This month at The Fintech Times our focus switches to reflection as we look back at developments over the last 12 months. 2022 has certainly been a challenging year for everyone with global economic activity experiencing a severe slowdown, with inflation higher than seen in several decades.
We’ve reached out to our community of fintech CEOs and leaders to share their thoughts on this year’s major fintech trends. Today we bring you insight from Plaid, OCR Labs, Savana and Clausematch.
Ripsy Bandourian became the first head of Europe for Plaid – the open banking network that powers digital financial experiences – in April 2022. Here Bandourian addresses how consumers are using fintech to weather financial challenges. As well as how expectations for trust, privacy, and regulation are evolving.
“This past year has brought significant economic uncertainty, people around the world are left wondering how they’ll manage. Our latest 2022 Fintech Effect Report found that, unsurprisingly, people in the UK are highly concerned about the state of the economy, with 41 per cent saying they have little to no confidence – with a further 83 per cent citing the cost-of-living crisis as their main economic concern.
“Despite this concern, fintech has proven its worth to consumers again in their time of need. Eighty-four per cent of UK consumers are using fintech to better manage their finances and take back control. Tough economic times often result in severe shake ups in approaches to common financial processes, with people looking for new ways to manage their money, save more, and protect their futures any way they can.”
Russ Cohn is general manager international at OCR Labs Global, a digital ID verification company. Cohn is a business builder who advises founders and their management on their growth and operational strategies. He talks about the growth of innovative payment trends, as well as the increased risks.
“I’ve noticed an increase in the opportunities for consumers to utilise financial services products, such as buy now, pay later (BNPL), e-wallets, crypto, and other less traditional forms of payments.
“With this has come the need for more regulation, which is driving a need for more oversight from regulators.
“In difficult economic times, we see an increase in consumer and business fraud – and with the current challenging global economic environment, we are noticing multiple forms of fraud escalating in nearly every country in the world.”
Evgeny Likhoded is the founder and CEO of Clausematch, which helps regulated organisations to bring compliant products to the market. Likhoded highlights a significant push by the government regarding ESG (environmental, social, governance) policies on financial services.
“In 2022, a lot of banks began asking for ESG policies, procedures, and controls of their fintech vendors. We saw many fintech SaaS companies start to provide evidence of ESG compliance.
“Also this year, we saw more and more individual governments evaluating crypto regulations. Meltdowns the likes of the FTX crash and others impacted consumers, and that has spurred an even bigger push on cryptocurrency companies to be compliant. That’s a positive development for the safety of the industry.
“Another trend we’ve seen is some smaller fintechs buying software to comply with regulations. Even in our own space, the banks and fintechs that weren’t interested in a solution several years ago are now looking to buy our product. The message is ringing true: It’s not possible to comply with regulations manually anymore.
“Unfortunately, in 2022, we are seeing consolidation in the market because of the concerns of a looming economic downturn. That’s to be expected; even good companies are struggling to raise money. They end up having to either merge or consolidate, and we’ll likely continue to see that trend in 2023. The market is slowing down and the investments are slowing down. It’s a shame that some really good companies found themselves unable to raise.”
Emily Steele is president and chief operating officer at Savana, which builds financial software for banks and fintechs. Steele, previously president of Temenos, North America, has more than 20 years in the banking software industry.
“In 2022 we saw continued movement to core modernisation and adoption of cloud technologies in banking. Also, increased acceptance of open banking and data sharing in the industry has led to advancements in API banking.”
“Digital banking (historically defined by the front-end digital consumer app) is now considered table stakes for a financial institution. However, as banks eagerly rolled-out new consumer digital apps over the last several years – new silos were formed in the process and the unification of systems between banker-assisted and consumer self-service channels was effectively eliminated.
“Banks now face the challenge of removing these silos on the back-end and front-end to boost operations and ensure channel consistency.”