Banks, banking and the hype of fintech: interview with Anna Omarini

How can today's banks evolve to a new digital business model? Anna Omarini provides in her latest book a nice overview of fintech and banking landscape.
Anna Omarini digital transformation and the hype of fintech Business impact new frameworks and managerial implications

Anna Omarini in her new book, “Banks and banking: digital transformation and the hype of fintech. Business impact, new frameworks and managerial implications" shows how the world of banking is changing for several reasons. The ground rules for success have altered the way customers bank. New financial service providers, namely fintech, are going beyond customer-facing applications and services to include all elements of the financial services production process.

What inspired you to write this newest book?

The main reason I wrote this book was because, about 3 years ago, I asked if I could develop and teach a new Course on these same topics. The idea came to me after many years that I had been developing my personal knowledge on the evolving landscape of technology in finance. In such a situation I had to decide where to start from and how to develop my syllabus.

There were, and still are, plenty of different sources of information (articles, papers, reports, books, news, etc) from many different stakeholders. Each one gives you a piece of their interest and knowledge, but the picture is more complex and dynamic ... it is a puzzle which changes over time.

There are people emphasising technology, while others stress the beauty of improving the customer experience and filling the gap of satisfaction between banks and customers. Others, are highlighting the disruptive forces of FinTech into the financial services industry, etc.

I have always been interested in seeking for the big picture, by taking different perspectives and developing a critical approach towards the new and old.

I wanted to develop a book with an interdisciplinary approach and a critical thinking perspective. I hoped I could provide the reader with tools to understand the present and develop a forward looking approach, rooted in new and old rules to manage financial services.

What is the biggest challenge traditional banks face in their move to become a 'digital bank'?

I think the primary biggest challenge for a bank is a cultural change, which requires a strong commitment from the top to the bottom of the organisation. However, this also means understanding what is your own digital way more than becoming a true "digital bank".

Moving forward, I believe their issue will be that of developing a strong, differentiated, and resilient strategy.

Are fintech and challenger banks (as opposed to traditional banks) better positioned for the future?

I think there is no single answer (yes or no) to your question. Instead, I think many are still looking for their market position and should work hard to develop their proper one correctly.

Right now, everybody is thrown into the market of "being chosen"; UX, low price etc. are good goals to achieve but they might not be enough over time.

What is the biggest change we are going to see in banking in the next 5 years?

The biggest change will come from open banking and its evolving stages and steps in the industry of finance.

What is real and what is hype in fintech?

I would say the real side of the FinTech hype is that they are here to stay . This is due to their power of innovating, developing new business, overtaking legacy systems and changing the way banking and finance will be developed and rooted into the real economy as well as everyday consumer life.

What effect do you see Brexit having on the UK fintech? and on the European fintech market?

I do not see impactful effects in the near future. Both the UK and European neighbours will need to maintain a set of competitive features, and actually they both work on this goal. FinTechs are a great opportunity. First, they boost innovation on both sides of the market , real economy and financial system. Secondly, making different skills and generations work together.

How do you hope this book will help to improve the banking and the fintech industry?

I do hope my book can help anyone looking to understand what happens in banking and FinTech, beyond the hype and everyday innovations. On a daily basis, news are showing us the latest innovations, and consequently we all find ourselves unable to be updated enough.

I do hope this book will give everybody the chance to view the big picture, therefore moving away and "not to see the forest from the trees"!

Currently the book is available for purchase online at Amazon.