Lael Brainard: Where do banks fit in the Fintech stack?

Speech by Ms Lael Brainard, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at the Northwestern Kellogg Public-Private Interface Conference on "New Developments in Consumer Finance: Research & Practice", Evanston, Illinois, 28 April 2017.

We can learn a lot from the evolution of smartphones as we try to envisage where the fintech ecosystem-and banks' role within it-might be heading in the future.  Smartphones have ushered in an age when different companies can easily work with each other's products to seamlessly provide services to consumers. Today I want to reflect on what we might learn from that model about the increasingly interconnected world of financial services. 

On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, a Wired.com article revealed that even Steve Jobs hadn't predicted the smartphone's potential as a platform.  Apple was just trying to design an iPod that made phone calls. Today, the average American spends five hours a day on their phone, unlocking it an average of 80 times daily. Even the Supreme Court has noted that smartphones are now "such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy."