最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

为什么说Facebook会成为金融服务业的一匹黑马?

对于业余爱好观察者来说,他们对金融服务业的理解无外乎就是银行、政府金融机构、金融科技创业公司以及推进创业公司(例如孵化器、加速器、沙盒、风投公司等)发展的整个生态系统。但是除了关注主流新闻报道,我们还会关注那些经常出现在大众视野的名字以及那些听起来似乎和“金融”挨不着边的名字——这里指的就是那些大型技术以及代码公司,而这些企业早先完全是被人们划分出金融服务业之外的,因为在消费者眼中,它们只是一些大家熟悉的技术创新者、手提电脑/苹果电脑制造商以及社交媒体巨头。

尽管这些公司已经很有名了,但他们在金融领域的业务推进却常常非常低调。今天在这篇文章中,我们就全球最大社交媒体巨头Facebook来聊一聊这个问题。目前Facebook已经为Messenger应用以及各行各业的专业人士制定了一个宏伟计划,可见这家对Messenger应用的期望已经不仅仅是一个聊天应用了,这背后的商业潜能可谓无限。

那么,Facebook将何时开始实施这项宏伟计划?计划的重要之处在哪?

首先,近期我们听到了很多关于Messenger的传言,据说它最近正在努力“瘦身”,为app朝着能够变现的方向转型发展做准备。早在2014年,扎克伯格就表示:“我们接下来几年的发展目标很明确,就是专注于不断成长,将全球每一个人都联系起来。只要我们的用户突破了10亿,20亿,甚至是30亿,我们的产品变现发展的方式自然会增多。”

Facebook的确是在按照既定策略走,该平台2015年月活跃用户达到了8亿人次,正朝着10亿的目标逐步逼近。等用户达到了10亿,真正有趣的就要开始登场了!2016年初《福布斯》就强调称,Facebook的目标是将Messenger打造成一款万能应用,用户直接通过Messenger就能够享受所有的金融服务,这样让其他的应用成为无关应用(同时,电话号码的用途也不仅仅只作为联系他人之用)。

2016年1月,Facebook的通讯产品副总裁David Marcus分享了一则关于2015年集锦和2016年展望的博客,并上传了一张有趣的信息图:

图片1
图片来源:2016年对Messenger的展望

除去惊为天人的应用扩展能力,这张信息图中很重要的一部分则是它的发展趋势部分,这部分信息似乎犹抱琵琶半遮面。可以说Messenger是教你如何将这些业务同用户联系起来的模型,那么很可能接下来的一件大事就是如何在应用内实现金融服务的功能。

Messenger再也不能仅仅只被视为一款聊天应用,或者看作是一个社交媒体平台,它还具备更多的功能。公司已将Messenger同它的核心Facebook平台剥离出来,并不断最大化扩充其能力,为未来的宏伟计划铺垫基础。

Marcus传达出来的信息还有一个有趣的部分,即公司对Messenger未来的展望。“人们参与事情的思维模式已经发生转变。对于Messenger,我们考虑的就是如何为用户提供金融类的服务,让用户购物更便捷(当然希望他们买的更多),预约打车,买机票,同客服沟通顺利无障碍。能在同一款应用上做所有的事情会方便得多,因为应用会记录你的最新交互操作,还有身份,用户无需再次登录,也不用为了单次需求下载一个个应用,同时还省了在应用间来回切换的麻烦。”

也许,Facebook一直以来都有一份整体规划蓝图

准确来说,Facebook走上商业与个人于一体的全能app的路上已经有一段时间了,首先就是它的一些兼并动作。2012年, Facebook收购了客户忠诚度方案提供商Tagtile。同年晚些时候,又收购了移动电商创业公司Karma,该平台专门用于为朋友家人挑选礼物。TechCrunch也曾报道过,收购的目的就是为了帮助Facebook在移动平台集聚往货币化方向发展的能力。再后来,Facebook又收购了一家个性化购物搜索引擎TheFind

据报道,大约有40%的成年人都拥有社交媒体账号,他们看到小伙伴们都在社交媒体上买东西、分享度假,于是他们也会学着去购物、分享度假。Facebook得天独厚的条件让它成为了能最快响应零售、电子商务的平台。

因为Facebook对商务感兴趣,也就无怪乎公司总会欢迎同支付相关的企业或个人展开合作。正如扎克伯格在1月份所说:“我们将会和所有支付相关的个人展开合作。就像苹果有苹果支付那样,这样在一个领域的完全创新,让交易变得简单,少了很多障碍。”

那么Facebook将如何进军金融领域?

