- focus to shift toward settlements
- calls on fintechs to look beyond processing payments to grow
After years of modest evolution, the banking fraternity and its ‘playbook’, as we know it, will experience significant changes in the near future – propelled by developments brought about by fintechs, as many retail banking entities will evolve to become predominantly settlement franchises.
This is according to the Managing Director of Zeepay, Andrew Takyi-Appiah, who says that while inevitable these developments should be welcomed, as they will only serve to deepen the financial ecosystem.
Baring these thoughts in an exclusive interview the B&FT he said: “By 2023, most retail bank franchises will become settlement franchises; whereby they focus more on partnerships and settlements rather than an active retail drive… slowly the banking fraternity and its playbook are being redefined and new models are being shaped”.
Cash pick up through banks, he suggested in an earlier prediction, will decline by as much as 50% this year; adding that digital termination of remittances will record, at least, 30% in growth over 2020. “Retail banking will experience a decline in transactions for lending, remittance and savings, and peak at about eighty percent across the industry,” he said.
He however added that inasmuch as fintechs have evolved from partnering retail banks to challenging them – especially on the low-income and often financially-excluded front – it would be premature to assume that fintechs will cannibalise banks in the near future, as they will continue to play complementary roles in varying capacities.
While affirming that local fintechs have barely scratched the surface in terms of innovation, he added that they must endeavour to operate along the entire spectrum of the financial service delivery chain and not limit themselves solely to the payment end, as this could lead to a crowding out of the segment and a stifling of innovation.
According to him, although payment processing has served as the bread and butter for fintechs in the country – and is largely responsible for the rapid growth the sub-sector has experienced over the course of the last half-decade, fintceh firms, particularly startups, must be wary of jumping on the bandwagon without exploring available options.
Touching on the mindset required to drive the future of fintechs, Mr. Takyi-Appiah stated that this approach might appear to be a safe and even prudent route to take, but it is a road littered with the relics of many firms which would have succeeded if they had been more innovative. He said this as he bemoaned what he described as the ‘me-too’ strategy.
“The groundwork for the future of fintechs has been laid, from an infrastructure and regulatory perspective. One challenge that persists is what I call the me-too syndrome or strategy; whereby everyone wants to get in on the same bit of action… but if we move from the me-too strategy, all of a sudden we can have a wide array of applications for fintech,” he explained.
As an example, the Zeepay MD pointed to the opportunities abounding in the burgeoning area of managing regulatory processes within the financial industry through technology, known as Regulation Technology, or Regtech.
He also mentioned insurance technology (insuretech) and the rise of bite-sized, tailored micro-insurance products as viable options with high growth potentials. “It is about being able to see a food chain that is multi-faceted, as opposed to one of those ecosystems wherein everybody does the same thing; that’s the path we need to tread on this journey,” he said.
In a similar vein, he argued that a comparable principle applies not only to products but also customer engagement, adding that operators of fintechs must always be cognisant of the dynamics of their active and potential clientele, as similar persons or groups can across – and within – communities can be very similar yet very different.
“This will help them see that a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing does not cut it anymore, as a market can be simultaneously mature and immature.”
While predicting that the value of remittances to the country will rise to some US$4billion, Mr. Takyi-Appiah stated: “New challengers will emerge to drive the inclusive agenda, and Zeepay will lead and drive that growth”.