For your right, to FinTech! I’m sure the Beastie Boys are grateful I wasn’t helping them write lyrics but, lately, FinTech – and tech generally – feels like a struggle. We’re seeing clashes of people, businesses, and governments on the best of use technology and how it works in our day-to-day lives.
We’re living in a time where we celebrate and discuss the promise of a completely decentralized, digital currency and, simultaneously, a world where even the richest country in history has little to offer low-income works but payday loans. This week we look at the battle for the future of financial services and FinTech.
Beastie Boys Source: N4G.com
Supreme Court of India Judgement, Rethinking Privacy and FinServ
“This is certainly a landmark judgement and in some ways can claim to be the re-birth of privacy. In a digital world it was assumed that privacy has been sacrificed at the altar of convenience. But the court has upheld an individual’s right to his privacy providing him means to protect it and hence re-introduced a principle which seemed lost in the digital world.”
As Nietzsche said, “Data privacy is dead”, so now it’s time to figure out the path forward.
We’re just beginning to understand the impact of our digital, online, connected world. Many write off older generations as luddites, laggards, and people who just “don’t get it” – that is tech or the future of FinTech. (Note: I was surprised to learn there were other generations of people beside millennials.) On a more serious note, it’s beneficial to have those who lived in a world before mass data collection to help shape the direction of privacy and data ethics. I was pleased to see the technical aspects of the Court’s ruling as well.
We must not forget that we’re constantly pushing to a new territory with vast, growing data sets of personal data we haven’t always known how to protect (or even access). The decisions around how data can be used for banking, credit, and FinTech isn’t merely academic; it greatly influences business, personal lives, and the future of how we transact with each other. We should certainly embrace change and realize the benefits of fantastic technologic breakthroughs but that’s a struggle that will last decades. On second thought, perhaps it wasn’t Nietzsche, I’m sure Siri can tell me.
“Postal banking is an old idea whose utility for America has returned. We should bring it back, updated for the 21st century. It represents a big solution to two major problems Americans face today: first, and most importantly, low-income communities are seriously “underbanked.””
There is plenty of discussion of financial service change (disruption?) and the future of incumbents large and small. One assumption this conversation leverage, at least in the US, is banking services should remain completely in the hands of the private sector. To be clear, I’m not advocating either way right now but it’s certainly useful to ask the question.
Blair Reeve’s article on (re)introducing postal banking as a potential solution to underbanked consumers, saving the U.S. Postal Service, and changing the FinTech landscape is worth your consideration. Rightly so, private banks and credit unions have a difficulty figuring out how to be best serve low-income and underbanked clients and keep a sustainable business model. It’s one of FinTech’s promises to help expand the customer base through data but how long will it take and at what expense? Are financial institutions truly incentivized to serve these customers? Perhaps tech isn’t the answer to reach every customer but rather how we structure our financial system.