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商业 - 科技

金融科技第三波浪潮来袭 银行服务如何变化?

Robert Hackett 2019年11月18日

自动化真是金融科技的下一个大趋势,问题在于:如何确定自动化服务能够时刻注意保护客户的最大利益?

今天以消费者为中心的“金融科技”或者说金融科技的繁荣,主要起源于2008年的全球经济崩溃。

在《财富》杂志主要报道金融和科技的交叉领域的专栏节目《Balancing The Ledger》上,金融科技初创公司Tally的首席执行官及联合创始人杰森·布朗表示,2008年的灾难发生以来金融业经历了三个独立的阶段。

第一波满足了金融危机后的需求:信贷驱动的另类贷款机构。Prosper和LendingClub等网贷和P2P平台蓬勃发展。随着希望重新学习技能的失业工人增多,也支持了Social Finance(简称SoFi)等学生贷款公司。

2007年苹果推出iPhone之后,新一波浪潮席卷了大量的移动设备。触达消费者变成行业新秀的首要目标。应用程序吸引了大量年轻一代,这代人习惯在手机屏幕上点点戳戳,而不是去银行网店办业务。

该模式仍然在如火如荼地进行。行业里最出名的包括免费信用评分提供商:Credit Karma,还有仅提供互联网服务的“新银行”,如Chime、Monzo和N26,还有Robinhood之类网络炒股工具。“这些都是简单易用的移动工具,打开工具栏就能够理财。”布朗说。

随着第二波浪潮接近高潮,第三次浪潮也开始兴起:自动化。“以后将变成智能服务的世界,真正能够做到为你思考和工作。”布朗说。“用户不必再花时间想我应该怎么做?智能服务已经根据设定目标制定好方案。”

当然了,布朗是在自我宣传。他的公司Tally可以帮助人们自动偿还信用卡债务,降低利率,也能够避免出现滞纳金。该公司还提供储蓄产品,可以自动积攒资金但不支付利息。

Tally的储蓄方法跟许多同行很不一样。业内一些竞争对手,例如高盛的Marcus、数字银行Ally,还有Betterment和Wealthfront之类的所谓机器人顾问,争相提供尽可能高收益的储蓄账户,通常约为2%。但布朗对这场比赛不感兴趣,他说。

“最重要的是客户是谁。”布朗指出Tally的目标是“中间50%的美国人”,而不是所谓的 “尚未达到富裕水平的高收入者”,其他同行都在争夺该群体。“一般的消费者不在乎每月0.3美元的利息。”他说。

如果自动化真是金融科技下一个大趋势,朝自动化方向转变就提出了问题:如何确定自动化服务能时刻注意保护客户的最大利益?

布朗建议人跟着钱走。他说,广告支持业务真正的客户是广告主,他们的利益与消费者并不相符。“最后会陷入困境,因为经常无法符合最大利益。”他说。

布朗说,Tally的业务模式中,只有为偿还信用卡债务的客户存钱时才能够赚到钱。布朗说,平均每个客户收入为15000美元,与全国平均水平差不多,Tally公司为每位客户平均节省了5000美元,不然这些钱都得支付利息。

布朗说,公司使用该商业模式再加上“可审计日志”,日志中可以看出为什么给定时间各项决策中Tally的系统都是最好的选择,就能让人们很放心。

“没有广告,没有下拉列表,也没有推荐或图表。”布朗说。“我们建立了能够提供各项服务的系统。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

The origins of today’s boom in consumer-focused “fintech,” or financial technology, trace back to the global economic meltdown in 2008.

Since that disaster struck, the industry has evolved through three discrete phases, says Jason Brown, CEO and cofounder of Tally, a fintech startup, on Balancing The Ledger, Fortune’s show covering the intersection of finance and tech.

The first wave met demands resulting from the aftermath of the financial crisis: A need for credit fueled alternative lenders. Online and peer-to-peer marketplaces, such as Prosper and LendingClub, flourished, while laid-off workers seeking to re-skill buoyed student loan providers like Social Finance, or SoFi.

The next wave swelled atop a flood of mobile devices that came after Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007. Access to consumers became the primary object for upstarts. Apps appealed to younger generations, used to flicking and tapping smartphone screens rather than visiting branch offices.

This paradigm is still in full swing. Some of its best-known champions: Credit Karma, a free credit score provider, Internet-only “neobanks” like Chime, Monzo, and N26, and online stock traders like Robinhood. “These are just really easy-to-use mobile tools that you can open up the toolbox and do your financial work,” Brown says.

Even as the second wave crests, a third is beginning to rise: Automation. “It’s going to a world where there’s an intelligent service that actually is doing that thinking and work for you,” Brown says. “Instead of you having to spend your time and figure out what should I do? It has already figured that out based on your goals.”

Brown is talking his own book, of course. His business, Tally, automates people’s credit card debt repayments, lowering their interest rates, and helping avoid late fees, the company claims. The firm also offers a savings product that automatically squirrels away funds, but pays no interest.

Tally’s approach to savings differs substantially from many of its peers. Rivals like Goldman Sachs’ Marcus, digital bank Ally, and so-called robo-advisers such as Betterment and Wealthfront are vying to offer the highest-yield savings account possible, usually around 2%. But Brown isn’t interested in that race, he says.

“What matters a lot is who your customer is,” Brown says, noting that Tally is going after “the middle 50% of Americans,” not the so-called HENRYs, or “high earners not rich yet,” a demographic over whom the others are battling. “Normal consumers, they do not care about $0.30 a month in interest,” he says.

If automation is truly fintech’s next big trend, the shift toward it raises a question: How can one be certain an automated service is keeping a customer’s best interests in mind?

Brown advises people to follow the money. Ad-supported businesses’ true customers are advertisers, he says, and their interests are ultimately misaligned with consumers’. “That puts you in a difficult situation because you’re not always going to do what’s best,” he says.

Brown says Tally is designed to make money only when it is saving money for customers who are paying back credit card debt. On average customers are $15,000 in the hole, Brown says—about the same as the national average—and Tally saves them about $5,000 on average, money they would otherwise be spending on interest.

Combine that business model with an “auditable log” tracking why each decision made Tally’s systems was the best one possible at any given time and people can rest assured they’re in good care, Brown says.

“There’s no ads, there’s no drop-downs, there’s no recommendations or charts,” Brown says. “We’ve built a system that can actually do it all for you.”

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