I’m back! Apologies for missing a few weeks of the newsletter, I’ve been traveling for the past few weeks, spending some time in Paris, Toronto, and New York. I promise I’m back on schedule again :).
2018 seems to be the year for everyone launching full-service digital banking. I wrote earlier this year about the fact that various consumer fintech applications are starting to re-bundle and converge in regards to the product offerings available. Whether it’s SoFi getting into the savings game, Robinhood offering crypto + looking at other financial products, Venmo + Square offering debit cards, etc everyone is really starting to build out their brands + vision around financial services.
And let’s not count out the banks! In just the past couple of weeks, Chase (finally) decided to roll out their millennial focused digital bank account, while Citi also just announced a new digital wealth management offering. I would argue that these product roll outs could potentially one of the most “disruptive” products we’ve seen from these two financial institutions.
At a very basic level, a truly digital, branch-less bank account offers the ability to open a bank account…online. While this may sound like a feature that should have been offered years ago, the amount of work it takes for a bank to change and shift their entire back office to support must have been tremendous. It also opens up a huge new channel for digital acquisition via app store discovery, targeting advertising, re-targeting, etc.
That being said, it also requires a very completely different skillset + technology base. I wouldn’t be surprise if the banks start to acquire some fintech teams with deep industry expertise in order to further jumpstart these programs. Meanwhile, it will be super interesting to see how all the various neo-bank consumer fintech applications respond with these new, large entrants.