News Update :

Social banking, a year later

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A year ago I posted two comments about the Peer-to-Peer banking phenomenon warning that bankers should open their eyes and look closely to this new social media upshot. Despite the attention this issue has attracted even in banking-related circles the mainstream bankers have their mind elsewhere. Many of them are busy to salvage what is left from their businesses and reputation following the sub-prime (or maybe sub-brain?) scandal.

But what happened with my predictions about the bright future of the Social Banking initiatives? One of the citizen banking examples I mentioned, the British Zapa, keeps growing and has just expanded in the US market while my other example of last year claims to have increased its number of members to 730.00 (from 140.000 last year) and the loan volume to $150,000,000 (up from $ 27.000.000 last year). Gartner expects that by 2010 the social banking will account for 10% of the total retail banking in a number of countries. This sounds a bit too optimistic but my experience with the Internet is that nothing is impossible. So let's wait and see.

In the meantime we keep following the serial of banking bankruptcies or almost bankruptcies, downswings and chain reaction effects of the sub-prime scandal (and its economic side effects on the world economy) that will go down to the management history as another example of disastrous corporate governance.
Until the bankers recover from this new hangover the "citizen bankers" will happily continue growing. Although the danger for the banking industry to follow the fate of the music distribution oligopoly, the incumbent travel agencies and others who felt victims of their inability to understand how the Internet has reshaped the marketplace is not imminent, if I was a banker I would be worried more than last year.
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