • Bitbond, an international marketplace lending platform for small business loans that leverages the blockchain for global payments. At FinovateFall 2016, the company’s founder and CEO, Radko Albrecht, showcased Bitbond’s automated SME credit scoring methodology.
  • BanQu leverages the blockchain to provide global economic identities. The company won Best of Show for its demo at FinovateSpring 2016.
  • MarketX’s online investment platform leverages the blockchain to prove ownership and integrity of private, pre-IPO shares. The company’s CEO and founder, Cathryn Chen, showcased MarketX at FinovateFall 2016.

AI

Elon Musk has bolstered the public’s interest in artificial intelligence recently, after he publicized a doomsday warning that software and machines may leverage AI to take over the world. Despite this, the use of AI in fintech has been growing over the past couple of years and we have yet to see its peak.

Notable alums leveraging AI:

  • Aire offers an API that generates an alternative credit score for potential borrowers with thin-to-no credit files. The company, which recently raised $5 million, demoed at FinovateEurope 2015.
  • LendingRobot is an automated investment service that enables lenders to invest in alternative, P2P investments. The company won Best of Show for demoing its dashboard at FinovateSpring 2016.
  • Kensho is an interactive, user-friendly research assistant. The company’s CEO Daniel Nadler debuted Kensho’s Warren assistant at FinovateEurope 2014.
  • Personetics uses AI-powered predictive analytics to help banks fulfill their clients’ needs by predicting their situation. The Israel-based company showcased its chatbot at FinovateFall 2016.
  • Feedzai’s fraud prevention software uses big data and AI to block payment fraud in real time. The company’s CEO, Nuno Sebastiao, demoed Feedzai at FinovateEurope 2014.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) isn’t new to banking, but its potential has increased since technologies such as ATM location tools came on the scene in 2010. In the seven years since, there has been little development across all sectors.

The most notable application of augmented reality has been Pokemon Go, a game launched in 2016. While Pokemon Go is still one step removed from the banking world, it has shown us that the way in which we interact with our devices is changing. This change is still in its infancy but a handful of companies have created viable products for banks, mostly in the way of marketing solutions.

Notable alums leveraging AR:

  • ebankIT provides omni-channel digital solutions that break the mold of traditional online banking. The company most recently demoed at FinovateEurope 2017 and will showcase its newest technology at FinovateFall in September.
  • ITSector is a software development company (and parent company of ebankIT) that offers banks marketing products powered by augmented reality. The company debuted its Express Credit solution at FinovateEurope 2017.
  • Fiserv, a global financial services technology provider, offers augmented reality solutions for banks seeking a unique way to advertise to their customers. The company’s most recent Finovate demo was at FinovateFall 2016.

Virtual Reality

Similar to AR, virtual reality (VR) is also on the fringe. While there’s a lot of excitement about technology’s potential to make communications more efficient, harness new client segments, and improve the customer experience; there has been limited application in its use for financial services.

Notable alums leveraging VR:

  • NCR is an omni-channel solutions company. At FinovateSpring 2017, the company showed off its fully immersive VR ATM experience that leverages real-time collaboration to train employees to fix ATMs with hands-on experience.
  • CREALOGIX, a digital banking company, launched a VR solution for personal financial management at FinovateEurope 2017. The solution uses imagery and an inspiring user experience to engage users and encourage them to mange their finances.
  • Comarch is an international software company. At FinovateSpring 2016, the company showed how advisors and relationship managers can deliver investment advice in VR for a more personal touch.
  • Worldpay, a global payments company, is developing a VR-based payments system. The company gave a presentation about the payment journey at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016.

The upcoming Future Technology Summit at FinovateFall will offer a day of discussions from industry thought leaders, top fintechs, and banks. Be a part of these live panel discussions at FinovateFall; register and save your spot at the show. A few summit highlights include:

  • Blockchain
  • AI
  • Open Banking
  • AR/VR

This is our final post in the FinovateFall Summit Series. Review all six topics and be sure to drop by the discussions taking place at FinovateFall this September 11 through 14 in New York.

Summit View: Demands of Different Digital Market Segments

Our expanded FinovateFall conference is coming up on September 11 through 14, and we’re taking a look at each of the six summit discussions that will take place after the demos. Today, we’re examining digital markets.

