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The 9 Best Insights From The Braintrust 2020
Throughout the year, we spoke to some of the best thinkers in and around Fintech. Our goal was to the make The Braintrust interview series something like a bird's eye view of a changing industry. To wrap up 2020, we wanted to share 9 of our favorite quotes from The Braintrust series.
Bradley Leimer on how rebundling will change the way we bank:
"I do think in the next five years that you’re going to see some very, very clever companies bundling together the ability to aggregate data from multiple sources and learn from what has happened, like the model at Alibaba. Because the value adds that are going to come across from that are going to truly make relationship banking come back, but in a digital form."
Kristen Anderson on why banks won't be the innovators:
"The big thing that investors will always ask is ‘Why can’t the big banks do this?’ There’s a lot of reasons, but one reason is that they’ve built their entire infrastructure from technology to compliance to HR to management around specific P&Ls. ‘You run our mortgage product. You run our 401K product. You run our banking product.’ So, I think the next decade is really about FinTech coming together with more agility to respond to consumer changes."
Mark Suster on if venture capital still sees value in Fintech:
"VCs like to invest in disruption. Disruption via things that can be built that are fundamentally different in the future than they were in the past. They like to invest in large markets. And FinTech is amongst the largest markets that exist. So, people will continue to invest. Digitization has brought new tools and new ways of creating offerings in the market: from crypto currencies, to new tools for measuring, managing and trading your assets, to new forms of payment systems that change how businesses interact. I think you’re going to see more investment in FinTech, not less."
Dr. Jim Dahle on the challenge of building wealth with loads of student debt:
"There’s this idea that you come out of residency and you’re now a rich doctor. But the truth of the matter is, your net worth might be minus-$300,000; you’re one of the poorest people on the planet. And yet, there’s this expectation to spend, spend, spend. Before you know it, you’ve got a big fat mortgage on a big fat doctor's house and a big old car payment on a Tesla or an Audi and you haven’t actually built any wealth yet."
Theodora Lau on "Purposeful Fintech":
"If you’re a big bank and you have customers that have been coming to you, instead of you trying to make yourself look really hip and try to market to their children, why don’t you think of something that can actually help multiple generations? Things that mean something rather than just a cool UI. A cool UI does not help you solve problems; it doesn’t bring money on the table to try to pay next month’s mortgage."
Ron Shevlin on the incumbent banks not being able to quit the physical branch system:
"There’s still a lot of people in the industry who, despite the numbers that show declining numbers of branches, will say, ‘Yeah, but that’s okay. We overbuilt anyway so this is just a correction. And, you know, look at these numbers: whatever number of millennials still go into the branch.’ It’s like, yeah, they go into the branch because they have to, not because they want to!"
Richard Turrin on why China's Fintech landscape looks different:
"The difference in the China market is that back in the 2010–2014 period, it was not just little companies that got into the FinTech. Big Tech entered the FinTech game. This was a Big Tech-led charge on incumbent banks and it completely transformed what money is, how we pay, how we invest, how we buy insurance."
Lex Sokolin on crypto during moments of intervention by the Fed:
"The conventional argument would be that as output stays the same but you have more money circulating around, money would be worth less. And then you’d start having inflation. If that’s the case, then assets that are inflation hedges — such as a variety of commodities like gold and bitcoin — would rise in value relative to the currency that’s being inflated away."
Ross Fubini on how personalization can change the personal financial space:
"A lot of the opportunities going forward are going to be going deeper on a vertical. For example, a set of financial solutions and a bank partner for dentists that understands their unique needs or for doctors or for real-estate developers and home-flippers. So, what’s most interesting now is not another consumer effort that’s sort of the Dollar Shave Club of Banking. What’s most interesting is being able to get real benefit from understanding not just marketing to one group, but also being able to uniquely serve them by doing a better job in either underwriting them or preparing products for those folks."
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