FinTech, BigTech, and the Future of Banks
Banks are unique in that they combine the production of liquid claims with loans. They can replicate most of what FinTech firms can do, but FinTech firms benefit from an uneven playing field in that they are less regulated than banks. The uneven playing field enables non-bank FinTech firms to challenge banks for specific products whose success is not tied to what makes banks unique, but they cannot replace banks as such. In contrast, BigTech firms have unique advantages that banks cannot easily replicate and therefore present a much stronger challenge to established banks in consumer finance and loans to small firms. Both Fintech and BigTech are contributing to a secular trend of banks losing their comparative advantage as they have less access to unique information about parties seeking credit.
I am grateful for comments from Don Chew, Harry DeAngelo, Mark Johnson, Leandro Sanz, and Amin Shams. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.