2021 is drawing to a close and it has been an unprecedented year in the world of finance. Many businesses found themselves still dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, often with much less governmental support than in 2020, meaning stress for both companies and their employees. At the same time, digital transformation continued to accelerate with priority being placed on solutions that future-proof the business through innovation and the ability to act quickly to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.
Let’s take a brief relook at the last year and explore where finance is heading in 2022 and beyond.
The Future by Region
These past few months HES has been investigating the impact of the coronavirus crisis and its effects, looking at how countries have dealt with the crisis and what their future holds. As we move into Q1 of 2022, we are likely to see some of the trends of the past year continue and impact strategic planning for the coming year.
The APAC region, encompassing the Asia Pacific, is confidently powering ahead into the future with fintech. Counting 2.7 billion fintech app downloads since 2019, the region is heavily focused on a digital future and is showing no signs of slowing down in its dedication. While COVID-19 recovery measures have been better than expected, there is still a lot of room for growth, and businesses seeking to adopt financial technology will need an integrated strategy to do so successfully.
Challenges: Fraud and security continue to cause issues
Power points: Integrated digital strategy leads to sustainable success
Confidence abounds in the Middle East with over 71% of executives expecting the full recovery to pre-Covid levels in the coming year. But is this confident outlook achievable? With low levels of financial inclusion, the region has a lot of growth potential. If digital transformation practices come to fruition, then we can expect to see a lot of sustainable development in the coming years. Unique to the Middle East is its relatively young population who could be set to drive success and take the MENA region into the future.
Challenges: 48% male population and 65% of female population are unbanked
Power points: Unique cultural fit (Islamic banking) could cater to a new market
With a focus on long-term sustainability, Canada continues to remain a world leader in terms of integrated financial solutions, such as POS and lending software. The coronavirus pandemic only re-enforced this drive. However, that’s not to say the region is without its challenges. Debt is continuing to increase—rising to over $2 trillion—and younger people are experiencing unequal levels of debt. On the other hand, Canadians as a whole are becoming more financially savvy with over 46% researching 3-5 providers before making a borrowing decision.
Challenges: Inequality and increasing debt
Power points: Slow and steady drive to sustainable digital change
Increases in debt and greater economic instability in the wake of the coronavirus crisis leave the US market at a turning point in its history. For many businesses, now is the time to either rethink their current strategic plans or power ahead with digital transformation. While devastating to the US market in terms of debt increases—by July 2021, the US was estimated at $28 billion—it also marked a time of saving for consumers with deposits growing to over $18.5 billion. For lending providers, this has proven a time to invest in technology that helps companies to personalize the lending experience and make use of smarter loan management solutions for all.
Challenges: Hesitant to borrow in wake of coronavirus crisis
Power points: Smart, more automated lending is the future
The lending industry across Europe has been steadily growing with a CAGR of 18.5% and is expected to do so till 2027. That said the region has been heavily hit by the coronavirus crisis and its restrictions, which has increased the necessity for greater investment in digital services. This has meant changes both in how lending is done, the loan amount, and its terms, meaning businesses (and their clients) have to act smarter when taking out a loan. At the same time, we are seeing increased investments in customizable loan processing software solutions and other tools that make the lending industry more efficient and accessible.
Challenges: Impacts from coronavirus crisis
Power points: Willingness to continue to engage in expansive digital transformation
Global Trends for 2022 and beyond
The regions may differ in their histories and backgrounds, however, during the pandemic, it became ever more clear just how closely connected the world is. The trends that we currently observe in one region could soon impact others and change the financial landscape as we know it. As we move forward, it is helpful to look at some of the trends that are cropping up worldwide and what they could mean for the future of finance in 2022 and beyond.
Embedded financial services
Financial instruments are increasingly becoming integrated into the products and services that are used worldwide, and this goes far beyond the world of banking. Point of Service financial technologies, such as lending tools, allow clients to apply for credit and other instruments without leaving the store. Proving popular with consumers, this eases the sales process and simply makes it easier for everyone. For example, the payments system Klarna has over 90 million customers worldwide to whom they provide short-term credit.
AI and risk management technology
To combat fraud and prevent money laundering, businesses are increasingly investing in smart technology, such as AI, that can detect and prevent fraudulent or illegal occurrences before they happen. Smart tech allows companies to utilize data and information effectively, for example, by using OCR (optical character recognition) to spot differences in documents provided and forms, or even AI-powered scoring tech, like GiniMachine, which helps lower risk to lenders by smartly analyzing data.
Digital automated approach
One part of digitization, which companies are focusing on is streamlining processes and digitizing paperwork. Automation technology takes the hassle out of form-filling and allows the process to be completed even easier than before. This not only tailors to a younger generation of lenders who prefer digital services but also ensures a consistent data-keeping record for the future. In addition, a paper-free society can be more transparent and eco-friendly, which is a major goal that extends beyond the financial sphere.
Younger customers demand services that fit their needs. No longer will standard cookie-cutter services suffice. Instead, consumers are seeking tailored services just for them. This has led to an increase in investment in AI technology that is able to analyze consumer data and allow businesses to personalize to some degree. For example, this might be tailored loan risks and rates for lower-risk consumers or premium services on offer.
How Will the Lending Industry Look in 2022?
With 2021 coming to a close, it’s clear that the 2022 year will solidify the trend toward digital transformation and increase its adoption across many businesses. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, amidst businesses that are continuing to struggle we will see those that rise from the ashes and transform their way of working with integrated digital strategy.
For those seeking to access the lending industry or onboard its technologies, 2022 is the time to do so. This is an exciting time for finance and there is a lot of potentials to access proprietary technology in its early stages, or onboard the latest tech to help your business.
Wishes from HES
As we begin 2022, we’d like to take a moment to thank you for being with us this year. We are sure that the future of financial technology will continue to be exciting and look forward to working with you in 2022 and beyond.