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Fintech and banks: competition or collaboration?


Ever since the beginnings of fintech and the boom that followed the 2008 financial crisis, newly-founded financial technology companies and initiatives have posed competition to the more traditional financial institutions.
This is according to White Label Crowdfunding (WLCF), a UK-based Software as a Service company that creates, launches and hosts crowdfunding platforms.
Many of the new fintech enterprises came about as a direct result of people’s inability to access funds or resources through more traditional methods, such as banks. Entrepreneurs and businesspeople who suffered from the crisis began to seek alternative solutions, and one thing led to another.
South Africa’s fintech specialist and White Label Crowdfunding (WLCF) partner, Khonology, says crowdfunding will provide establishing African businesses with funding alternatives. It believes that the high barriers to business loans faced by SMEs will no longer be a hurdle for innovative, grass root solution providers.
“With many township entrepreneurs depending on their small businesses and business plans to acquire funds, crowdfunding reduces barriers of entries, such as collateral or healthy balance sheets,” says Khonology CEO Michael Roberts.
White Label Crowdfunding’s Eleanor Montgomery says fintech companies have traditionally been seen as the ‘enemy’ by many. “This is a threat to the traditional institutions which have thrived for so many years. However, things are beginning to change, and collaborations between old and new, traditional and innovative, are coming into being.”
“Crowdfunding offers access to cash that will empower the misunderstood, determined and small township businesses,” adds Roberts.
A recent article on businessinsider.com reported on the partnership between HSBC and Tradeshift, a cloud-based software platform that gives companies one place in which to keep track of their whole supply chain. The company was founded in 2010, is used by more than 1.5 million companies and processes $500-billion in trade each year.
Those at HBSC, it appears, have seen the potential benefits of collaborating with Tradeshift, having previously invested in the company, along with Santander. They are not alone, JP Morgan Chase & Co. is working with On Deck Capital, a US-based small business lending platform, while Santander has invested heavily in Kabbage, another online lending platform.
“Could this be the future of fintech or are we going to see more and more partnerships between old institutions and new creations. Or will old habits die hard? Only time will tell,” Montgomery concludes.