Finance trend: Social Value

This blog post is a Trendwolves & B-Hive collaboration. 

Part I - Fintech is about more than convenience
Part II - And why that’s essential for Millennials
Part I - Fintech is about more than convenience

By Frédéric Olivier (B-Hive)

Aaah, Fintech. Making our Western-daily-lives even more easy and more efficient. We don’t need to go to our bank branch around the corner to pay our bills, and why bother leaving your house for some shopping when everything can be ordered and paid for online? Thank God, we’ve got Fintech.

But Fintech is about much more than convenience and first world problems. The Indian government, has used Fintech on a massive scale to make financial services available for the previously unbanked. Platforms and technology such as Aadhar (digital identification), Jan Dhan Yojnana (payment banks which hold money but don’t do lending) and India Stack (store and share personal data online) allow citizens to open bank accounts, transfer money instantly and lend wisely. By mid 2016, 270 million bank accounts had been opened.

Making financial services available for the previously unbanked is an important step towards lifting people out of poverty. Without access to a bank account, you are doomed to be part of the informal economy and live your life in the shadows.

Today, only 2.2 billion adults of the 4.7 billion have a bank account. That leaves 2.5 billion adults (53%) unbanked, of which 88% is living in a developing country.

But most of these adults do own a phone or smartphone, and since GAFAA is putting a lot of effort in bringing internet to the most remote areas, the opportunities for Fintech are growing and growing strong.

Another great example is MPesa. This Kenyan payment app, founded in 2007, allows customers to deposit money to their mobile phone account, to withdraw money to others, to pay their bills, check their balance… M-Pesa is being used by 19 million Kenyan adults which is almost 90% of its adult population. And there’s more:

-Jana, enabling mobile connectivity in emerging markets by leveraging advertising to offset high data costs

-Ewala, a Belgian startup which makes it possible to send airtime credit to prepaid phones all over the world,

-Taqanu, a soon-to-be ‘bank for all’, using a block chain based digital ID to enable financial inclusion and create equal opportunities.

Due to the lack of structural development and poor infrastructure in certain rural areas, Fintech was allowed to make its market entry much easier and faster. What is perceived a commodity in the developed world, might be considered sheer necessity by large numbers of people elsewhere. This explains why Fintech is more integrated in countries like India than in European countries.

Nevertheless, we are still missing out on a lot of economic potential by not fully providing these countries with the financial services they require. Approximately 200 million MSME’s (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) are financial unserved, having no bank account or access to credit lending. Not being able to borrow prevents companies to expand, to create more jobs, or… ultimately paying their fair share of taxes. Also, providing credit to individuals in developing countries may help them take care of high health- and educational expenses.

The potential economic impact of Fintech in developing countries is enormous. According to McKinsey, the GDP could boost with $3.7 trillion by 2025 (a 6% increase), creating 95 million jobs and serving 1.6 billion new individuals.

In short; by bringing Fintech to unbanked areas, there’ll be more jobs for better educated and healthier people, increased GDP and tax income which will lead to a general economic growth and potential better social welfare.  


Part II - …And why that’s essential for Millennials

By Maarten Leyts, Trendwolves
It’s no coincidence that Ewala, one of the a forementioned start-ups, is the brain child of two Millennials: Stephane Ugeux and Sinouhe Monteiro. Millennials believe that they can and must make the world a better place. Sounds cheesy to older generations, but for youngsters saving the world is a necessity, it’s about their own survival.
Youngsters are very aware of the fact that their own actions affect the world around them, and that even their very small contributions can make a difference if combined with the small contributions of others. The next big thing will be a lot of small things, that idea.
How can we design our lives in a way that benefit both society and the planet? By supporting businesses with that exact purpose. According to a study by trend agency Elite Daily, 75% of Millennials find it very important that a company gives back to society. Brands that invest in sustainability and in local communities, brands that create social and ecological value instead of squandering it, are today’s winners.
Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2010) goes even further than Gen Y (born between 1980 and 1994). The latter supports businesses with a cause, the first starts or wants to found them. For the youngest generation, Elon Musk is THE example: founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, Space X, Solar City & OpenAI combines entrepreneurship, success (= money) and purpose.

By stressing the social value of Fintech, the sector might gain more attention and approval from Millennials. By getting beyond mere convenience, the sector might attract dedicated employees, entrepreneurs, clients and users.  Lots to gain. What’s to lose?