当然,Facebook为Messenger成为一款商务产品已经规划出了一个宏伟蓝图,那么, 它和银行业务有什么关系?产品对银行来说有什么重要影响?

Messenger将成为一款移动钱包

首先,因为Messenger将要成为一站式购物平台。从长远看,这就意味着Messenger将会升级进化成为一款移动钱包,而且是一款功能齐全,且带有人工智能个人助手(姑且就称它为M),可以执行各种请求、完成支付任务等。

此外,作为往商业化发展之路的一部分,平台融合进一系列金融产品也没有什么特别的限制。假如Messenger的聊天程序找到并推荐了一件红色的圆翻领毛衣,就跟它按照用户的特定需求检索到一项贷款一样有用。最后,Facebook在2015年初收购了语音识别创业公司Wit.ai。2013年收购的语言翻译软件Jibbigo,为Facebook打通全球不同语言市场做好了铺垫。

Messenger将成为新一代PFM平台

Messenger将很有可能成为下一代PFM。要知道,作为第三方应用想要接入个人银行数据,请求及连接个人信用卡和借记卡是多么有难度的一件事(有一大批金融科技解决方案提供商都在靠获取的银行数据吃饭)。当用户向M发出请求,应用内置的人工智能助手就会取回用户数据,然后就像其他现代PFM平台和手机应用那样,生成一个操作仪表盘。因为2013年10月收购了数据分析公司Onavo,Facebook自然就有能力将个人的财务数据解读成一些有意义的模块。

近期,通过Messenger获取服务的客户当属 加拿大多伦多道明银行。据今年4月份报道,这家银行早在12月份就成为了全球首家为客户提供Facebook Messenger客户服务的银行。尽管从传统意义上来说,这仅仅只是个客户服务,但这是Messenger在通往成为金融服务提供商所迈出的其中一步。道明银行整合了Messenger最佳最简易的服务,客户只要登录Messenger,就能获取到一般产品和账户问题的解答。

通知是另一种跟踪记录个人消费的方式,Messenger正好可以为银行提供通知到消费交易情况的媒介,以及用户协议修改、条款及情况变化等各类重要信息的通知媒介。

Messenger将成为新一代市场借贷平台

那么,现在就让我们从PFM这种被动式的服务移步到一些更有趣的部分来看看。抛开它能做的一切事情,Messenger还很有可能成为一款替代型借贷解决方案平台。Facebook完全有财力和人力来为各大合作银行提供一个庞大的网络平台,让金融中间人能够将合作伙伴提供的可用金融产品数据整合到Messenger上。如下显示的是促成Messenger成为全新的金融产品市场平台的三点重要因素:

1. Facebook手中掌握了每一位用户的详细数据,他/她的兴趣爱好、操作行为特点等;

2. Messenger的用户数正逼近10亿大关,它不可能会选择通过市场放贷,因为Facebook完全有能力让Messenger自身实现这一切功能,而不会通过合伙人基金刺激贷款;

3. Facebook能够接入银行账户,也就能够一定程度上对用户的信誉度和经济状况进行评估,然后为那些申请贷款的用户提供更加精准算法后的贷款条件。

AutoGravity是一家主要做汽车信贷金融服务的公司。我们有幸在10月20日的2016年度硅谷FinDEVr大会一睹它的风采。 公司跟银行、金融服务公司以及受信任的汽车经销商都有合作,为用户提供汽车贷款服务。

值得强调的是,平台会给出准确的贷款条件评估,这样就能确保所提供的四个选择的安全保障。当用户选择了他们最适合的一项,合作代理商就会将用户选择的代码自动填入合同中,用户就能将新车开回家,最后贷款也是完全根据客户自身条件而定制的。

