Alejandro Zecler
Co-CEO and Co-Founder
Mendel
/
Expert Contributor

Banking and Fintech Companies: Friends or Rivals?

By Alejandro Zecler | Mon, 06/20/2022 - 15:00

We live in a deeply digitalized world. An important part of our economies is now ruled by digital processes and the financial sector is no exception. In recent years, a new generation of companies that mix technology with finance has grown exponentially, resulting in the popular fintech industry.

From startups that process wire transfers, foster mobile payments, and create software for large corporations, entrants in the financial technology space are driving rapid change, ranking Mexico second for investments in this business model in Latin America. It is a model that has transformed the financial ecosystem through artificial intelligence solutions, blockchain, and robotics.[1]

However, like other disruptive trends, these new financial actors have faced resistance as banking has historically been more resistant to change; and while finance executives recognize the potential of emerging technologies, many companies still struggle to come up with innovative strategies to keep pace with fintech solutions and adapt to the ever-evolving business environment.

So, are fintechs rivals to banks?

This is not a yes-no question. In countries such as Mexico – with low financial access – the answer would be yes; fintechs have responded to increasing demand for financial services not provided by the traditional financial sector, therefore targeting the banks’ clients. On the other hand, there are solutions that have helped the financial sector to digitize and democratize financial access for both users and companies. There are also fintech companies with services that cannot be provided by banks.

As you can see there are no wrong answers but collaboration is key for the Mexican financial ecosystem to flourish. Banks in Mexico have a strong and resilient presence, allowing them to build a trustworthy ecosystem. However, they do not behave like tech companies and they are slower to respond to the market’s demand in comparison to fintechs. It is precisely this agility that makes these companies more attractive and allows them to offer flexible, innovative, and secure products.

Technological infrastructure is a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive financial system. Finding common ground and building synergies to offer more efficient financial services to customers and companies is crucial, particularly through business products that solve specific pain points and mix the scope of the traditional banks with the technological strength of fintechs. This will only result in a wider and more valuable financial offering.

In a complex economic context, cooperation between financial players can only bring benefits to customers and companies but also for Mexico’s development. At the end of the day, betting on the modernization of the financial sector is a competitive and intelligent economic decision.

 

[1] BID, Finnovista. 2022. Fintech in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Consolidated Ecosystem for Recovery. Available at: https://publications.iadb.org/es/fintech-en-america-latina-y-el-caribe-un-ecosistema-consolidado-para-la-recuperacion

Photo by:   Alejandro Zecler