Pandemic exposes urgency for digital transformation in the financial services industry, which is likely to drive increased demand for fintech products and services
A majority of senior fintech professionals say Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the industry, but many are more optimistic about the future now than they were at the start of the pandemic, according to a report released today by research and content agency Pensar Media.
The report—Pandemic Pains: How the Covid-19 Crisis is Impacting the Fintech Industry—surveyed more than 100 senior fintech professionals in the UK, Europe and the US to gauge how fintech companies have responded to the challenges of Covid-19, what opportunities it has created and what firms are planning for next year.
Key findings include:
- 69% think Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the industry, with challenger banks and online lenders being hardest hit
- 43% are more optimistic now than at the start of the pandemic, compared to just 16% who are more pessimistic
- 58% expect the pandemic will result in increased M&A activity across the fintech industry, with the payments sector expected to attract the most interest
- 55% expect the fintech industry to recover from the pandemic in a year or less
- 46% believe the pandemic will ramp up pressure to change or refine existing business models to survive
- 43% expect to see a decrease in the availability of funding for fintechs next year, with 50% of respondents predicting that between a quarter and half of all fintechs will experience financial difficulties over the next 12 months
The report features insights and commentary from some of the fintech industry’s leading experts, including Railsbank co-founder and CEO Nigel Verdon, Funding Options CEO Simon Cureton, CUBE founder and CEO Ben Richmond, and Token CEO Todd Clyde.
“This is a wake up call to the financial services industry that have spent billions on digital transformation, and all they’ve done is got themselves to the digitised death zone of the CD where they’ve slapped a bit of tech on top of their analogue processes.” – Nigel Verdon, Railsbank
“It’s become an absolute must-do to transform what was historically manual and paper processes with technology because of this virtual working environment, and banks recognise it’s only going to become more challenging going forward.” – Ben Richmond, CUBE
“I was always saying this year was when open banking payments were going to hit their inflection point in the UK and they absolutely have. How much was solely attributable to Covid and how much was solely attributable to the stability and readiness of APIs—probably it was around 70%-80% just the timing of the market and then an extra 20% or 30% of gasoline from the pandemic.” – Todd Clyde, Token
“There will potentially be more partnerships formed between fintechs and maybe fintechs that aren’t necessarily playing directly in the same spaces but using innovation and technology in their own areas to complement other fintech propositions.” – Simon Cureton, Funding Options
Ben Edwards, co-founder and editorial director of Pensar Media, said: “The survey shows that Covid-19 has had an uneven impact on the fintech industry. Some businesses are thriving, particularly B2B fintechs that provide the digital infrastructure for traditional financial services companies, whose sluggish digital transformation efforts have been starkly exposed by the pandemic. On the other hand, some businesses have had a tougher time, particularly fintechs that rely on revenue from activities such as card transactions or foreign exchange fees that have been squeezed by lockdowns and travel bans. What the survey responses and our interviews with fintech leaders ultimately underscore is that while there remains uncertainty ahead, the industry has quickly adapted to the new environment and optimism for a speedy recovery is high.”