Breakfast with the Disruptors [interview with Tom] - BBC 📻

Tom was interviewed about Monzo, as part of a 28 minute segment that was broadcast yesterday evening on Radio 4. Leah also make an appearance, along with a Monzo customer :slight_smile: it’s also amusing to hear the head of Yorkshire Building Society dismissing the challengers!

Tim Samuels examines the financial services industry as it faces up to technological change.

It was in the late 1990’s that a Harvard academic Clay Christensen introduced a buzzword that has now become pervasive. He wanted to capture why established companies get driven out of their industries by young upstarts. It became known as disruptive innovation and has dramatically reshaped our business landscape.

Two-thirds of the companies on the Fortune 500 list in 1980 have disappeared. The balance has shifted from the incumbents to the challengers, from the old economy to the new. For some start-ups, the belief in disruption has taken on a near-religious edge. Forget rules, obligations and regulations - all that disrupts is good, all that stands in the way deserves to fail.

Journalist Tim Samuels investigates three industries facing change - property, finance and death - and invites a disruptor and a disruptee to breakfast.

One hundred years passed without a new bank emerging. Now there are close to 50 new ones in the pipeline. In this second programme of the series, Tim speaks to Tom Blomfield from Monzo, one the UK’s newest licensed banks - backed by serious investment and infused with the start-up confidence that they can do better than the current crop, The former boss of Barclays, Antony Jenkins, has his own fintech start-up looking to modernize the back office technology used by banks. But the banks have all the cash and most of the customers. They will not be disrupted easily. Is the threat of fintech hype or reality?


I listened to this, and it was fairly interesting. But there was a lot of bullshit that went unchallenged! I don’t disagree that the ‘challenger’ banks (Monzo included) face a number of challenges themselves. Or that the traditional banks have a lot of customers and a lot of money, and so have more time to sort themselves out. Or that there are aspects of traditional banking, which won’t be offered by the challengers, that a significant number of people (currently) see as important.

But there was a certain element of painting the picture of the ‘good old days of the friendly bank manager’ which doesn’t match the actual experience now. And I think there’s a very interesting discussion to be held around what inspires people to trust an institution these days. But a lot of those speaking from traditional banking background were basically saying, “people trust big institutions that have been around for a long time.” I would have liked to see that challenged and discussed.

Anyway, the most galling comment was the man from the Yorkshire Building Society. His comment on the challenger banks:

Are they in it for the long term?

This, coming from the building society that has just shut down their current accounts, turfing out their customers!

I thought the man from Nationwide (the one at the ‘breakfast’) came across best of the ‘old-school’ people. Clearly aware that people’s needs and the world they operate in is changing, and not dismissive of new approaches. And he’s aware/interested enough that he has a :monzo: card himself!


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