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The Empire Strikes Back. Banking | Technology | Platforms

Key Facts

  • New study “The Empire Strikes Back” from the Berlin COREinstitute analyzes the impacts of technological developments within the financial industry

  • Declining importance of fintech – trends of future stronger relevance of Technology companies like Google, Amazon, Alibaba

  • Financial institutions and decision-making: infrastructure service providers for technology companies versus new banking models of the digital platform economy


The technologically driven change in the financial industry is entering a new phase. While banks have developed a common digital ecosystem with fintechs over the past few years, technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba have been shaping new structures – a growing impact on the financial industry in the future.

Financial institutions have successfully mastered Fintech’s entry into the financial services market and have jointly developed a comprehensive digital ecosystem. With regards to efficiency, innovation and agility, banks have caught up with fintechs, and hold a competitive advantage in terms of regulation. On the other hand, the sharp decline in venture capital commitments in fintechs – a decline of 24% in the US from 2015 to 2016 – is the trend breakthrough of recent developments.

But there is no reason for complacency: Technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba are pushing forward the next phase of technological change, radically acting as platform-driven and harnessing the potential of data and artificial intelligence. The result of this is a far higher degree of autonomy and automation of machines; conversely, users at least partly waive their autonomy – ultimately having a stronger impact on the financial industry in the future.

Networking, data and platforms as cornerstones of technological developments

With the emergence of globally active technology companies, networking, data and platform approaches are also becoming drivers for market positioning in the financial services sector. “We are in a new phase of structural change, in which it is important for financial institutions not only to keep up, but to think ahead,” says Holger Friedrich, Managing Director of CORE.

Banks are thus faced with a directional decision. They either serve as an infrastructure service provider for technology companies, or they redefine their role in the face of digital ecosystems fundamentally and thus enter into “banking beyond banking”.

An ambitious vision of a technology-driven banking business

This creates new business potential for financial institutions including changes in competitive structures (bid placement, interfaces, data analysis) as well as the possibility of new products and services, such as trust and identity services. The prerequisite for this is the future integration of technology competence as a key pillar in the financial institutions.

As a result, the vision of banks as technology platforms takes shape. Financial institutions act as a guarantor for the security of digital goods, values and data – as a neutral partner for people and companies, independent of state and technology companies.

The whitepaper for download is available here: https://core.se/fileadmin/WhitePapers/w1_COREinstitute_Whitepaper_The-Empire-Strikes-Back_EN.pdf

About the COREinstitute

The COREinstitute is a think tank studying the dynamics and systematics of technologically driven transformations in industries that put emphasis on IT with regard to value creation. In order to shape the changes of technology, we analyze the cause and effects of complex IT transformations and develop solutions together with decision-makers from within the industry, politics, and science. The results of our research are provided to the broader public as comprehensive publications, individual studies, and lectures.

Contact person:

Dr. Mirko Schiefelbein



Tel +49 30 263 440 259

Mob +49 172 6396 459

Fax +49 30 263 440 249