The largest banks and financial services firms are more open to collaboration with fintech startups than many observers might assume, according to executives from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE: HSBC), Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) and Early Warning who spoke Tuesday at the 2018 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards.
Edward Achtner, HSBC’s head of digital in the U.S., said the international bank views work with fintech companies as partnerships. HSBC’s digital advancements are such that customers have transferred as much as $1 billion using a mobile device, Achtner told moderator Asael Meir of CohnReznick during a panel discussion.
HSBC’s strategy is to look “very much over the horizon to understand where we can participate,” Achtner said.
Solving Pain Points With Fintech
JPMorgan began studying the fintech industry around the same time as the inaugural Benzinga Fintech Awards, said Melissa Feldsher, head of the bank’s Finn by Chase mobile banking app.
Fintech companies have proven successful in solving specific customer pain points in banking, Feldsher said.
“We as large banks created a lot of those pain points for customers and we did not make it easy to do business with us.”
Lou Anne Alexander, president of payments at Early Warning, said the complexity and continually shifting nature of identity authentication means the firm is open to any tool or service that could improve its work in fraud and risk management.
Early Warning launched the payments network Zelle in 2017 and later added person-to-person functionality.
Citi’s fintech philosophy ties to helping customers hit their banking goals and achieve financial wellness, said Ray Tamblyn, the bank’s director of fintech.
“What tools do we give customers so they can [reach] those daily small achievements, feel good about themselves and gain momentum to change their financial behavior?”
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Asael Meir of CohnReznick, left; Melissa Feldsher of JPMorgan; Edward Achtner of HSBC; Ray Tamblyn of Citi; and Lou Anne Alexander of Early Warning during a panel discussion at the Benzinga Fintech Awards on May 15, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Mandar Parab.
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