Summit #5: Digital Markets

Know your customer is an important regulation to abide by. But it is also a key marketing principle. Because every market is different, the only way to successfully up-sell and cross-sell products and services is to know and understand how tastes and preferences can vary in different markets.

Here’s an examination of four major digital markets. Each section outlines the group’s preferred channels, thought principles, and a set of services generally important to that group.

Underbanked

  • Preferred channel: Mobile only
  • Key principles
    • Liquidity
    • Real-time money movement
    • Simple and transparent communication
  • Services needed
    • Prepaid
    • Check cashing
    • Credit building and education
    • Basic budgeting
    • Billpay
  • Company examples
    • Urban FT (pictured right)
    • PayNearMe
    • Refundo
    • Mobino
    • LendUp
    • Wipit

Youth

  • Preferred channel: Mobile first
  • Key principles
    • Fun
    • Simple and transparent language
    • Gamification and interactivity
  • Services needed
    • Financial education
    • Savings
    • Parent-loaded prepaid card
  • Company examples
    • FamZoo (pictured)
    • Oink (f.k.a. Virtual Piggy)
    • PlayMoolah
    • DoughMain
    • OnDot

Millennials

  • Preferred channel: Mix of mobile and web
  • Key principles:
    • Limited use of credit
    • Simple UI/UX
    • Easy access to move and spend money
  • Services needed:
    • Retirement saving and advice tools
    • Saving and budgeting tools
    • Debt repayment tools
    • P2P payment service
    • Billpay
    • Auto and home loans
  • Company examples
    • Moven
    • Qapital (pictured)
    • Tuition.io
    • Student Loan Genius
    • Roostify
    • FutureAdvisor (owned by Blackrock)
    • Acorns
    • AutoGravity

Seniors

  • Preferred channel: Mix of web and branch
  • Key principles:
    • Account security
    • Liquidity
    • Earned interest
    • Tax mitigation
  • Services needed:
    • Fixed income budgeting
    • Investing tools
    • Wealth management and advisory services
    • Estate planning
    • Tax planning and mitigation
    • Fraud protection
  • Company examples
    • TrueLink (pictured)
    • AARP
    • EverSafe
    • WiseBanyan

The upcoming Digital Markets Summit at FinovateFall will offer a day of discussions from industry thought leaders, top fintechs, and banks. Be a part of these live panel discussions at FinovateFall; register and save your spot at the show. A few summit highlights include:

  • Underbanked and financial inclusion
  • Youth (age 7-18) and their parents
  • Millennials
  • Seniors
  • Financial management in the gig economy

This is the fifth of our six FinovateFall Summit series. Stay tuned next week, when we’ll cover future technologies.

Summit View: What Drives Innovation in Regtech & Insurtech?

To prepare for our expanded FinovateFall conference on September 11 through 14, we’re taking a look at each of the six summit discussions that will take place on days three and four of the conference. Today, we’re previewing trends in regtech and insurtech.

Summit #4: Regtech and Insurtech

Regtech and insurtech have benefitted from the same technology innovations that have turned fintech into a booming industry for consumers, businesses, and investors. According to CB Insights, regtech startups have raised more than $3 billion in funding between 2012 and 2016 (102 in 2016 alone). And what compliance-enabling technologies are attracting the most regtech investment? Capital Confirmation, which provides secure document transfer and transmission for auditing purposes raked in $60 million. Vendor risk management innovator, Prevalent, also raised $60 million in funding last year.

Regtech is a broad category, with solutions that are applicable to almost every aspect of financial technology. Consider, for example, the RegTech Top 100 Power list compiled by Planet Compliance this spring. Looking at Finovate alums alone, we see a surprising diversity in the types of companies aggregated under the “regtech” rubric. ID verification and anti-fraud companies like Trulioo and NetGuardians shared the spotlight with data analytics specialists like Ayasdi, document processing innovators like Mitek, and even banking systems providers like Temenos and nCino.

The application of technology to the field of insurance is another area of fintech that seems like a no-brainer now that so many entrepreneurs and startups have embraced it. And while there is some debate as to whether or not insurtech is a part of fintech or an industry all to its own, there is no denying that many of the concerns that have propelled technological innovation in fintech are also at work driving disruption in insurtech. Big Data analysis and risk modeling, document transmission and storage, customer experience improvements that leverage mobile and other technologies to make it easier to shop for insurance products, are all components of the insurtech revolution. And this adds to companies like Finovate alum Insuritas that have simply leveraged technology to make it easier for community banks and similar FIs to offer insurance products to their customers.

