While the average interest rate for savers in the United States is around 0.37 percent, tech company Apple will now offer savings accounts with an interest rate of over 4 percent. “Apple doesn’t need the money, but I can well imagine that it wants to bind customers more firmly,” says economist Edin Mujagic.
podcast | ‘Banks are becoming less and less necessary’
Mujagic mainly looks at the technical aspect of what those customers deliver. ‘The gold of the future is data, data about your customers helps with that. Apple has about 125 million users in the US, while more than 330 million people live there. So there is still something to be gained for that.’ The fact that Apple now wants to enter the financial markets will be a shock to the traditional banks, Mujagic thinks. ‘Banks will have more and more competition from non-traditional corners.’
The economist proposes a scenario in which banks become ‘less and less necessary’. ‘Payments are already largely handled outside banks, and nowadays you can also take out a mortgage loan with non-banks.’ The situation has therefore completely changed for banks. ‘They come from a time when it was fairly easy to make a profit, because people didn’t know about alternatives and switching was very difficult. But that has completely changed,’ says the economist.
Not only the financial sector could be affected by these changes. ‘Banks have traditionally been a kind of lifeline of our economies. And when we talk about the economy, it’s about money that rolls around and money that we borrow to spend. Both initially went through banks, which is now less and less the case.’ Consumer behavior in the field of money will change as a result, Mujagic expects. ‘It is now much easier to borrow money from the capital market, instead of a bank. That also means something for a bank’s business operations.’
It is good news for citizens, says Mujagic. ‘You shouldn’t be surprised if a bank is taken over by a non-banking institution in the future.’