Future of Banking

 

What is banking? In the upcoming decades, the answer to that question will radically change. Banking as we have known it for the past 600 years is fundamentally transforming. This transformation creates uncertainty, anxiety. What should banks do? What is their role in society? Is there an inspiring example to guide us?

Yes, there is. There is a moment in history in which banking fundamentally changed, and which created modern banking. That moment is 14th century Florence, a moment in time which is very similar to the period in which we are living now for several reasons:

  1. Just like back then, we live in times of great change: shifts in powerbalance, migration, cultural changes and crises.
  2. Just like back then, we experience the effects of a gigantic IT-innovation. In Florence, it was paper, now its' digitalised information, connected through the internet.
  3. Just like back then, we are confronted with new types of mathematics. In Florence, it was Arabic mathematics, which was very sophisticated. Now, it is cryptography, which enabled the blockchain.
  4. Finally, just like in Florence, we have one big problem: our society suffers from a gigantic lack of trust.

Florence was able to fuse these elements into a beautiful cocktail which shaped a new understanding of money and trust. We are able to do exactly the same. How? By doing the same thing bankers of Florence did, create real interest, which means between (inter) beings (esse), new relations, connections to transform society into a miracle of world history.

How did the Florentine bankers do this? We'll tell you if you invite us for a glass of wine.

photos: Hannie Verhoeven, Closing Keynote ABN AMRO Beyond Banking