和AutoGravity相类似的是,Messenge可以自建一套囊括了金融机构、银行、汽车经销商及房地产中介等的网络,这样就能基于Messenger用户在聊天程序中提供的信息给这些机构提供真实交易数据。例如,回答一些需要特定出价的问题。当然,选择P2P借贷也是方法之一,因为用户基数基本上达到了10亿。

当然,最重要的是Messenger绝不会将银行拒之门外,如果银行能够通过一个更加用户友好和高度自动化的渠道为用户开通更便捷服务的话,用户就不再需要直接对接银行才能获取到金融服务。

用户习惯的改变是需要时间的,同时,银行也会坚守为客户提供专业、安全、稳定且有保障的服务承诺。但是如果银行推进了一种新的金融产品体现模式,它就需要更加努力推出让银行和客户都有正面评价的产品来。

For a casual observer, the financial services industry is mostly about banks, governmental financial authorities, financial technology startups and maybe a bit about the ecosystem that’s facilitating the growth of those startups (incubators, accelerators, sandboxes, VCs, etc.). But for someone who looks beyond popular news releases, quite different (and often repeatedly) names pop up in the background, and those are not ‘financial’ names at all – we are talking about large technology and code-first companies that were never before considered a part of the financial services industry. Consumers know them well as technology innovators, PC/Mac makers and social media giants.

Although well-known and quite public, in the financial space, these companies sometimes perform activities in stealth mode. For an illustrative purpose, let’s take a look at the biggest social media giant of all times – Facebook. The company has been having big plans for its Messenger App and professionals across industries started paying closer attention to the ever-expanding commercial capabilities of a former chat app.

When did Facebook start its journey toward a grand plan and why did it become important now?

One of the reasons some believe we started hearing more about the Messenger App lately is because it is zeroing down on a critical ‘mass’ required to start monetizing the app. In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg explained,“Our explicit strategy for the next several years is to focus on growing and connecting everyone in the world. <…> Once we get to being a service with 1 billion, 2 billion, 3 billion people, there are many clear ways that we can monetize.”

Loyal to its strategy, in 2015, it crossed 800 million monthly users, inching closer to the 1 billion mark, where all the fun was supposed to begin. As emphasized by Forbes earlier this year, in 2016, Facebook planned to make Messenger the “Everything App” by ensuring that users can access almost all businesses and services via Messenger, making other apps irrelevant (along with making a phone number irrelevant for contacting purposes).

In January 2016, David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook, has shared a blog post with highlights on 2015 and predictions for 2016, putting together an interesting infographic:

1

Image source: Here’s to 2016 with Messenger

One of the most important parts of this infographic (aside from mind-blowingly expanded capabilities) is the trends part, which hides a deeper message than it may appear – Messenger is a prototype of how the business is supposed to be conducted with customers and, probably, the next big thing in how some of the financial services will be delivered.

Messenger should not be seen solely as a chatting room or even part of the social media platform anymore – it’s much more than that and the company proved it by delinking the app from its core Facebook platform and widely expanding its capabilities and the vision for its future.

An interesting part of Marcus’s message was about the way the company sees the future of Messenger, “We’re seeing a paradigm shift in how people engage. At Messenger we’re thinking about how we can help you interact with businesses or services to buy items (and then buy more again), order rides, purchase airline tickets, and talk to customer service in truly frictionless and delightful ways. It is so much easier to do everything in one place that has the context of your last interactions, as well as your identity – no need to ever login – rather than downloading apps that you’ll never use again and jumping around from one app to another.”

Facebook probably had a master plan all along

To be accurate, the journey to becoming an all-in-one app connecting businesses and individuals has started a while ago with some interesting acquisitions. Back in 2012, Facebook acqui-hired a mobile loyalty, reward startup TagTile. Later the same year, the company also absorbed mobile commerce startup Karma, which makes apps for gifting friends and family. As was reported by TechCrunch, the purchase was aimed to help Facebook build up monetization prowess on mobile platforms. Later, there was also a personalized shopping search engine TheFind.

Given that roughly 4 in 10 adults with a social media account (39%) are reported to say that seeing other people’s purchases and vacations on social media makes them look into a similar purchase or vacation, Facebook is on the fast track to becoming the highest priority for retail/commerce businesses.

