An increase in consumer borrowing is fueling fintech efforts to expand the reach of their lending operations. Credit card spending rose by at least 20 percent in Q1 at each of the big four banks, and personal loan origination is also ticking higher. The increasingly attractive market is likely to lure more bidder interest to a financial services market awash in acquisition interest from both legacy and upstart players.
Recent activity plays into a wider phenomenon that’s seen sector incumbents turn to technology firms, even those specializing in data sets outside of their target markets, to grow. From insurance to banking and back, legacy industry players are acquiring and being acquired by tech companies.
Take banking. The client-customer relationship between lenders and fintech cooled merger interest between the fields until recently, when competition to build out rival platforms matured into full-scale acquisition interest.
Banks are not only dipping into tech, but you see tech funds looking to buy traditional banks, Grant Thornton partner John Cristiano told me.
Indeed, tech platform SoFi earlier this year received conditional approval to become a bank in its own right, coinciding with its acquisition of bank charter-holder Golden Pacific Bank.
Elsewhere, traditional finance players have expanded their businesses to include technology players with access to growing loan portfolios. This week’s announcement that Intercontinental Exchange plans to acquire mortgage tech company Black Knight is illustrative. The exchange is doubling down on an earlier acquisition of Ellie Mae to buy the mortgage software provider in a bet that mortgage servicing will continue to see growth.
The fintech merger bonanza appears to still have legs.