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Retail banks wake up to digital lending

Retail banks wake up to digital lending

As retail banks gradually digitalize their activities, they’ve focused largely on the most frequent customer transactions, such as checking a balance or remote deposit. Much of the lending arena, with the exception of credit cards, has taken a back seat. Recent analysis by Bain & Company and SAP Value Management Center finds that most banks have digitalized fragments of the process for marketing, selling and servicing loans. For instance, banks can handle only 7% of products digitally from end to end.

That sluggish pace of modernization leaves banks vulnerable as lending comprises more than one-third of retail bank revenue. New digital entrants, ranging from financial technology start-ups to incumbent retailers and telecommunication providers, have spotted the opportunity, and are attacking thin slices of the lending profit pool. Many of these financial technology insurgents, or fintechs, provide a better experience by focusing on the needs of specific customers—often an underserved segment. CommonBond, for instance, started with loans to lowrisk students, and OnDeck offers loans to small businesses without a long track record. These insurgents often can offer a lower price through a combination of a lower cost base to originate and service loans and better targeting and adjudication of specific risk profiles.

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