The fourth annual LendIt Europe event was in London earlier this week with around 1,100 people in attendance. Here are my key takeaways, focusing mainly on the keynote sessions.
We kicked off the event with Imran Gulamhuseinwala, the Global Head of Fintech for EY and also the head of the UK’s Open Banking initiative. Open banking is mandated to arrive in January 2018 and Imran is in charge of making sure this process goes smoothly. He delivered an optimistic message saying that open banking is simply an idea whose time has come.
He made it clear that this is all for the consumer, that the consumer is at the center of open banking. He put forward the idea that making transaction level data available to innovative fintech platforms should bring more people into the financial system. There will be one API to cover all of open banking and enrolment in the open banking directory begins this Friday, October 13. He ended with a call to action. Open banking will not be a success unless the fintech platforms embrace it and seize on this new opportunity.
Next up was Jaidev Janardana, the CEO of Zopa, who put forward his vision for the future of banking. The theme for his discussion, which ended up being a theme repeated throughout the event, was that the customer needs to be the starting point for all banking products. He chided banks today for making banking a zero-sum game where the bank wins and the customer loses.
Zopa is trying to build a bank where incentives are aligned between the bank and the customer. Every bank product should be a win-win. The reality is that our bank knows so much about us but their service is not personal. It should be. Jaidev shared that Zopa intends to offer four bank products: unsecured personal loans (something they already offer in their P2P lending business), credit cards, savings accounts and auto loans.