Lots to unpack from last week, let's start with Navient's acquisition of Earnest.
Earnest, An Online Student Lender, Bought By Navient For $155 Million
In a $155 million acquisition, Earnest has been bought by Navient. Earnest, a fintech startup focused on student lending, sees this as an imperative opportunity to grow. Louis Beryl, Founder and CEO of the startup, elaborates: "By pairing Earnest’s technology, innovation, and data-driven approach with Navient’s reach and resources, we can affect change at incredible scale."
Barclays US tests personal finance tool
Barclays is working with MX to deliver PFM to their customers on a trial basis. Jeremy Takle, Managing Director of Barclays US, reveals the motivation to move forward: “Our goal of building the premier direct bank in the US is driven by the principle that we believe banks should help customers get more out of their finances, for less effort.”
Credit fintechs will wither, but small-business lending will prosper
The partnering between fintech companies and banks may see an increase in activity due to the current economic climate, says Alenka Grealish of Celent. The market, though at times unpredictable in the past, indicates that more collaboration is near: "The market is ripe for consolidation and beneficial partnerships. Indeed, the remainder of 2017 and 2018 will see more partnerships between the banks and fintechs."
Innovation vexing for banks and fintechs alike
It's obvious that innovation in banking has struggled through the years because of a number of different factors. Antiquated processes employed by some of the largest businesses in the the world have often found themselves the punchline of a joke in today's digital world. Though at times frustrating, Penny Crosman validates the learning curve within bank innovation: "Compliance red tape. Legacy technology. Bureaucratic cultures. The impediments to bank innovation were a recurring theme at the Frontiers in Digital Finance conference at Columbia Business School on Monday. They are valid, and we've written about them many times."
Venture capitalists are betting big on real estate tech
With the success that fintech has had creating a consumer-centric banking experience, venture capitalists are now pouring money into tech to change the real estate experience. Becky Peterson of Business Insider says that 2007 had everything to do with real estate tech's fallout and most recent resurgence: "While the Great Recession did a lot of harm to the US real estate market, start ups in the sector are finally making a come back. Real estate technology companies are finally getting some major attention from venture capitalists."
Millennials Are Ready For AI To Take Over Their Financial Lives
Millennials this, Millennials that. Banks are invested in the generation next in line to bring revenue for the coming decades. So much so in fact that Millennial's day-to-day lives are influencing technological change within the industry. Says Amber Sullivan, "Research from Varo Money reveals that Americans today — especially Millennials — don’t spend much time thinking about banking. They are making fewer trips to the bank than they did in the past, and they spend little time making budgets. However, they are eager to see how artificial intelligence (AI) can take over some of the more mundane aspects of banking an improve their financial lives."
It doesn’t look like Goldman Sachs will be trading bitcoin any time soon
A lot has been made of Goldman Sachs's entrance into the bitcoin markets. Their rumored interest has been the 'talk of the fintech world', but Quartz is saying not to buy into this discussion just yet: "If the bank is indeed [looking into trading cryptocurrency], it’s news to the market’s main gatekeepers. Quartz spoke to two major bitcoin trading firms who have spoken to Goldman executives about bitcoin trading; both did not believe Goldman is in a position to start trading the cryptocurrency any time soon."