CB Insights reports $1.7 billion raised by insurtech firms in 2016 for a total of 173 deals. Among some of the companies picking up funding in 2016 were Clover ($160 million, with another $130 million in May 2017), Bright Health ($80 million, with another $160 million in June 2017), and Cyence ($40 million). The unique health care system in the United States certainly creates ample opportunity for innovation in this space, as analysts have pointed out. But the rise in the number of insurtech startups in places like the U.K. and Europe is a reminder that there are plenty of insurance services beyond healthcare financing that technology can help provide.

Startups and Sandboxes, Challengers and Incumbents

What is in store for regtech in 2017 and beyond? One interesting prediction from Michael Meyer, Vice Chair International RegTech Association, is the rise of sandboxes as a way to incubate “dedicated testing spaces” for companies working on specific regtech challenges. “In this environment we will see companies with solutions around risk data aggregation; modeling, scenario analysis, and forecasting as required for stress testing; and, alternative approaches to AML/KYC/BSA to name a few,” Meyer wrote. “As with other domains in the fintech space, regulatory buy-in for regTech solutions will be imperative. Sandboxes can provide a means to that end.” Meyer also is optimistic on partnerships playing as much or more of a role than disruption when it comes to the relationship between startups and incumbents in the space. The role of sandboxes in the development of regtech startups will be one of the key focuses of the Regtech & Insurtech track at FinovateFall in September.

If greater cooperation between industry participants is likely to characterize regtech innovation, will insurtech be a better place to look for true disruption? In their look at top insurtech trends for 2017, Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks argue that here too, incumbents and challengers will find value in working together. “Relationships between insurers and insurtechs will become much more intense,” the two wrote, pointing out that incumbents are benefitting both the specific capabilities of startups as well as “the culture at insurtechs and the way of working.” This was echoed by KPMG Insurance Partner, Murray Raisbeck, whose review of the insurtech/insurer relationship at the beginning of the year noted a “cross-pollination of leadership talent between insurtech and the traditional insurance sector during 2017.” Raisbeck suggested that the 2016 trend that saw a number of insurers creating Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Officer, and CTO positions for the first time was likely to “accelerate” into this year. Additionally, Raisbeck sees insurers competing with each other to partner with or incubate the best insurtech startups. The winners among the insurers will be those best able to work with startups on their own terms, ensure connectivity between legacy systems and API technology, continued investment in quality data, and, not unlike in the regtech space “an acceleration of ‘proof of concept’ and pilot programmes” to speed development and eventual integration. Conversations on this relationship between insurtech startups and incumbents, as well as the prospects for disruption, will be a topic during the regtech & insurtech track at FinovateFall.


Just after the demo sessions at FinovateFall, our discussion days on the 13th and 14th present a great opportunity for deep dives and expanded discussions on critical issues in fintech. Join our live panel discussions with industry thought leaders, bank executives, and fintech professionals. Register today and save your spot.

Here’s a peek at a few of the planning conversations for the Regtech & Insurtech track at the Digital Banking Summit.

  • RegTech USA: Innovating Regulatory Compliance
  • Sandboxes and Start-ups: Supporting the development of an ecosystem
  • InsurTech Conversations: Meeting the challenge of digital disruption
  • Key trends in insurtech

This is the fourth of our six-part FinovateFall Summit Series. Stayed tuned for more on Thursday when we look at the different Digital Markets fintech is serving in 2017 and beyond.

Summit View: Changes in the Wealth Management and Investing Scene

Our expanded FinovateFall conference is coming up on September 11 through 14, and we’re taking a look at each of the six summit discussions that will take place after the demos. Today, we’re examining wealth management and investing.

Summit #3: Wealth Management & Investing

Wealth management and investing technologies were two of the hottest trends from 2016. How has 2017 matured the market? Here’s a look at a few key changes to keep an eye on.

Industry consolidation

Following the recent influx of roboadvisors and investment technologies to the market, the past few months have brought some consolidation to the industry. We’ve seen five mergers and acquisitions in the last year, and expect there to be another handful of M&A announcements in this space in the following months. That said, it is likely the industries will take another three-to-five years to truly consolidate down to key players.

