on the blog

30th Oct, 2017

Fin vs. Tech

Is it the “fin” or the “tech” that is the key to developing the future of online lending?

“FinTech” is one of the biggest buzz words in finance and technology. Online lending platforms are just one of the many different types of companies at the forefront driving the industry. Given the buzz, it’s not surprising that every company with any finance-related technology is attempting to rebrand themselves as a FinTech company, trying to enjoy some of the limelight and investment on offer. With so many companies trying to dress themselves up as FinTech companies, it is difficult to truly understand or identify what a FinTech company really is, and often difficult to distinguish between true FinTech companies, financial services companies that have technology, and technology companies that are dipping their toes into financial services. We wonder: will it be the “fin” or the “tech” that really has the biggest impact on the development of the industry, specifically within the world of online lending?


The financial services industry, in the traditional sense, is an industry that has long been able to rest on its laurels. In doing so, they have neglected to truly take into account the changing needs and habits of their consumers. This has created an opportunity for companies that have dared to think differently; leading to the creation of P2P lending, crowdfunding and money transfer platforms. The ability of these companies to understand consumer needs and meet them, using new technology, has seen many of them grow very quickly. Perhaps more importantly, it has also seen consumers think differently about how they manage their finances.

Whilst the creative technological solutions have been key to the creation and initial growth of the FinTech industry, the most significant development of this revolution has been the change in the mindset of consumers, spurred by the advances brought about by technology. Now more than ever, people are openly engaging with one another about the management of their finances; whether it be about who they have a mortgage with, the best and easiest ways of transferring funds to a different currency, or how to make the most out of one’s savings. Not only are consumers now engaging with one another; they are also more actively engaging with their financial services providers. Even more importantly, they are demanding better services and products from them. Consumers are getting excited about finance.

Traditional finance companies may continue to develop new financial products, and deliver and enhance them through new technologies, but if they fail to consider the new engagement of their consumers, these products are unlikely to be successful.

For example, online lending has become a success story, not because of the advent of a new financial product, but rather through making an old, in-demand financial services product more accessible to consumers. Of course, these companies would not long survive if the “fin” part of the product was neglected. If a company failed to observe good credit risk decisioning processes and poor lending practices, for example, these products – and with it the companies – would fail.

One could argue that whilst “tech” may be driving the FinTech industry, it could not operate without experience of the “fin.” It is likely that the biggest driver of the future of FinTech, specifically within the online lending market, will be, for the first time, the consumer, as they have become both the lenders and the borrowers.

Many online lending platforms may have already come and gone, but online lending is still arguably in its infancy. The products on offer and the types of loans available through these platforms still very closely resemble the more traditional loan types, with the online accessibility and speed of access being the main differentiators. Only over the last two years has the UK seen newer products such as the Innovative Finance ISA come to the market; yet even these mirror older financial concepts.

The fact that consumers hold the power to more significantly influence the financial products available to them, along with the ever-evolving way in which they are delivered, will surely lead to an extremely interesting period of financial services development. Changes in dynamic will lead to other changes, which will not only pose new challenges for FinTech companies and the financial sector as a whole, but will also likely raise some very interesting questions and challenges for the regulators of these markets around the world.

09th Jul, 2015

Alternative Finance Ramps Up Competition With Banks

The threat to traditional banking is growing.

From PayPal to peer to peer lending, methods of money management outside of traditional banks have boomed in the last few years. While evidence that they’re creating competition that threatens banks’ foothold in the economic market is still growing, they are expanding options and forcing banks to think smarter as customers begin exploring new ways of storing, transmitting and growing their money.

And peer to peer lending and other programs certainly have banks’ attention. In recent comments, the CEO of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce confirmed that banks will have to adjust to new competition from peer to peer and other markets. Victor Dodig said the bank is looking for ways to leverage interest in Bitcoin and other new technologies to its benefit.

““We can play in that space,” Dodig says. “Will clients move in droves to these new technology platforms to do their lending? I don’t think so.” But, he adds, “Competition always changes the dynamic on pricing. Will there be pressure over time? Of course there will be.”

Other platforms, like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, have facilitated millions of transactions around the world. Executives from Accenture noted that “As banks recover from the downturn, non-banks are taking advantage by proceeding aggressively with digital innovations and capturing more and more of the banking value chain. Accenture estimates that competition from non-banks could erode one-third of traditional bank revenues by 2020.”

Digital wallet services from Google, Apple, Samsung and more have become part of people’s daily payment processes. Each has slightly different offerings in terms of security, ease of use, and compatibility with different devices, digital apps and services. Google continues to tweak Wallet, since it hasn’t been as successful as originally predicted. Of course, many such services integrate directly with bank accounts and existing credit cards, functioning more as an intermediary than an entirely new money management method.

Dodig argues that one deterrent for new financial systems like peer to peer is ongoing uncertainty about security and financial regulations: “Clients that have money with an institution want to make sure that it’s stable and secure, because (deposit) insurance only gives you protection to a certain level,” said Dodig.

However, over time, regulations are becoming clearer and alternative financial models are demonstrating their success and security. rebuildingsociety’s Digital Marketing Manager, Adam Knott, said: “Banks are keeping a keen eye on institutions like, because they realize the potential for disruption and competition as more individuals and organizations reduce their reliance on traditional banking.”

23rd Oct, 2014

Traders feeling the squeeze of technology

Saxo Markets recently hosted an event focusing on the future of trading and financial markets at The British Museum. We went along to hear about how technology is disrupting this market, its challenges and opportunities, and what it means for the consumer.

