How far can banks go?

After working for major banks in Latin America, I can see the concern about following the changes caused by fintechs. Only in Brazil they are more than 100 in less than 2 years and around the world, more than 1500 since 2010. It’s a huge impact in financial services.

But what do fintechs propose beyond banks? This is my question when I see them trying to help users.

Lending Club, Simple, Flint, RobinHood, Coinbase … there’s a big list of players that offer services already made by banks in terms of paying bills, controlling expenses, transferring money, investments, connecting with managers and experts and checking panoramas and goals. Fastness on implementation ensures news on the customer experience — that now can be smoother and practical. All that was constantly expected when it comes to simplify, finally seems to be happening.

In the end, it’s clear the commitment of these startups in offering the best experience for clients, but most of the time the essence of the “bank” seems to keep around, once we still make the user depend of processes.

Once these services have people on their hands, shouldn’t they focus on what users are trying to achieve? For sure it means more than simulations of loans or investments. It’s about user’s dreams and how it can be fulfilled with money. Without perceiving this thinking, in a short term, all may just seem trials for fixing the lost time.

Small transactions still can be part of this way of thinking on how to empower user’s dreams, beyond beauty and simplicity, but considering a context called “mine”, where the user is the real protagonist.

On the other hand, few exceptions start to point for this way, by dialoguing with users and considering them on the model, such as FidorBank or the newest Tandem.

Anyway, it’s still ahead of schedule to know if fits fintechs just the part of providing financial micro services. In any case, it is sure that regardless we seek after something that help user to decipher his time, reality and circumstances to accomplish what he needs. Possibly then, fintechs stop to be only a new and really begin entering in the user’s mind in a relevant way. Otherwise, they might be just on user’s hands.

* In collaboration with Jader Rubini and Milena Mariano.

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