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How Do Banks Interact with Fintech Startups?


  • Lars Hornuf
  • Milan F. Klus
  • Todor S. Lohwasser
  • Armin Schwienbacher


The increasing pervasiveness of technology-driven firms that offer financial services has led to growing pressure on traditional banks to modernize their core business activities. Many banks tackle the challenges of digitalization by cooperating with startup firms that offer technology-driven financial services (fintechs). In this paper, we examine which banks typically collaborate with fintechs, how intensely they do so, and which form of alliance they prefer. Using hand-collected data covering the largest banks from Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, we provide detailed evidence on the different forms of alliances occurring in practice. We show that banks are significantly more likely to form alliances with fintechs when they pursue a well-defined digital strategy and/or employ a chief digital officer. Moreover, in line with incomplete contract theory, we find that banks more frequently invest in small fintechs but often build product-related collaborations with larger fintechs.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Hornuf & Milan F. Klus & Todor S. Lohwasser & Armin Schwienbacher, 2018. "How Do Banks Interact with Fintech Startups?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7170, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7170

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    Cited by:

    1. Janina Harasim, 2021. "FinTechs, BigTechs and Banks—When Cooperation and When Competition?," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 14(12), pages 1-16, December.
    2. Wei Yang & Qiuxia Chen & Qiuqi Guo & Xiaoting Huang, 2022. "Towards Sustainable Development: How Digitalization, Technological Innovation, and Green Economic Development Interact with Each Other," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(19), pages 1-17, September.
    3. Holzmayer, Florian & Schmidt, Sascha L., 2020. "Dynamic managerial capabilities, firm resources, and related business diversification – Evidence from the English Premier League," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 132-143.
    4. Sharina Tajul Urus & Intan Salwani Mohamed, 2021. "A Flourishing Fintech Ecosystem: Conceptualization and Governing Issues in Malaysia," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 11(3), pages 106-131, December.
    5. Klus, Milan Frederik, 2020. "From signalling to endorsement: The valorisation of fledgling digital ventures [Vom Signalisieren zur Unterstützung: Die Aufwertung junger digitaler Unternehmen]," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 3/2020, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    6. Tianlei Pi & Haoxuan Hu & Jingyi Lu & Xue Chen, 2022. "The Analysis of Fintech Risks in China: Based on Fuzzy Models," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 10(9), pages 1-13, April.
    7. Xia, Yanchun & Qiao, Zhilin & Xie, Guanghua, 2022. "Corporate resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of digital finance," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    8. Chen, Zhen & Rossi, Roberto, 2021. "A dynamic ordering policy for a stochastic inventory problem with cash constraints," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    9. Ebrahim Mohammed Al-Matari & Mahfoudh Hussein Mgammal & Mushari Hamdan Alosaimi & Talal Fawzi Alruwaili & Sultan Al-Bogami, 2022. "Fintech, Board of Directors and Corporate Performance in Saudi Arabia Financial Sector: Empirical Study," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(17), pages 1-23, August.

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    More about this item


    fintech; strategic alliance; make; buy; or ally; entrepreneurial finance; banks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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