A banknote forming a roof over a tiny toy house, representing the niche banking industry.

Niche Banks – The Overlooked Financial Player

Imagine a bank. Now, what does it look like to you? 

We assume that most of you reading this would picture it as a building. Perhaps with a sleek, dark blueish glass front. Perhaps with towering pillars reminiscent of classic empires. Definitely with ATMs and clerks giving out cash, taken from underground vaults.

But let’s be honest here: Nothing of that represents modern banking services. Since the introduction of online banking and smartphones, banking is no longer confined to a physical place such as a bank building. And without the need of such branch offices, offering payment and banking services became an attractive option for companies outside of the traditional banking industry. 

In recent years, we have already seen a wave of new players that offer basic banking services. Those new banking players benefit greatly from the web-centric customer habits of today, if they capitalize on them. That’s especially the case with BigTech corporations and platform economy firms, who are pushing into the market. 

But aside from these financial giants, there is still room for smaller, more focussed financial institutions. Some cater to the general, tech-savvy customer, others occupy a specific niche that larger financial houses don’t address as purposefully. But what do those niche banks look like and what will be their role in banking in the future? 

We start with the basics. 

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A neobank building and an old bank building facing each other

Opinion: Neobanks vs. Old Money – How Traditional Banks Can Cope

Matthias Gall gives his opinion on how banks can cope with neobanks.

Times change. We thought we had already seen the Last Unicorn in the 1980s. But in the finance industry, the unicorns are alive and well. And what’s more: They keep multiplying. N26 is one of the latest additions to the herd. The German company acquired more than 300 million dollars in its most recent financing round. Now N26‘s company value is estimated at 2.7 billion dollar.

Good preconditions to shake the digital banking sphere to its very foundations. And the traditional banks? They rely on strategies that were last seen in the 80s, too. Although they have the potential to do much more.

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