The evolution of Italian Fintech: projections for 2022

Fintech 4 January 2022

The two-year long medical emergency that the whole world is experiencing contributed to a deep change of our society under countless different points of view. In the foreground, according to ISTAT data, the majority of 2020-2021 investments have been dedicated to ecological transition and to the automation of digital processes. This implies that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed to the point of being incorporated in most financial activities, thus giving rise to an increased productivity, a shorter execution time and advanced analytical activities.

In this regard, the Italian Fintech ecosystem holds great potential that, however, still has room for improvement. A similar scenario can be found among AI solutions vendors, as well

To overcome this problem in 2022, the Bank of Italy and the Department of Economic Development have put forward two important solutions. The former published a survey about Fintech within the Italian financial system in 2021, displaying projections for 2022, as well. Meanwhile, the latter launched the Strategic Program for Artificial Intelligence (2022-2024) and it devoted €45 million for the Development of Technologies and Artificial Intelligence Applications, Blockchain and Internet of Things.

The research carried out by the Bank of Italy covers many areas to which the Fintech ecosystem applies, including investments, open banking and customer experience. Among other things, the study reveals that the expenditure in fintech technologies for 2021-2022 amounts to €530 million and it has increased when compared to the previous two-year period. Moreover, in 2019-2020, 3,1% of the fintech expenditure of the banking system was dedicated to the functioning of IT systems, while in the previous two-year period it amounted to 1,5%. 58% of total spending is represented by application interfaces and technological infrastructure (API) investments. Projects based on AI (including Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing) have increased in terms of expenditure, as well, mainly in digital lending, a digital credit service that incorporates operations such as creditworthiness evaluation and credit monitoring.

The €45 million of the Development of Technologies and Artificial Intelligence Applications, Blockchain and Internet of Things Fund conceived by the Department of Economic Development will be dedicated to the goal of promoting the competitiveness and the productivity of the economic and financial system of the country through technological innovation projects in 2022.

On top, as already mentioned, the Italian Government issued a Strategic Program for the Artificial Intelligence for the 2022-2024 period, which focuses on 3 main intervention areas that establish themselves in:

  • Reinforcement of skills and draw of talents for the development of an AI ecosystem in Italy;
  • Increase of funds for advanced research in AI (PhDs, experimentation sandboxes, construction of territorial hubs, etc.);
  • Incentives for the adoption of AI and its applications, both in public administration and in production systems in general (tax credit for STEM profiles recruitment – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

Last but not least, trends relating to Fintech services in 2022 are open banking, open payment, business Fintech and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) services.

As far as open banking is concerned, a fast-growing tendency of models based on digital identity can be noticed, a phenomenon that emerged in Italy with the introduction of SPID (Public System of Digital Identity). This trend will concern especially financial players, telecommunications and insurance, all fields that provide the establishment of information gateways based on APIs for the evidence of one’s identity.

With regards to open payment, an important progress of the Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP) is expected. Here, we are talking about services capable of carrying out online payments to their beneficiaries directly from the contributor’s bank account.

Eventually, as concerns the business Fintech world, services that will perform best in 2022 are Revenue Based Financing (RBF) and Asset Tokenization. The former includes a share of the company’s revenue percentage with the investors, while the latter is an activity that uses technology to make some physical products and objects available digitally, as well.

To sum up all this, we at modefinance -with a view to continuously improving the digitalization and automation processes of credit risk management and financial analysis services- have a clear vision of what awaits us in this 2022: above all, the ESG Rating assessments, smart lending and sector nowcasting.

The outlook for 2022 seems to indicate a growth in Fintech solutions, both in enterprises and banks, and among physical persons. A survey reveals that 61% of Fintech users is interested in these solutions for the management of their financial situation. As far as businesses are concerned, Fintech will have a key role in a more mindful and efficient economic and financial management. Also, what is becoming ever more important are ESG solutions. In regard to banks, 2022 will be the year of open banking and alternative lending.

Therefore, it can be concluded that 2022 will be the year in which AI, Machine Learning, financial sustainability and open finance, will be introduced in all processes, with a strong emphasis on the financial world.