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Banks and fintech are best of frenemies in CEE

Banks in emerging Europe are touting their fintech programmes and credentials, but is the enthusiasm reciprocated by the startup community?




The last two years have seen a seismic shift in the relationship between banks and fintechs across the globe, and central and eastern Europe is no exception.

Where until recently fintechs were boasting of their ability to put banks out of business and banks were viewing the newcomers as dangerous disruptors, today both sides are starting to appreciate the benefits of working together. 

“Fintechs have realized that it’s not that easy to kill a bank,” says Michal Smida, founder of Czech e-commerce credit provider Twisto. “In our region banks are doing a pretty good job, and people like them. And none of the fintechs can offer the full service to clients that banks can.”Tudor Stanciu, co-lead of Fintech Camp in Bucharest, says most startups in Romania have accepted that collaboration rather than competition is the way forward. 

“Dealing with other people’s money is a very sensitive business, and you need the level of trust that traditional brands have,” he says.

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