At a recent UN meeting, CHRIS SKINNER, author and commentator from the United Kingdom, said less than one third of people around the world now have access to banking, due in part to the field being changed by new technologies.
A new theme called “fintech” integrates finance and technology, with 12,000 companies now providing services such as peer-to-peer lending. In 2018, $111 billion was invested in companies that are “rearchitecting” financial services, from Bitcoin trade to innovative lending. Growth in the industry is enormous, with one seven-year-old company started by two young men, aged 19 and 21, now valued at $20 billion. Indeed, teenagers and young people who code are changing the way financing, banking and trade are being practiced.
While new technologies are both decimating and changing financial services, more people can be reached, he said. Now, because of digital distribution, that is possible and new ways can be found to advance the 2030 Agenda. For example, new products can be renewed in minutes instead of years to deliver financial services. In fact, everything should be available all the time everywhere, he said, adding that banking should not be only for the rich. All unbanked, underbanked and underserved people must be included. The new world of finance can reach the unreachable, teach young people about financial literacy and help to protect older persons from financial predators. Finance can also be delivered by technology in a seamless manner, with individuals not limited to opening a bank account only by dealing in person with a formal institution. Going forward, the field demands new business models from new institutions in order to produce the maximum impact on the most people, with a view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.