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Titans of Finance: Digital Finance

Titans of Finance: Digital Finance | IE Business School

Digital finance expert talks about technology’s impact on banking business models.

The days of paying in cash and waiting weeks for a money transfer to process are long gone. Over 80% of retail purchases are made with cards and there are dozens of instant money transfer and payment apps available in almost every country. The digital transformation of financial services is extremely fast-paced and Nuria Aliño, a digital finance specialist who works at The World Bank Group, spoke to Master in Finance students to discuss the latest trends in this sector and share her experience.

Rather than talking about digital finance, Aliño told the IE Business School students the new term used to define the most recent trends is “ecosystem finance.” In the talk, she explored how banks are responding to the trends in ecosystem finance and trying to keep up with all the emerging fintech companies.

Some of the key learnings from Aliño’s talk were:

  • There are two main ways technologies are impacting banks: the first one is the front side, or how the bank communicates directly with the customer. The second one is the back side, or operations. Banks are moving to open banking in order to improve their processes and provide more innovative solutions to the customer.
  • Despite banks’ efforts to catch up on these trends and enhance both their front and back sides with these technologies, the ones getting the most advantage from these new digital solutions are the fintech companies. These companies are able to do all these things but at a much higher speed.
  • Banks have huge teams working on their digital transformation, searching for ways to do disruptive innovation. They build digital labs or corporate venture capital because they want to learn what is out there and how they can engage with fintech companies. They’ve realized the most efficient way to transform digitally is to develop partnerships or acquire fintech companies.

“Banks are moving from legacy finance to digital finance. Banks used to build, own, and operate absolutely every asset. Now, they build, they own, and they collaborate. By collaborating and partnering with fintechs, they are able to deliver solutions more effectively.”

Nuria Aliño, Digital Finance Specialist at The World Bank Group

Thomas Patrice, a Master in Finance student with experience in the fintech sector said he “really enjoyed Aliño’s inputs and explanations about the shift towards digital finance and fintech ecosystems, and also learned about the way banks are going to have to adjust their business model to compete in the world of tomorrow.”

He expects to apply the knowledge gained from Aliño in his current studies and future career. “I will use this knowledge in diverse classes, for example in our ‘Foundations of Banking’ class, where we analyze in-depth banks’ business models, and also in my career as I would like to work in the finance sector in the coming years.”