When you’re deeply embedded in a particular space, it can be hard to believe there is any opportunity left to capture. Especially when you work in fintech. Networking with other industry peers and organisations can leave you blinkered.
That is of course until you come across a few industry reports, which bring you solidly back down to earth. They remind you that despite the ‘fintech is over hyped’ talk, the market really is unbelievably untapped in certain segments – namely SME banking. It’s a conversation Bernard and I have regularly. It’s also why I am extremely bullish about this sector, especially the challenger-banking component, where small, agile banks can obtain licenses that allow them to build a deposit base from which to finance their lending arms.
But if you’re not convinced, here are some stats worth considering, along with their associated sources, where you’ll find a wealth of extra information to digest.
- On average, banks can handle only 7% of products digitally end-to-end – Bain & Company – Retail Banks wake up to digital lending
- 56% of SMEs say bank online services fall short – Small Business Demands Better Digital Banking Tools
- SMEs report the highest borrower satisfaction ratings at small banks (beating out online lenders and big banks in the process) – Small Business Credit Survey
- More than 60 percent of SMEs want loans less than $100,000 – The State of Small Business Lending: Innovation and Technology and the Implications for Regulation, Harvard Business Review
- $80-$120 billion in SME lending is unmet – Global Marketplace Lending, Morgan Stanley Research
This data barely scratches the surface when it comes to detailing the opportunity in this space. The question will always be however, is if founders can wrench themselves away from the ‘glamour’ of the millennial market and entrench themselves in the messy world of small business. It’s one of those marketing and distribution problems that just gives most founders and investors headaches.
Millennials look great in pitch decks, but in my opinion, uncrowded competitive landscapes look better. Or maybe the best way to time the SME banking market is when millennials start to become proper business owners themselves. Now that would be a great story – the bank for millennial business owners. And I bet it will happen.