Power to the People

Fintech Is Challenging the Status Quo

Fintech Generations gathers the top leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs from the fintech and insurtech industries to discuss pressing topics and facilitate a strategic networking event among attendees.

This year’s event, Return to Growth, centers on the entrance into the next Roaring 20s, a time for disruption and innovation to pave a new path forward for how we live, work, and lead.

Disruption and innovation

Everywhere you look, people are challenging the status quo. The idea that individuals—rather than institutions, corporations, or governments—have the real power to incite change is gaining momentum. The financial industry is no different.

Tyler Voss, Chief Revenue Officer of Amicus.io, joined this year’s Power to the People panel to discuss disruption and innovation amongst fintech. Moderated by Caroline Hudson of the Charlotte Business Journal, the panel also featured David Helene of Edquity and Brian Dally of GROUNDFLOOR.

As fintech companies break into the spotlight, they take a stand against the old way of business in order to make financial health and opportunities more accessible to everyday people. The status quo no longer reflects True North. Instead, fintechs are sparking change and progress.

Shift to embrace financial technology

People are looking a more frictionless experience in all that they do. Legacy technology has only met people up to a point and need thus far. Fintech companies stand in the gap to build something more relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow, while creating a frictionless and seamless experience for all parties involved.

Fintech companies spark transparency which begets trust and they enhance user experiences which sparks loyalty.

People are ready to take control rather than be controlled. This disruptive force is a sum of the frustration and loss of autonomy that many people have felt for far too long. By introducing alternatives into the market, it is clear that people are eager for something different.

Individuals over institutions

In the wake of last year, as people’s fears were setting in, economic and business sentiment was going down. Almost paradoxically, charitable giving went up by two percent. It would have been impressive if it went down marginally, so the fact that it increased was impressive in itself.

When banks and institutions were slowing down, it was individuals who accelerated the movement of charitable capital despite their own economic hardships. It demonstrates that people want to make a difference and will not wait for institutions to catch up. They are taking the power into their own hands.

It reflects the growing belief that solely relying on banks and other large institutions is outmoded. Technology can be used as a tool to motivate and organize individuals in their self-determination. People are going to make their own decisions, and technology enables them to do so in a more effective and efficient way.

Technology empowers people to connect their hard-earned capital with the places, causes, and organizations where it will be best treated.

Balancing innovation and regulation

Companies, particularly those in financial services have an obligation to protect their clients' wellbeing.

When it comes to innovation, fintech companies should look at regulation through a different lens than others. By reframing regulatory compliance from something “have to” do, and instead something they “want to” do, companies develop a record of transparency which leads to trust.

Trust lays a foundation for greater rapport, credibility, and confidence amongst stakeholders. It fosters good will between the company, its investors and clients, and the media. It also reduces the risk associated with the company, which advances its ability to prosper.

Though many debate the optimal amount of regulation, it is a complex question with a potentially simple answer: enough to keep people safe, so long as it does not stifle the creative, innovative, iterative work that so many fintech companies are dedicated to.

Simply put, regulation has not imprisoned fintech companies. It has unleashed them.

Location matters… or does it?

For decades, Silicon Valley has been synonymous with innovation and technology. However, that’s changing as other cities become startup powerhouses. Talent and bright ideas reside everywhere. It is just a matter of finding and fostering it.

COVID-19 shut down in-person work for over a year. As the focus shifts from place-based workplaces to remote or hybrid ones, there is less of a need to remain tied to Silicon Valley or New York.

Small but growing cities are paving the way for a new startup model. Charlotte is becoming a major fintech hub, while Atlanta is a unicorn powerhouse. Rather than attempting to become the next Silicon Valley, these cities are defining their own entrepreneurial ecosystem, and on their terms.

To decentralize our hubs of capital and innovation is to redistribute wealth more equitably across the country.

A future built by the people it serves

Looking forward, it is clear that people refuse to be controlled by legacy institutions. Instead, people have the power to chart a new path forward through collective action.

By elevating the voices of those who have been historically underserved, true change can occur. The future is one that is more equitable, more effective, and more reflective of the needs of the many rather than the priorities of the few.