The financial services industry has traditionally been one of the most technology-intensive industries. But the speed of technology change, and the business developments this has fostered, has left many companies even in financial services floundering and struggling in the face of a rapidly changing landscape.
In the past few years we have seen the emergence of what has become known as “Fintech”, or financial technology companies. Fintech start-ups, as well as a few incumbents' financial providers, are today characterized by an agile, data-driven analytics approach to financial services. Companies include those such as StreetShare, which offers peer-to-peer lending for small businesses, or TradeRiver which provides an online platform for cross-border financial transactions. Underpinning much of the success of fintech companies is a renewed focus on the user and customer experience.
New players such as Square and Lending Club have a very different approach to technology and creating compelling user experiences, than their traditional banking competition.