Matteo Cassina of Saxo Markets outlined some of the changes in the market since the financial crisis. There is increased competition, tighter regulation and recognition that overcapacity and inefficiency are present, but being weeded out.

Value is the pressure point on the market. There is pressure on pension funds for example to find yield in a record-low interest rate environment. Tellingly, Dr Robert Barnes of Turquoise said 50% of people who have ever lived to 65 are alive today.

The speed of demographic change is posing a huge challenge to fund managers, who naturally are looking at ways to meet the needs of their customers as those drawing a pension live longer. It seems inevitable that where funds cannot find value they will either have to turn to new products or exit the market, such is the scrutiny on fees and low returns.


22nd Jul, 2014

Going away this summer but want to carry on lending?

BidPal will work here…

Wherever you’re going this summer, you can stay in touch with developments on rebuildingsociety through the site on your mobile or tablet. We’ll be working away so you’ll still get your weekly updates and the Marketplace will continually feature new loans.

However, if you’re going for a real break in 2014, because there’s WiFi on the most remote beaches, you’ll probably want to leave your phone packed away and enjoy the peace. If that’s you, then BidPal is what you need.

If you haven’t configured your settings yet, or you haven’t recalibrated them for a few months, follow this link and be assured that as your funds are returned to you through repayments, your cash isn’t taking a breather too.

03rd May, 2014

Formula One Supplier In Pole Position for Growth

The composites market is growing rapidly. Increased demand seen at home and abroad from established and emerging markets gives Paul Skinner and his fellow directors at Advanced Composites and Engineering Technology Ltd (ACE) cause for optimism as the company enters its 10th year of trading.

ACE grew on the back of supplying parts for Formula One teams (it now supplies to several teams; however NDAs prevent us naming them). Such is the scope for diversification, where previously 50 per cent of the firm’s business was in F1, it is now down to around 20 per cent.

“We’ve been looking at other markets for a while. Now a significant part of our business is satellite communication systems and radar scanning platforms. Motorsport is still an important part of our business and we supply parts for F1, Le Mans Endurance Series and Touring Car Championships etc, but we’re also exploring opportunities in renewable energy”, says Paul.


22nd Feb, 2014

Raft of New White Label Contract Wins for is celebrating a series of contract wins as sales of its white-labelled peer-to-peer lending solution continues to grow.

With orders placed from the UK, Europe, the United Arab Emirates and Canada, the software service arm of the organisation continues to grow, while the loan book on has recently passed £2m.

eMoneyUnion, which has just raised growth capital through Crowdcube

Since started providing customised versions of its software to clients in 2013, it has successfully launched eMoneyUnion and Be the Lender in the UK, with imminent launches for clients in global markets.

Jayne Reid, Partner Director at commented: “Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending really are of our time and entrepreneurs across the world realise its potential to positively transform business and personal finance.


14th Nov, 2013

Lending Club Valued at $2.3bn as P2P Grabs Investors’ Imagination

Lending Club has recently attracted a $57m injection, valuing the business at a cool (or eye-watering) $2.3bn as it prepares for an initial public offering.

It’s the latest in a series of investments in p2p platforms both in the UK and US. Funding Knight recently received £1.5m for 20%, while Funding Circle continues to receive VC funding.

Banks and institutional investors are taking an increasing interest in the sector, which has made a profound impression on the business and personal finance markets.

With reform abound in the UK and US and more countries across the world getting to grips with the positive potential of the sector, now really is the time to get involved and become one of the early adopters.


13th May, 2013

The Future of Accounting is up in the Cloud

At we find updated accounts to be the biggest cause of a delay between an application arriving in our inbox and becoming a listed lending opportunity on the Marketplace. Something that would save everyone a lot of time and inform decision making is cloud accounting – live accounting software available to all. It would enable lenders to make a decision to lend based on the must up-to-date accounts. We found this excellent blog on that explains the concept and advantages perfectly:

A leading US commentator on technology for accountancy practices recently commented that “if you choose not to embrace the cloud you are retiring in five years”. Scary stuff, which is not just the preserve of our transatlantic colleagues. In December, no lesser figure than Sage Group’s Chief Executive felt the need to comment at their 2012 results announcement; “I wish we had been there earlier in North America. We’re coming to the market for cloud-based solutions in time in Europe.”

So why is cloud accounting for small firms now garnering such bold predictions and senior focus?


22nd Mar, 2013

Growth integral to IT company’s plans

Jonathan Edwards

Self-confessed IT geek Jonathan Edwards has been growing his business, Integral IT Ltd, for the past seven years. He’s now reached a point where he needs to increase his headcount and marketing to move his business to the next level and capitalise on the strong reputation he has established. Integral IT is looking for a loan of £20,000 to be repaid over three years.

Jonathan has grown the business to turnover levels of £250,000 without, in his own words, “doing much marketing”.

“I’ve relied on word of mouth and my own networking activities to get me so far, but the time is right for me to invest in the future of the business”, he said.

With talks over a new £90,000 annual contract at an advanced stage, Jonathan is conscious of scaling up to meet an increase in demand by recruiting and training another member of staff.


15th Feb, 2013

Long-term investments: What’s hot?

Lending to UK businesses gives people returns over the short to medium term with loans ranging from six months to five years, but what about people with longer to wait for investments to come to fruition? As ever, the technology sector seems to have the answers.

We’re in an age where technology is bounding along, with the latest remarkable invention occurring on a seemingly weekly basis.

The Genius of Invention interviewed James Dyson for the show broadcast on 14 February. He believes we’re at an incredibly exciting time where it is not just the inventions themselves that are ground-breaking, but also the materials that create the inventions.


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