Our main stories this week include ...
I had an interesting discussion about change in the banking markets again the other day. We were citing emerging new players like Square, Stripe, Klarna and Lending Club, as well as players that have already emerged like PayPal and Apple Pay. In all of these cases, my colleague felt that these players have all added something to the banking system, and noted that they have not destroyed or replaced anything. True, to an extent, but when PayPal is processing $70 billion a quarter, and launching new capabilities like Venmo that process near $2 billion a quarter, banks must surely be missing a trick?
In that same dialogue about when banks should act to block, buy or beat new competition, I realised that the new competition is doing something quite clever. Unsurprisingly, Fintech firms look at banking and realise that it’s pretty dull and onerous stuff. AML, KYC, compliance, audit, regulatory reporting, rules and oversight of business are the day-to-day core of what banks deal with. A Fintech firm doesn’t want to deal with that! So most are targeting things around the banking system, rather than the banking system itself. That’s why most are adding layers to the system to remove the pain of the past, rather than replacing the system itself.
So I was listening to a couple of banking folks discussing the search for new talent. I didn’t know until I heard the discussion, how tough it is these days. I mean I knew that MBA students had moved away from banking in their droves to seek careers with consultancies, but generally thought banks were doing ok. But then it’s not the search for tellers and call centre workers that is the issue, but the search for coders.
There’s been a lot of debate about millennials and their likes and dislikes. I myself cite regular surveys that millennials would rather go to the dentist than visit their bank, and that surveys of millennials find no bank brands are desired. They may not like banks, but it is interesting to see what they really think about them, rather than what people think they think about them.
At the start of 2015, I was honoured to be invited to join a new group called the Whitechapel Think Tank. The group was initiated by Jeremy Wilson, Vice Chairman of Barclays Corporate Banking and John Edge, Managing Partner, RRVIG. What is the Whitechapel Think Tank focused upon?
This week’s major news headlines include …
Power List 2015: The 50 most influential people in the world - The Independent
For better or worse, these people's decisions affect millions, shake industries, and change nations
Barclays hit by another $150m forex fine - The Telegraph
The British bank was caught cancelling clients' trades when the market moved in the customer's favour
Epayments a guide to alternatives to cash - Financial Times
Money has been popular for more than two millennia, will digital technology finally replace it?
City of London's tallest skyscraper yet: the Pinnacle site on Bishopsgate will see building taller than the Gherkin and the Heron tower - The Independent
The brand new building will be located at 22 Bishopsgate
Bank of England fears challengers will never de-throne the giant banks - The Telegraph
Top officials are encouraging small banks to grow but are worried these new entrants will never displace established giants
Nationwide taps Garner’s tech talents - Financial Times
The building society looked for a chief at home in the digital age and the world of banking
Banks' crime fighters want to quit their jobs - The Telegraph
Most compliance, regulation and anti-money laundering officers want to change careers as they fear being jailed if other bankers break the rules
Bureaux de change pay the price as money-laundering rules bite - The Telegraph
Small firms are being driven to the wall by regulations that were designed to prevent criminal activity
Robots threaten 15m UK jobs, says Bank of England's chief economist - The Guardian
Results of the Bank’s study, Andy Haldane said, suggested that administrative, clerical and production tasks were most at threat
Individuals and technology are the future - Financial Times
Fund houses will have to rethink their products to win new money
If you like the Finanser, buy Chris Skinner's latest book: Digital Bank
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