2017 proved to be another action-filled year for the fintech industry. New sectors like blockchain, robo-advice, and insurtech gained prominence while stringent regulations meant the industry went into a self-enforced consolidation phase and M&A was the order of the day. Legacy banks showcased their financial muscle by gobbling up fintech startups to enhance their technology quotient resulting in a level playing field for both. But what does 2018 hold? Nobody knows for sure, but this is what the pundits and industry leaders are expecting.
2018 Predictions for Alternative Lending and Fintech
Renaud Laplanche (former Lending Club CEO and Upgrade co-founder) believes the barren run with regard to lending origination levels will soon be over and the end of 2018 will see it reach the lofty heights of previous years. Consumer loans are one segment where he believes demand will remain high and online lending will accelerate over the next 15 months. Along with this, he predicts the long-awaited secondary market for online loans will develop substantially.
He also believes a host of new tech will deliver a ‘Online Lending 2.0’ ecosystem. This includes cloud computing, big data, and a blockchain protocol.
As for 2018 predictions, most of their predictions revolve around cryptocurrency and blockchain. This is understandable considering cryptocoins are the most revolutionary thing right now. Apart from that, one prediction that caught our eye was the acquisition of Lending Club at a bargain price. Just like previous predictions, they have left #10 empty for “big surprise.”
PwC (fintech predictions by Henri Arslanian, the firm’s FinTech and RegTech lead for China and Hong Kong): A couple of noteworthy predictions are mentioned here. First, RegTech – a wave of consolidation ahead? He believes RegTech will help companies deal better with regulatory obligations. In the bigger scheme of things, it will help reduce the cost and risk associated with the sector. He also feels that lack of dominant players in this segment will lead to further consolidation.
Another prediction involves banks embracing fintech – the end of innovation teams? With senior management at banks gaining deep insight about fintech, it is widely expected that banks will ditch innovations teams and deal directly with businesses.
Inc42 believes consumer lending will be a major force in 2018. Predictions were made keeping in mind the Indian market. They believe alternative lending will experience a boom as more startups will crop up to help the underserved and unserved.
They also predict the rise of insurtech. They believe there will be a greater degree of product customization on the back of solid consumer data and analytics. Apart from this, they predict a surge in investments in emerging technologies as government and regulatory bodies also push for fintech.
The Memo asked a panel of 12 financial technology experts how they expect the industry to shape up in 2018. A few of those predictions are listed below, compiled by senior reporter Oliver Smith.
- Daniel Kjellen (CEO and co-founder of Tink, a finance app that continually analyses customer spending) believes new regulations at the beginning of next year will open up the retail banking market, which will benefit banks as well as customers. He also believes first-mover advantage will be critical. Account aggregation and payment initiation are two innovations banks will target first after striking partnerships with fintech.
“In 2018, we will say goodbye to the service formerly known as banking.”
- Alastair Lukies CBE (Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Fintech and a Partner at Motive Partners, a financial technology investment fund) thinks regulatory compliance will be the most important thing next year, and that is why he believes large financial institutions will spend big on regulatory compliance as well as on technology that will help them tackle complex regulations. This will in turn help to drive innovation in the RegTech field.
“I think RegTech, using technology to simplify the process of being compliant with regulation, will become very important over the next year.”
- Anne Boden (CEO and founder of Starling Bank, the upstart UK challenger bank expanding into the rest of Europe beginning with Ireland) believes 2018 will be a big year for artificial intelligence (AI). Right now, banks use AI to improve their own processes and to drive efficiencies. She reckons that 2018 will see them use AI to help customers make better money-related decisions.
“The interaction method, chatbots, and voice will become secondary – building a culture and technology that is centered around helping customers will become the priority.”
- Lachlan Heussler (managing director of Spotcap Australia and NZ) believes the need for innovation and the advent of PSD2/Open Banking will be the reason the industry witnesses an increase in collaboration across the board. He also believes the demand for top talent will intensify, with bank, fintechs, and large companies all trying to attract the right talent.
A report by McKinsey estimates the total annual external investment in AI was $8B to $12B in 2016, with machine learning attracting nearly 60% of that investment. Therefore, he trusts companies will be motivated to adopt machine learning aggressively for tracking customer behavior, for market analysis, or calculating risk.
- Charles Clinton (CEO and co-founder of EquityMultiple, a platform built for modern investors that connects accredited individuals with pre-vetted, high-yield commercial real estate investments from top companies) gave his predictions about the real estate crowdfunding industry. He believes “many companies are using pre-JOBS Act regulations and the push to open access to non-accredited investors has been driven almost entirely by Reg A+.” He also believes the industry is entering a combination of growth and maturation phase. There will be a lot of consolidation, and only tried and tested business models will survive.
We will have to wait a year to see how accurate these predictions are. We have tried to provide the best possible outlook on different verticals of fintech industry through these forecasts. One thing for sure is that 2018 will be an interesting year for the fintech and alternative lending.
Written by Heena Dhir.