Love at Third Sight

Providers of innovative financial technology ("Fintechs") were unable to gain a sustainable foothold in the B2B market in 2018. Although Fintechs and banks have come closer together in their cooperation, the persistently difficult market environment continues to present challenges for both players. This is the result of this year's B2B-Fintech study "Love at Third Sight", conducted by CMS Germany and ING Germany together with FINANCE Research.

Shared customer, full potential

For Fintechs and banks, having access to customers remains the most valuable asset. The realization that a shared customer can be a valuable customer for both sides is increasingly gaining acceptance. Cooperation models between fintechs and banks do not yet follow a fixed scheme however, product partnerships, white labeling solutions or platform co-operations have prevailed till date. The flexibility that fintechs have in terms of taking over additional parts of the value chain also offers further potential for cooperation. Often times, very little attention is paid to the legal side of a cooperation: fintechs that act as service providers for banks, fall within the scope of the normal banks regulations; fintechs owned by banks are additionally subject to group policies.

‘Thinking outside the box’ as key success factor

Banks learn from fintechs and in some cases even become one themselves: they create digital hubs in order to establish their own development expertise, demonstrate their digital competence and improve their own understanding of the market and technology. At the same time, they analyse the potential of fintechs, who usually work in agile structures compared to the traditionally hierarchical working environment at banks. "Looking beyond one’s own nose is also crucial for success when it comes to agility," says Andreas Becker, Head of Corporate Clients & Public Clients at ING in Germany. "For us, agility is a way of thinking and a philosophy. It helps us to adapt the bank's offering more quickly to changes in the market and, thus, to serve the needs of our customers faster and more efficiently".

Make or Buy?

Banks typically do not have their own fintech strategy. The way we deal with them is rather embedded in the bank's digitization strategy. This means that banks are faced with the central question of "make or buy" when it comes to fintech. When initiating a cooperation, fintechs have to convince the doubters and naysayers in the banks. Once this hurdle has been overcome, the next task awaits - to persuade the corporate clients account managers to place the offer with the customer. Fintechs often compete with the bank's internal product units, all which in turn are competing for the attention of the sales department.

The study provides information on how banks and Fintechs can join forces. Enjoy reading!


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