This week in fintech

By Hauken from Stacc

🛑 The end of the road for Sbanken



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This week in fintech

March 21 · Issue #97 · View online

A weekly summary of the latest news in our world of finance, design, and technology.

Also this week:
  • 😦 The man behind Ethereum Is worried about crypto’s future
  • 👂 Listen to what your users do, not what they say
  • 🔻 Low expectations

🛑 The end of the road for Sbanken
DNB trying to buy Sbanken has been an uphill battle for over a year. Still, suddenly last week, everything changed: The Competition Appeals Board was unanimous in its decision to let DNB buy Sbanken, without further action from the bank. This caught many by surprise and even questions previous decisions from the Norwegian Competition Authority. 
The reactions are mixed:
This might be a good time reviving my previous comment in DN about the acquisition and how DNB can handle the Sbanken brand and technology. Robert D. B. Leinders-Krog, CEO at The Brand Project, has written about the same topic. He suggests that DNB keep the Sbanken brand the same way Volkswagen did when they bought Ducati. Or the same way Unilever did when they bought Ben & Jerry’s. They added knowledge and let them fight against the parent company.
This might work in other fields, but within a heavily regulated field like finance there are two problems clear problems with this approach:
  1. How long will Sbanken be able to keep its challenger stamp credibly? A bank can’t own another bank. This is why all the challenger brands from larger banks always have two names in their logo. How credible will the challenger bank “Sbanken by DNB” be?
  2. The other problem with DNB keeping the Sbanken brand is the new finance agreement act which states that a bank can’t give the same customer different offers – it’s hard to be a credible challenger when you get the same offer from the competitor (which also is the owner)
😦 The man behind Ethereum is worried about crypto's future
Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, has watched the world he created evolve with a mixture of pride and dread. “Crypto itself has a lot of dystopian potential if implemented wrong,” Vitalik acknowledges in an interview in Time. Buterin hopes Ethereum will become the launchpad for all sorts of sociopolitical experimentation: fairer voting systems, urban planning, universal basic income, public-works projects. But he admits that his vision for the transformative power of Ethereum is at risk of being overtaken by greed.
Vitalik also sees that one of the significant challenges with making cryptocurrency and blockchain applications usable for average users is security. If you lose your wallet today, you lose all your money. His suggestion is what he calls social recovery wallets, where you can appoint guardians that can change your password to a new one after your request – much like a bank. But the intriguing part about these guardians is that they can be friends or family members, institutions, or other devices you own yourself.
👂 Listen to what your users do, not what they say
Leonard Kongshavn from Google and Frederik Meinertz from Iterate have written about why you fail with product development. You need to understand the users’ needs and find evidence for what will create value for them. Maybe obvious for designers, but an important reminder for many!
But that doesn’t mean that you necessarily should listen to user feedback. Jessica Tenauta has written about why you should look for user insights, not feedback. This is especially important in finance, where I have experienced that if you user test without using the users’ data (like their accounts and numbers), your test results can be way off. Often the user will fly through flows and say that everything looks fine, but they don’t understand what they have done.
🔻 Low expectations
Elon Musk
@westcoastbill I was at a lunch with Munger in 2009 where he told the whole table all the ways Tesla would fail.

Made me quite sad, but I told him I agreed with all those reasons & that we would probably die, but it was worth trying anyway.
Morgan Housel has written about the superpower of having low expectations.
That's it for this week 👋
Remember, if you’re enjoying this content, please do tell all your (fintech) friends to hit the subscribe button! If you have some feedback you can always just hit reply!
Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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