Sadie Keljikian, Stern Corporate Services Group

Banks are facing a serious digital threat and FinTech isn’t to blame.

Surprisingly, banks have been fairly agile in their adoption of new FinTech systems, ensuring that they are as technologically accessible as possible. However, companies with “platform capabilities” like Amazon, Alibaba and Tencent are developing services that could give banks a run for their money. Amazon already has a small business lending arm, which has distributed more than $3 billion in small business loans to over 20,000 of its merchants.

These ecommerce giants are attractive to small businesses since they promise sales and working capital assistance all under one (metaphorical) roof. The combination of service options is certainly appealing to those wishing to boost sales and secure loans, but cannot or prefer not to borrow from banks. As many experts observe, Amazon seems to want to provide virtually every service to everyone, vendors and consumers alike. Alibaba and similar sites have also made significant strides in Asia, holding 25% of unsecured consumer lending and 12% of mutual fund sales.

Banks could, potentially, partner with platform sites and take advantage of their data and the direct line they have to both businesses and consumers. The arrangement would likely benefit both sides, but whether platform sites will be willing to include banks in their transactions is yet to be seen.

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