The hybrid approach will win

A year ago, roboadvisors took one of two approaches: a pure robo method (such as the Betterment model) and a hybrid strategy (such as Personal Capital’s approach of high-touch mixed with high-tech).  Today, the industry is tilting toward the hybrid approach, which has the potential to offer the best of both worlds. In fact, even Betterment has changed its tune. The company recently pivoted to include a human advice offering alongside its traditional, strictly-robo advice tool. Catering to clients who prefer a human touch (or are simply undecided) will lead to increased customer acquisitions in the long-run.

Larger players take the lead

Unlike years past, when smaller players dominated the wealth tech industry with their innovative approaches, the coming years will bring larger players into the competitive landscape. Blackrock, which acquired FutureAdvisor in 2015, is known as one of the pioneers in using an AI-based investing strategy for its clients. Since then, many other large financial institutions have also joined in; Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, UBS, Deutsche Bank, and many others have implemented AI and machine learning techniques to their wealth management approaches. Industry consolidation, such as in the Blackrock example above and with Northwestern Mutual’s acquisition of LearnVest in 2015, will increase the number of larger players in the space as more large firms scoop up smaller fintech companies.


The upcoming Wealth Management and Investing Summit at FinovateFall will span two days of discussions from industry thought leaders, top fintechs, and banks. Be a part of these live panel discussions at FinovateFall; register before tomorrow and save on your ticket. A few summit highlights include:

  • Roboadvisors
  • New asset classes enabled by technology
  • Banks and robos: build vs. buy
  • New investing tools: thematic investing
  • Advisor platforms: using technology to enable advisors

This is the third of our six FinovateFall Summit series. Stay tuned next week, when we’ll cover regtech and insurtech.

Summit View: Trends and Challenges for Digital Lenders

To prepare for our expanded FinovateFall conference on September 11 through 14, we’re taking a look at each of the six summit discussions that will take place on days 2 and 3 of the conference. Today, we’re previewing trends in Digital Lending.

Summit #2: Digital Lending

Lending is the foundation of banking. So it is little surprise that some of the biggest successes and greatest challenges in financial technology have come from startups and FIs competing to find out who can provide borrowers with more funding and better terms while ensuring investors have a range of options across the risk spectrum for their capital. With global economies stabilizing in the wake of the Great Recession, rumors of rising interest rates, and expectations that digital lending will encompass 10% of all loans in the U.S. and Europe over the next three years, what new opportunities await lenders and borrowers in 2017 and beyond?

Approved by AI

One major trend in digital lending is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to augment traditional, loan approval methods.

Artificial intelligence promises to help lenders discern which borrowers are likely to pay back their loans. And as prosaic as that sounds, many innovators in the digital lending space will argue that traditional methods are wanting in this very specific way. By focusing essentially on a borrower’s “credit career,” lenders have historically overlooked credit-worthy would-be borrowers among the cash-first, underbanked, and immigrant populations (especially international graduate and post-graduate, millennial-age students).

While the use of social media to help assemble a borrower profile exists, the role of AI to help lenders make better financing decisions is far more than just “Loan Approved by Facebook.” By asking more – and better – questions, and leveraging real-time responses, AI and machine learning are helping lenders see how, as one fintech executive once told me, “behavior is more important than biography” when it comes to making good lending decisions.

Will Regulations be Right-Sized for Innovation?

Regardless of where you sit on the free-market spectrum, there is little doubt in the capacity of regulations to spur innovation. Regulation is not the only incentive to develop new technologies, of course, but it is a critical one in industries like digital lending, in which entire lines of business can be opened up or cut off by regulatory change. Growth in the digital lending space has been rapid. PwC cites Morgan Stanley estimates of more than 200 digital lenders in the U.S. currently, and global volumes in excess of $290 billion by 2020. As such regulators and would-be digital lending disruptors alike have struggled to keep up with demands for both better protection and data privacy on the one hand, and more transparent access to loan solutions and investment opportunities on the other.

The challenge for regulators in the digital lending space is, to borrow a phrase, to lead, follow, AND get out of the way. Fintechs need to be ready to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by regulatory change (such as opening up markets to non-accredited investors), leverage the most powerful compliance tools to ensure they are in-line with new regulations, and be prepared to be a pioneer in those areas where the relative lack of regulation may allow for greater experimentation and innovation.

