Shruti Khandare, Head of Marketing & PR, MyFundBazaar

A model turned lifestyle influencer, Shruti Khandare has a lot of feathers to her cap be it winning Miss Cochin 2010, Miss Kerala First Runners Up 2011, Miss South India 2013 & placed in top 25 of Miss India 2014. She has even judged various fashion shows like Milan Fashion Show at the SRM University 2013 & Navy Queen Karwar 2013 along with inaugurating the coveted Kalyan Silks Showroom at Calicut. Shruti is the brainchild behind the branding, marketing & positioning of MyFundBazaar – an online mutual fund investment platform that provides you with smart digital financial advice and scientific portfolio allocation. She presently heads the Marketing & PR of MyFundbazaar along with creating unique finance-related content for her 81,000 followers on Instagram.

 

The “new normal” in banking and fintech is best understood by starting with a look back at what the “old normal” was.

The relevance of the link between sustainability, finance, and technology has been evident by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, which has urged all countries to re-think the models traditionally deployed and rely more on futuristically advanced technology and holistic sustainability. The pandemic has driven an accelerated demand for contactless payment worldwide. In India, more consumers are adopting digital payments in their daily lives. Moreover, the collaboration and partnership between digital wallets and virtual banks will continue to help develop an ecosystem of smarter financial services in India & beyond. During COVID-19, one of the biggest trends globally was the surge in consumer participation in financial markets, many for the first time.

FinTechs have already started to fill the financial inclusion gap – providing services to the unbanked people, enabled by information and communications technologies and new business models. Nevertheless, as FinTechs are innovative but inherently unpredictable, customers are still hesitant to adopt and use it, affecting its growth. Uncertainty is more critical in FinTech than in traditional e-banking because FinTech transactions are more complicated and less predictable.

When faced with uncertainty, psychologically many consumers react by thinking about how to protect their wealth and how to potentially grow it. With banks paying little to no interest on their savings, many consumers instead turned to investing. Speaking from the MyFundBazaar perspective, keeping the unprecedented times in mind, the tilt in consumer behaviour boiled down to these 3 factors – the luxury of time, so consumers thought more carefully about how to manage their finances while working from home ; uncertain economic outlook, with customers looking to new channels to invest in the face of Covid-led market fluctuations ; technological progression, meaning all consumers could open an account and quickly start investing on their smartphones or online. 

Sustainability is currently becoming the most pressing topic of our own and our children’s generation. The transformation to a more sustainable economy requires enormous investments. The financial sector, as an intersection for capital allocation, is to play a major role in promoting sustainability and sustainable management. At the same time, the management of ecological and social risk factors becomes increasingly a prerequisite for a resilient company and, therefore, a factor of utmost importance for the financial system as a whole. However, traditional investment criteria may not adequately cover these risks because of the long-term character of the environment, resources or climate change impacts. 

While the financial services industry was able to weather the digital tsunami and continue its operations, it has become clear that the winds of change are not transient. Financial institutions are now thinking strategically about their technical setup and questioning whether the tools that they have previously relied on are the right ones to use going forward. Modernising dated core systems will be imperative as 2020 was a year that put the financial infrastructure to the test & challenged existing architecture planning assumptions. Many of the core systems had not been architected to address the volume and pace of change that was suddenly required, and dated core systems struggled under the added weight. Additionally, the role of cash in society was in flux before 2020, with contactless payments already a way of life across Europe and Asia. Even in India, which has been resistant to move away from cash, 27% of Indian businesses reported an increase in contactless payments by customers as a result of the pandemic, according to an April 2020 survey. That trend will continue in 2021, with 74% of global consumers saying they will use contactless payment methods even after the pandemic. On a global scale, the contactless payment market size is expected to grow from $10.3 billion in 2020 to $18 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7%. This trend toward contactless finances extends to banking as well. It goes to say that in 2020, 44% of retail banking customers relied on mobile apps to conduct business. Both traditional players and financial tech firms introduced new finance apps or upgraded existing ones to offer new services and programs to match consumer needs. As downloads of mobile apps soared, transaction volumes skyrocketed. In 2021, the financial services industry will likely continue to invest in modern data and analytics tools, artificial intelligence capabilities, and digital platforms. FinTech has certainly changed the way people think about money and value exchange in a real-time, digital world “Cashless” businesses are popping up around the everywhere, forcing reluctant consumers to adopt the habit of digital transactions and governments to discuss whether it is discriminatory or simply progress – IoT, AI, blockchain and cloud computing are some of the technologies driving change in how consumers interact with those they purchase from and how they manage their money. Although traditional financial services players may consider FinTech a disruptor of their industry, those that are embracing technology innovation are transforming the industry from the outside in, and succeeding in areas traditional players have failed in. FinTech companies are now leading the industry and are creating a wide range of new financial products and services, with the purpose of making money management easier and more effective.

To conclude, FinTech organisations, mainly startups, are reshaping the financial services industry, offering customer-oriented services that combine “speed and flexibility, backed by forward-looking strategies, and cutting-edge business models.” While advancements in the area of FinTech have been happening at lightning speed, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible and likely to happen in the next few years. It is no exaggeration to say that FinTech is literally changing our lives and habits by making it easy to trade, bank, and exchange money without the need for physical human interaction. However, the financial sector has a few challenges to overcome, especially in the regulatory and data protection space, to win consumer trust and for FinTech to truly overtake the market. With big data, blockchain, AI and so many other tech advances already in use or on the horizon, business leaders are advised to seek opportunities and adopt FinTech applications in their own business models to win tomorrow’s consumers.

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