Stessa Cohen and Kristin Moyer here. Financial social networks (FSNs) have been struggling of late, as evidenced by things like regulatory challenges, the exit of Zopa from the US market and others. At the same time, banks have been struggling to incorporate Web 2.0 and social computing strategies into the fabric of their business model. Meanwhile, a new breed of social computing vendor has emerged in retail banking: social computing vendors. These vendors provide social computing applications and widgets built expressly for banks, and often look more like blogs or social networks.
Banks could find their way into social computing by partnering with FSNs as social computing vendors. For example, SmartyPig is a social computing vendor partners with other banks, which then provides the actual bank account and servicing. Wesabe is already partnering with the Telegraph (UK) newspaper. FSNs (for example, Prosper, Lending Club and others) could find their way out of regulatory challenges by partnering with banks and providing financial services applications and widgets.
Banks may be more receptive to this idea than they have been in the past, particularly given an understanding of the need to adopt social computing and a financial market that provides few growth opportunities.
Don’t be surprised if, in the near future, you log into your account and see the logo of a previously-focused FSN that is now partnered with your bank as a technology vendor.
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.