Roughly two billion people in the word are “unbanked,” or do not use a traditional financial institution to transfer, store or access their funds.
That’s a staggering number for 2019, and a statistic that needs to be remedied in order to fix issues of financial empowerment and equality around the world.
Fintech (financial technology) is one of the solutions to this problem, allowing those without access to bank accounts to start securely storing their liquid assets and building credit. And it’s only one of the benefits fintech has to offer.
At Sunrise, we see amazing potential in fintech to serve communities locally and around the globe. In particular, we envision the technology assisting underserved clients who don’t have access to traditional banking services.
Here’s a snapshot of our hopes for fintech and what impact we’d like the technology to create.
Accessibility for All Consumers
Sunrise Banks CEO David Reiling makes it clear that potential use cases for fintech are numerous, but says creating greater access for all consumers is what he hopes for most.
“Any innovation that makes financial services more accessible, convenient, easy to use and done so at a fair price is what I’d like to see,” says Reiling.
So what does that mean? How does greater accessibility thanks to fintech look? Well, it could be a number of things. For one, it could be as simple as allowing someone to transfer funds on their iPhone instead of heading to the bank.
It could also mean using TrueConnect, an application that Sunrise supports, which allows employees to easily apply for small-dollar loans to cover unexpected expenses. Sunrise administers the loan, while TrueConnect provides an easy-to-use application on the front end.
Fintechs should “figure out where customers aren’t being served and create solutions to address that customer need,” said Sunrise Director of Innovation and Strategic Alignment Mark Gabriel.
We’ve talked about Robo Advisors before. These are automated systems that act as financial advisors to clients. Robo Advisors are beneficial because they’re convenient, and likely cheaper than traditional financial planning services.
Reiling sees fintech taking this technology a step further, and envisions an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that would allow consumers to interact with a hologram that answers financial questions.
“The AI system would know their financial information and be able to ask, plan and strategize in real time for their specific situation,” he said.
Does this seem crazy? It shouldn’t. Robots are already being used in a number of settings, including the classroom.”
Reiling also talked about how fintech could help banks on the back end. He hopes for AI that could analyze a bank’s entire data set and then develop strategic business plan recommendations based on that information.
Creating Financial Empowerment
At Sunrise, we ultimately see fintech as a means to create a positive impact on the banking world, for both consumers and financial institutions. The technology should provide better access to financial services, more affordable banking options, and convenience for consumers.
But most of all, we hope these advances will allow formerly unbanked customers to obtain the services they need to become financially empowered.
Learn more about Sunrise’s fintech partnerships here.