During FTT Building Societies on 21st October, there was one issue of great importance which discussion continued to circle back to. As the mutual banking sector navigates an acceleration towards digital, it is important to acknowledge that innovation is not an end in itself. For Building Societies, new technologies should always be implemented with the intention to deliver better financial wellness for the individual and society.
The point was raised of how FinTech fits together with an ongoing mission to drive financial inclusion and resilience, by empowering members to reach financial goals at all stages of their lives. Our penultimate panel of the day, leapt straight into this issue, asking the question: Can we ensure innovation has a measured, positive impact on the communities Building Societies serve, rather than being for innovation’s sake?
This is a particularly timely discussion given the health and financial crisis brought on by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, which are putting a great strain on personal finances for many members. The panel was not one to be missed, as representatives from Nationwide and Family Building Societies were joined by The Money and Pensions Service and the Financial inclusion Centre. The result was a vital debate on whether or not technology opens a door to greater financial inclusion.
The session brought to light the role building societies have traditionally played in building financial wellbeing, how they might harness innovation to further this goal, as well as some of the potential downsides of FinTech. Panellists whose expertise ranges from inclusion, to public policy, to product design, came to an agreement that technology must be made to work for good, in order for its many benefits to be felt equally across society.
Below you can watch the full recording of this fascinating session, featuring:
- Gareth McNab, Social Innovation Lead, Nationwide Building Society
- Michael Royce, Senior Policy & Propositions Manager, The Money & Pensions Service
- Mick McAteer, Founder and Co-Director, The Financial Inclusion Centre
- Patrick Muir, Vice Chairman, Family Building Society
- Moderator: Marloes Nicholls, Head of Programmes, The Finance Innovation Lab