Home is the Heart of Digital Lending

We have been champions of the notion that mortgagetech is the future of fintech. And much the same can be said of mortgagetech’s influence on innovation in digital lending.From technologies that make it easier for consumers to shop for homes and financing, to new opportunities to finance and invest in commercial and residential development, mortgagetech is the sleeping giant in the digital lending space.

Digital mortgage lending companies like LendingTree and Sindeo are examples of how technology is transforming not just one of the largest parts of the economy, but also one of the most significant financial experiences in the average person’s life. And beyond companies that are directly lending to homebuyers are the ecosystem of innovators from Avoka to Top Image Systems that are designing and incorporating technologies that make loan applications easier to complete; data easier to collect, share, and secure; and the entire purchase process less costly and more efficient.


Coming September 13 and 14, the Digital Banking Summit at FinovateFall is a great opportunity for deep dives and expanded discussions on critical issues in fintech. Join our live panel discussions with industry thought leaders, bank executives, and fintech professionals. Register before July 7 and save on the ticket price. Here’s a peek at a few of the planning conversations for the Digital Lending track at the Digital Banking Summit.

  • P2P Lending: Is marketplace lending still competing with banks?
  • Alternative Credit Scoring: How to enhance your underwriting model using big data and machine learning.
  • Digital Mortgages: How mobile is changing the rules of mortgage originations
  • Student Lending: Helping millennials work through the student loan crisis.

This is the second of our six-part FinovateFall Summit Series. Stayed tuned for more next week when we look at Wealth Management & Investing.

Summit Series: The 3 Pillars of Digital Banking

Our expanded FinovateFall conference is coming up on September 11 through 14, and we’re taking a look at each of the six summit discussions that will take place after the demos. Today, we’re examining Digital Banking and Payments.

Summit #1: Digital Banking & Payments

One of the major tracks of FinovateFall’s Summit discussions, Digital Banking and Payments, is such a huge concept that it’s important to focus on key elements. As a preview to the upcoming panel discourse on the topic, here are three pillars of digital banking that every FI must build around.

Customer experience

The clients of a bank define its success, so their happiness should be a priority. Crafting a digital banking strategy around a superior user experience is no longer optional, given increasingly viable product offerings from non-bank players such as PayPal. By offering a simple, clean user interface with intuitive navigation on web and mobile platforms, banks can be in a better position to compete. Leveraging features such as hamburger menus can hide seldom-used but necessary functions, while buttons keep frequently-used tasks accessible.

While there are plenty of wrong ways to build a user experience, there’s no single “right answer.” Fortunately, it is possible to guess, check, and re-work interfaces when and where necessary.

Security

With hacks in the news on almost a monthly basis, securing clients assets is no longer a simple regulatory checkbox. Unlike building a superior user experience, there is no room for error with security. What is similar, however, is that banks need to ensure that security doesn’t interfere with the customer experience.

One of the best tools to reduce friction while enhancing security is biometrics. Using fingerprint biometrics to secure a mobile app and voice biometrics to authenticate a customer’s call offers enough security for basic banking functions and won’t stymie the user experience the bank has worked so hard to create.

Payments

Becoming top-of-mind and top-of-wallet can boost a bank’s bottom line, but the increasing competition from non-bank players is making the race to the top more difficult. Fortunately, there are a variety of fintechs working in this space, and partnership opportunities abound.

Offering advanced card features such as remote card lock and unlock functionality, credit score reporting, and mobile push notifications for spending and balance alerts gives a bank leverage over competing payment methods. For P2P payments, check out the network from Zelle (formerly clearXchange). Created by Bank of America, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo in 2011; multiple banks, credit unions, and community FI’s have joined, each adding to the number of users in the network.


The upcoming Digital Banking and Payments Summit at FinovateFall will span two days of discussions from industry thought leaders, top fintechs and banks. Be a part of these live panel discussions at FinovateFall; register before July 7 and save on your ticket. A few highlights include:

  • P2P Payments: Maturing Millennials and the Future of P2P Transfers
  • UX/UI Design: Empowering End Users with 21st Century Design
  • Biometrics & Authentication: Authentication, Biometrics and the State of Cybersecurity
  • Community banking: Bankruption: How Community Banking Survives Fintech
  • Impulse Savings: Leveraging Technology for “Set It and Forget It” Savings

This is the first of our six FinovateFall Summit series. Stay tuned later this week, when we’ll cover digital lending.