With regard to a commercial appetite of Facebook, it is no wonder that the company is open to collaboration with everyone who works with payments. As Zuckerberg shared in January this year, “We’ll partner with everyone who does payments. We look at the stuff that Apple is doing with Apple Pay, for example, as a really neat innovation in the space that takes a lot of friction out of transactions as well.”

How does all this translate into finances?

So, Facebook truly has grand plans for the Messenger as a commerce machine, but what does it have to do with banking and why is it important for banks at all?

Messenger as a mobile wallet

First of all, because Messenger aims to be a one-stop-shop. In the long-term, it means that Messenger may evolve into a mobile wallet with a highly sophisticated and heavily AI-powered personal assistant (maybe it will be M?) able to perform all kinds of requests and execute payments for those requests if they are required.

Moreover, there are no borders to incorporating a range of financial products as part of the commercial efforts as well. If Messenger’s chat bot can find and recommend a ‘red turtleneck sweater,’ it can be equally useful in finding a loan on particular conditions and for particular purposes vocalized by the user. At the end, Facebook has acquired a speech recognition startup Wit.ai at the beginning of 2015. Speech translation app Jibbigo acquired by Facebook in August 2013 could be a solution to enable the feature across countries/languages.

Messenger as a PFM platform

Messenger as the next generation of PFM is also a highly possible event. It’s never been easier for third parties to access personal banking data (a ton of FinTech solutions live on access to banking data) upon request and connection to credit/debit cards. AI-powered assistant within the app could retrieve personal data when a user ‘asks’ M to do so and shape it into a dashboard just like any modern PFM platforms and mobile application do. And since Facebook has acquired a data analytics company Onavo in October 2013, the company certainly has the talent to turn personal financial data into meaningful insights.

One of the recent examples of serving customers through Messenger is Canadian TD Bank Group, which in April this year was reported to become the became the first bank in the world to offer Facebook Messenger customer service in December. Although it is a customer service in the classic sense, it’s a step towards delivering financial services through the Messenger. TD Bank has integrated Messenger for optimal simplicity. Once on Messenger, customers can get help with general product and account questions.

Alerts are another way of keeping track of personal expenditures and Messenger could be a medium for banks to notify customers about transactions as well as changes made in user agreements, terms and conditions and other important information.

Messenger as the next generation of marketplace lending

But let’s move from ‘passive’ service as PFM to something more interesting – the opportunity for Messenger to become an alternative lending solution in addition to everything it can do now. Facebook has the financials and the manpower to invest in building a vast network of partner banks and FIs to integrate data on the available financial products of its partners into Messenger. There are three most important elements that would allow Messenger to become a marketplace platform for financial products:

1 Facebook has vast data on every user, his/her interests, preferences and digital behavioral hallmarks,

2 Messenger is closing on its first billion users – there will be no lack of a side that is willing to lend funds through marketplace should Facebook enable it instead of fueling loans with partners’ funds,

3 By having access to bank accounts, Facebook would be able to assess the creditworthiness and financial stability of the user to some extent and offer a more accurate calculation of conditions on which users would receive a loan.

AutoGravity is a digital marketplace for the auto financial space whose presentation the LTP Team had the pleasure to see at FinDEVr 2016 in Silicon Valley just a day ago. AutoGravity partners with banks and FS companies as well as trusted car dealerships to allow users to receive real car financing options on their platform.

It’s important to emphasize here that the platform gives an exact estimation of loan conditions with an opportunity to secure any of four offered options. As the user makes a choice of the most suitable option, the code of that option can be used at a partner dealership to autofill the contract and drive home with a new car and a loan on highly customized conditions.

Similar to AutoGravity, Messenger could build its own network of FIs and banks along with car dealerships, real estate agencies, etc., in order to be able to offer real deals based on information that Messenger users share with a chatbot within the app, for example, answering questions required for a tailored offer. Moreover, P2P lending is also an option given almost 1 billion user base.

The bottom line here is not that Messenger will push banks out of business, but the fact that users may not need to communicate with a bank to get a financial service if banks channel those services in a more efficient manner through a user-friendly and highly automated channel.

Certainly, customer habits always take time to transform and banks will always hold the promise of expertise, security, stability and safety, but if they do promote a new way of delivering a financial product, it may bear positive implications both for banks and for customers.


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