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Dawn of the neo bank

Globally, a vast army of neo banks are targeting all sorts of consumer and small-business niches – from millennial investors to dentists and franchise owners – and emerging as a huge threat to traditional financial institutions. Some experts think that, by 2025, up to 40% of financial institutions’ collective revenue could be at risk from new digital competition. This seems plausible as there are an estimated 5,000 startups worldwide offering new and traditional financial services (up from 2,000 just 3 years ago). Moreover, venture capitalists poured USD 2.9 billion into neo banks in the first 9 months of 2019 (as compared to USD 2.3 billion in all of 2018). Underlying this explosion is new infrastructure that makes starting a neo bank cheap and easy as well as a rising generation that prefers to do everything from their phones and the fact that a startup can launch with as little as USD 500,000 in capital. While it remains to be seen how the landscape will look in the next 5-10 years, it is a certainty that traditional financial institutions are under more attack than ever before and need to respond if they plan on keeping their customer bases.

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