Keeping up with digital lending in 2019-2020

Photo by Philip Veater on Unsplash

Blog written by Vit Arnautov  - Chief Product Officer at TurnKey Lender

Customers become more and more demanding. Especially as millennials become a bigger fraction of the financial products’ users, businesses should be prepared to work for their loyalty. The onboarding process for getting a new vendor of anything gets so easy that lenders can’t stay still. There are market trends no one can ignore and here are the ones lenders worldwide should take into account.

AI and machine learning

For lending niche, artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t just hype words anymore. Neural networks are the real deal and lending businesses globally already use them to make credit decisions faster and more accurately. Adobe has carried out a research in which makes it clear that over 20% of financial services companies are already using artificial intelligence to streamline their business processes with 41% planning to use it in the nearest future.

One might think that both AI and machine learning sound like the most expensive technological solutions you can get for your lending business because of their complexity. But software vendors are often the first to adjust to the trends and there already are ready-made LAAS (lending as a service) platforms that utilize custom-tailored algorithms and AI for decision automation and almost instant credit scoring.



It’s a real pity, that this tech got so deeply connected just with cryptocurrencies in many people’s heads. But FinTech industries never perceived blockchain so one-sidedly. For them, it really does grant a more secure way to store and operate data. So businesses will keep on developing new ways to use this tech. The truth is that the vast majority of digital lending is still reliant on old-school relational databases. Putting that same data on distributed ledgers of blockchain will often mean much stronger security. At the same time, this can increase operational costs for bigger businesses.

There’s no doubt that in 2019 blockchain will be implemented in many more financial services and products. But it doesn’t mean that everyone should use it because this really isn’t always the right choice. So before you choose blockchain for your company, consult with experts on whether it’s the right way for you. Overall, now that the crazy bitcoin hype is gone, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more seasoned and rational use of blockchain. Which will, in turn, bring way better results.

Alternative lending to keep growing

During the rise of the sharing economy, it’s only logical that alternative, or peer-to-peer, lending will be gaining more traction.

Image source: Morgan Stanley


Even though some bigger banks worldwide try to adjust and reach the underserved demographics, alternative lending firms still tend to do it better. Often, because they adjust to the market quicker and many clients don’t have a credit score that would let them get a loan from a big bank. At the same time, we have investors who are actively looking for attractive yield-generating ways to make their money work. So the trend looks up for P2P lending in the years to come. But the Achilles’ heel of the smaller alternative lending companies continues to be regulatory compliance. Which brings me to my next point.


The continuous rise of regtech

Just as the digital lending niche grows, the number of regulations does too with new notices from regulating bodies published every day. Regulations are scary even for the big players, even though they often have whole dedicated departments working on compliance. In 2019 the trend will continue with governments taking a closer look at the FinTech in general and lending in particular. The problem is that small and midsize businesses often don’t have the budgets to have a compliance staff. And all of this would be quite depressing for the people eager to enter the lending market if it wasn’t for the developments in the RegTech sphere.

RegTech, as a separate branch of FinTech, will be of special interest to lenders in 2019 since these solutions will be the ones to both save the businesses operational costs and protect them from the enormous fines that may hit at any moment.

New regulatory sandboxes

At the same time, there’s hope for more regulatory sandboxes to arise in 2019. For example, Norway wants to open up to FinTech innovation by means of a sandbox, about which I’m sure local entrepreneurs can’t be happy enough. As more tier-1 legislations test this approach to innovative tech, more join in. So in 2019, we can keep our fingers crossed and wait for a regulatory sandbox snowball effect freeing FinTech entrepreneurs of the need to think about compliance at least for a little while.

PSD2 directive in full effect

Europe is a huge lending market. And in 2019 the long-anticipated PSD2 directive is supposed to take full effect. For those out of context, PSD2 is a directive that works across the EU and it’s aimed at increasing financial competition for conventional banks through lowering entry barriers into the field. At the same time, it will dictate the usage of reliable identification systems and strengthened data protection. The main point though is that now customers will be able to use services of third-party financial services company through their bank, through an obligatory open API.


Focus on millennials

Even though baby boomers still hold the largest capitals, millennials are quickly becoming a bigger demographic in terms of using the financial services. In addition, they are more likely to switch to a new lender or choose a digital P2P lender as their first one for that matter. So companies in 2019 will keep their focus on younger audiences by means of creating better products, interfaces, and offers.


Striving for financial inclusion

The trend of trying to serve the unbanked or underbanked regions and demographics will continue. While that’s an important mission on its own, it’s also dictated by the fact that customer acquisition cost in developed countries is getting higher and the competition stronger. At the same time, there are billions of people without proper access to financial instruments. So in the years to come it’s reasonable to expect businesses actively working to reach new locations and demographics with lending products.


Digital only lending companies

Even with today’s state of technology, it seems very unnecessary to go to a brick-and-mortar branch to get a loan. The future of lending is without a doubt digital and there is plenty of companies proving it on their example. In 2019 the trend will continue with businesses creating personalized flows and experiences for online borrowers.

Final thoughts

In terms of technology, it’s now easier than ever to get into the lending business. Barriers are low, good lending solutions have all the needed functionality out of the box. And this is a big reason why overall, the competition in the lending field will continue to grow. New businesses join the race all the time and win users over by offering better interfaces, faster processing, more personal support and of course better interest rates. As a result, users are getting more demanding. On a high-level everything that’s going on is great everyone involved: for the industry, for the borrower, and for the lenders.