2020 in quotes: Part 2

By Aisling Finn on Thursday 31 December 2020

FeaturesAlternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

The second (and final) part of the best fintech quotes from the past 12 months.

2020 in quotes: Part 2
Image source: Jonathan Farber/Unsplash

This year has been memorable, to say the least, so memorable that we couldn’t fit our favourite fintech quotes into just one article.

If you missed Part One you can read it here.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here is the second part of our favourite quotes from 2020.

“[Fintech] is at the core of the financial system.”

At the Paris Fintech Forum in January, François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, explained that fintech had made it’s way into the very core of how France’s central bank operates.

Villeroy de Gallhau, who has been in the role since 2015, told the crowd: “[Financial innovation] started with fintechs but it is not now only at the margins, but it is at the core of the financial system."

"We strongly welcome the innovation...it brings progress, from the private sector...We consider ourselves as part of the ecosystem and we want to stay ahead of the curve,” he went on.

Read more: Banque de France Governor: Fintech now at “core” of financial system

“I’ve stepped down from Monzo.”

The first big departure from digital bank Monzo came very early on in the year, not even two weeks into January 2020 co-founder Paul Rippon stepped down.

Rippon, a founding member of both Monzo and rival Starling Bank, chose to step back from his deputy CEO role to dedicate more time to the alpaca farm him and his wife run in Northumberland.

In a LinkedIn post, the Monzo co-founder wrote about the strain of being at the helm of a fast-moving digital bank, while also trying to start another business: “Building a fast-growing bank takes its toll and even reducing my ‘work hours’ didn’t reduce the cognitive and emotional overhead.”

“For the next few weeks and months, I’m going to enjoy some time with Debbie at our wonderful farm in Northumberland. You’ll find me doing the feed rounds, hosting alpaca walk ’n' talks and driving my tractor.”

Read more: Monzo co-founder exits to spend more time with...alpacas

“I think Vibe’s got a good chance of taking market share away from PayPal.”

Fintech is (famously) all about disruption and as bigger players grow, they often make room for smaller challengers to come up through the ranks and one of those up and coming challengers is payments app Vibe Pay.

In September 2020, AltFi caught up with CEO and founder Luke Massie to chat about his big plans for the future and how 2020 was going for the young fintech.

The CEO said: “Lockdown has really made us reassess what our business objectives were and, as a result, we actually brought our B2B product further forward. Our old market strategy was to build out our community, build a consumer product and then go for our B2B product, but it’s now been flipped on its head.”

“I think Vibe’s got a good chance of taking market share away from PayPal.” 

Read more: CEO of VibePay: “We’ve got a good chance of taking market share away from PayPal”

“[Fintech] is just getting started.”

Another quote from the Paris Fintech Forum, this time from CEO and co-founder of digital banking service Revolut, Nik Storonsky.

Speaking at the conference, Storonsky said: “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.”

“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. [Fintech] is just getting started.”

Read more: Revolut CEO: Fintech is “just getting started”

"The merger of Crowdcube and Seedrs creates a real powerhouse of start-up and growth finance for SMEs.”

In October, we saw one of the most unexpected mergers of the year.

Crowdfunding platforms Seedrs and Crowdcube announced they had agreed the terms of a merger, with Jeff Kelisky, Seedrs’ CEO, serving as CEO of the combined company, and Darren Westlake, Crowdcube’s CEO and co-founder serving as Executive Chairman.

Of the deal, Westlake said: “Today’s agreement is an incredibly exciting milestone that will benefit high growth businesses, their investors who believe in their vision and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports them.”

A spokesperson for the UK Crowdfunding Association said: "The merger of Crowdcube and Seedrs creates a real powerhouse of start-up and growth finance for SMEs.”

“A decade ago, Seedrs and Crowdcube pioneered this important sector, starting a revolution in finance which has been taken up around the world, and this merger gives the UK a powerful player to maintain that leadership position for the decades to come."  

Read more: Breaking: Crowdcube and Seedrs to merge

“I've just survived by the skin of my teeth.”

In November, as most people were still in lockdown of some description, we hosted the very first fully-digital AltFi Festival of Finance, and while there were so many incredible quotes from the four-day event, the one above stands out.

Martin Gilbert has a career spanning over four decades, with 37 of those years spent as CEO  at Aberdeen Asset Management, the company he founded back in 1983, and most recently as the first chairman of Revolut. 

Speaking at the Festival of Finance, Gilbert told AltFi: “I've just survived by the skin of my teeth on a few occasions....survival is the key of businesses.”

“I've had my share of making mistakes like everyone else has. I'm sure Revolut will make mistakes. But it's how you deal with the tough times that's how you can judge yourself as a CEO. It's dead easy to be a CEO in good times.”

Read more: "I've just survived by the skin of my teeth" - An interview with Revolut's first chairman Martin Gilbert 

“There are material uncertainties that cast significant doubt on [Monzo’s] ability to continue.”

There have certainly been winners and losers of 2020 and it’s hard to deny that Monzo has had a bit of a rocky time.

The digital bank saw several top executives leave, including CEO, co-founder and all-around Monzo poster boy Tom Blomfield, and a 40 per cent drop in its valuation following a £60m fundraise.

Just six weeks after the news of Monzo’s reduced valuation broke, the digital bank released its much-delayed 2020 Annual Report, with the results showing “material uncertainties that cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue.”

The report went on: “The group is loss-making and its revenue streams and expected credit losses have been significantly impacted by Covid-19.”

“There is a risk that the group will not be able to execute its business plan, which could adversely impact its ability to generate profits or raise capital to meet future regulatory capital requirements.”

Read more: Monzo’s 2020 results cast “material uncertainty” on bank’s future

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