Futurist sees digital platforms gaining ground in consumer credit

Well-regarded futurist and author Shawn DuBravac, PhD, addressed the consumer credit industry’s outlook with respect to digital technology’s impact on business models, customers and employees last month at AFSA’s 35th annual Independents Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

DuBravac, President of Astra Insights, is author of the New York Times bestseller Digital Destiny: How the New Ages of Data will Transform the Way We Work Live and Communicate.

Astra Insights advises companies and executives, including Chief Experience Officers (C x O), on market opportunities and industry strategy with respect to digital technologies. He said the consumer credit industry can take advantage of the trust it has built up over time with its customers. “You have the advantage of decades of trust with your customers and communities,” he said. “I’m optimistic that the consumer credit industry will adapt to digitization because of the hard work, grit, determination and willingness to do new things that are a part of its tradition.”

In responding to a question from the audience on the impact of fintech companies on consumer credit, DuBravac said traditional consumer finance companies offer a “differentiated level of service and experience.” “You need to ask yourselves how do we redefine what we do with respect to our core competencies,” he said. In his presentation, which explored the history of technology dating back to the 1800s right up to today’s hyperspeed 5G network capability, DuBravac offered guidelines going forward for the consumer finance industry.

He said the industry should explore new lending models which would allow it to expand into unique financial products. As an example, he cited the product of an online lender which offered customers a $25,000 line of credit available in incremental drawdowns of $5,000 each. Those drawdowns would be treated as separate small loans. He said the consumer credit industry should monitor Millennials’ attitudes toward technology. “The industry would have the basis for a more holistic consumer experience which would result in faster approvals and faster funding for customers,” he said.