The banking boss of the digital disruptor is bullish when it comes to the future for innovation within the financial services industry.
Digital banking ‘challenger’ Revolut now claims a global customer base of 10 million souls and so you could be forgiven for saying it has moved away from its start-up roots and is now grown-up and squarely in the financial establishment.
Not quite turning a profit, of course, but Revolut is very much growing revenues and has even hired City grandee, Sir Martin Gilbert, to keep a watchful on corporate governance as chairman of the board.
With the, well revolution, for want of a different word, now starting to mature on many fronts you could be forgiven for asking; “is the fintech buzz fading away?”
Revolut’s co-founder and CEO Nik Storonsky offers up a more bullish forecast. He thinks the best is yet to come.
"I think it is just getting started,” he said last week at the Paris Fintech Forum.
“We are seeing larger and larger convergence between us and the banks. The speed of development in things like compliance, risk, governance we can innovate there as well.”
While the likes of Revolut continue on their mission to upend incumbents, Storonsky believes that a fightback from banks is likely futile.
“Fintech is becoming better and better but banks just stay the same. In the future; in five to 10 years time the majority of smaller banks lo will not be able to compete in the retail sector,” he added.
“Larger banks will stay because they have a huge corporate business and I think there will be between three and five large fintech players who are global and focused on retail clients.”
“In the next five to 10 years we will also see consolidation to probably five players. In 20 years maybe there will just be two players.”
‘Big Tech' looming, but is it competition?
But what of the much-prophesied moves by the tech giants into financial services. They are certainly making in-roads and less shy to say so. Does this worry Storonsky? No.
“I do think they can be [competition]. If they move full speed into financial services they will need to become regulated and they don't really want to because it could affect their core main business,” he said.
Storonsky said that Revolut could "maybe" one day be a partner for the likes of Google but that so far white labelling its full-stack infrastructure was "not that attractive".
That, and the recent eye-watering $5.5bn acquisition of Plaid by Visa beggars the question though does he have a price in mind that would see him sell.
“I just want to continue as far as I can go," he answered.