According to our latest economic analysis, there’s $405 billion in Digital Value at Stake in Retail banking from 2015 to 2017. In 2015, financial services institutions captured only 29% of the potential Value at Stake. There’s a lot on the table and disruptive new market entrants like FinTech startups want a piece of the pie.

The FinTech world is exciting, disruptive, complex and increasingly crowded. There is a wide spectrum of innovation and maturity in the FinTech market that can be baffling for banks and insurance companies.

What is different about FinTech startups vs. retail banks? The major difference is that they start with the customer and the problems they are facing and build their solution from a customer-in perspective. This has already influenced banking language developing ‘customer first’ or ‘customer in’ strategies.

Another difference is the general view being that new is better than legacy. Clearly FinTechs and new digital banks have the advantage of being built for the new digital world with a heavy focus on user experience, built-in cybersecurity and the ability to adapt at pace to changing consumer demands.

The key advantage of legacy in general is heritage – something that is often underestimated in the world of financial services. Legacy also has other advantages – established banks have experience of operating at scale and still have large and often very ‘sticky’ customer bases – something that not all FinTechs can boast of.

The real drag in legacy though–the old IT. The key question is–can legacy systems be saved or will they need to be replaced entirely. It is easy to say replace entirely and go digital but these are multi-billion dollar investments with high risk for the banks and the individuals who lead these programmes.

Many banks are covering both bases – maintaining and developing the legacy systems and adding middleware to connect to the new digital world (this is how most banks solved the banking app challenge) while running parallel projects to build new digital banks from scratch to run alongside their legacy banking operation. This again sounds sensible – it does however drive up costs as the banks need to run two types of banks to serve similar numbers of customers.

There are clearly no easy answers–that is why we’re working with banks and insurance companies through their digital transformation journey – whether it is connecting legacy to digital or building new digital eco-systems to develop new operating models that can future proof their businesses.

There’s never been a better time to do something amazing, even if that’s disrupting yourselves in order to compete and win. As Ray Davis, CEO of Umpqua put it, if you haven’t got plans, get there quick, very, very quick.



Simon Blissett

Head of FS Solutions & Innovation EMEAR

Financial Services Solutions & Innovation EMEAR