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Financial technology, or fintech, is revolutionizing the banking sector. A report pegs the industry in India to grow to $150 billion over the next five years. A majority of the over 2,000 fintech firms have set up shop in the last five years alone, growing even during the pandemic, with at least eight platforms joining the unicorn club, with over $1 billion valuation, since January 2020. To realize its potential the industry will need $20-25 billion in investments, lending a multinational angle to the story.

The UK government’s Department for International Trade presents Mint CXO Dialogues ‘The Era of FinTech: Ushering a New Age in Banking’.The event was attended by top leaders from India and the UK to analyse the role of fintech in reimagining banking and explore opportunities for cross-border collaboration between the two countries.

“The UK and India are world leaders when it comes to financial innovation that benefits households and businesses. Our bilateral partnership has strengthened our fintech sectors through sharing of expertise as well as offering greater access to top talent and resources. Fintech will play a vital role in driving the post-pandemic recovery in both our nations," said Alderman William Russell, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, in his opening address.

“The use of technologies such as voice, data and artificial intelligence will shape the future of fintech. There is great potential for fintech firms to collaborate with banks, such as ours, as we will be able to provide the best customer experience and they would get the benefit of a large pool of customers to help improve their solutions," said Punit Sood, head of India, NatWest Group.

Fintech is also facilitating paperless, and cashless banking. “All banks are working in a completely automated environment. But the difference that fintech has brought in is helping reimagine the way the banking service is delivered to end customers," said Biju K., head, operational risk and chief information security officer, Federal Bank.

And, fintech has a large role to play in consumer experience. “Policybazaar started digitization of the processes about 12 years ago and reimagined the insurance space. But, somewhere, our technology partner ecosystem has been evolving at a slower pace than what was anticipated. The pandemic has given it a push and I am hopeful the entire ecosystem will only become better," said Saurabh Tiwari, chief technology officer, Policybazaar.

The massive adoption of digital payments systems in India is a game changer, and has placed the power of data in the customer’s hands. “Digital payments have become a way of life in India, led by demonetization and covid-19. There is a massively complex ecosystem at the backend but the reimagining at the backend has led to fantastic experience for customers, triggering massive adoption," said Hemant Gala, vice president , financial services and payments, PhonePe.

But, a lot still needs to be done to tap the true potential of the fintech space, but India needs a regulatory push to enable this change, said Peter Cunnane, national and international strategy lead, Innovate Finance.

The event was also attended by Nikhil Kamath, co-founder and CIO, Zerodha; Anita Pai, chief operating officer at Yes Bank, and Alan Chang, senior vice-president revenue and operations, Revolut.

“Finance and innovation are central to our trade priorities and fintech will bring both of these together. A collaboration for us is important in both directions," said Neha Sampat, senior sector manager, Department for International Trade, UK government.

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