During 2018, while presenting our new Fintech product to different listeners, it was difficult for me to face the question of what would be the impact that Argentina’s economic situation could have on the growth and development of the new Fintech Industry? My doubts had their foundations; at that time a significant contraction in economic activity was expected, a depreciation of the exchange rate close to 100% was observed in the last year and inflation would reach its maximum since the 2001 crisis.
However, I could not stop showing my enthusiasm for the future of this new industry because I also find many reasons in favor. Above all, a central that takes all my attention: the collaboration between participants. If one has the possibility of observing the most mature Fintechs ecosystems in the world, such as in the US or Europe, a key characteristic is the cooperation between the interested parties. A clear example of this is Israel, where the stock exchange ceded an entire floor to banks to cover Fintech ventures. There the idea prevails that the sum between the interested parties is one of the keys for the healthy development of any ecosystem.
The collaboration in Argentina has taken giant steps in the last two years. The relationship between the 3 main agents (Private Sector, Public Sector and the Academy) has been consolidated continuously, not only between sectors but also between intrasectors. Here, a brief description:
In 2017 the Argentine Chamber of Fintech was founded, which proposes cooperation between companies and the creation of industry standards. In addition to this, in 2018, the first Fintech forum was held, where market benchmarks come together to discuss industry trends. Also, some banks are beginning to understand that cooperation with Fintech is a business model to follow and, as a result, in 2018 it was the year in which the first banks opened the APIs service as a first step towards open bank
The Central Bank of the Argentine Republic has shown itself as an ally of the Fintech industry; not only avoiding premature regulations to the sector but also coordinating the innovation table where regulators, Banks, Fintechs, Insurance, Telephone and different members of the ecosystem come together to discuss and propose future regulations.
Finally, every robust ecosystem must include in the equation the universities and business schools that are the ones that prepare the interpreters of the future. In 2018, the first Fintech programs were launched. In Argentina, the IAE Business School gave its first class Fintech for its students of the Master of Business Administration (MBA), while the University of San Andrés launched, together with the Argentine Chamber of Fintech, its first executive program Fintech.
It is true that the Argentine economic situation propose a challenge for this new industry, but I trust that collaboration and cooperation are the ways to face it. This demonstrates a long-term vision and the understanding that the Fintech industry does not depend on the current economic situation, but is here to stay.