The Silicon Valley Bank Collapse: Challenges and Opportunities in the Money Transfer Industry?  April 27, 2023

Silicon Valley (SVB) was the go-to bank for many tech startups and its recent fall has left a sense of uncertainty within the community, with many wondering if this will impact their own banks. In this article we’ll focus on the aftermath of SVB’s collapse, exploring what it means for the industry and the opportunities it offers for innovation and advancement in the payments and remittance spaces. 

First, let’s backtrack to how this happened in the first place, and explore the warning signs. The foreshadowing of SVB’s downfall began with their investment in treasury bonds which later hit them with a major blow as interest rates spiked up in an attempt to slow down inflation. The unprecedentedly sharp increase in withdrawals outnumbered their deposits as venture capitalists were investing less in startups whilst customers were withdrawing their funds at an accelerated pace. This made matters worse for SVB, as they had to provide the funds to compensate for the loss, and in desperation, they sold their bonds at a much lesser value, resulting in a huge loss of $1.8 bn.  

What effect has this had on the money transfer industry?  

Challenge #1: Slower Operations and Increased Costs 

SVB’s collapse caused considerable hindrances for payroll, resulting in delayed or unpaid payments to employees. This also may have led to a shortage of staff and disruptions to money transfer companies’ day-to-day operations, leaving businesses understaffed and unable to resolve customer issues or complaints.  

As a result of these setbacks, customers may have experienced missed or delayed transfers, which must have had a serious impact on the customer’s trust and confidence in the money transfer market. Businesses may have suffered from a decline in transaction volumes and revenue slowdowns as a result. 

Solution #1: Rebuild Customer Relationship 

Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) must win back customer trust. They can achieve this by investing in a secure and scalable technology platform that is built on a robust infrastructure. Additionally, offering a range of services beyond simply money transfers (e.g. utility bill payments, wallet transfers, airtime etc), can also help gain customer trust.

MTOs can also strive to offer even more competitive rates and lower transaction fees, which not only attracts new customers but helps retain trust with existing ones. Cost reduction can happen by investing in technology that automates processes and compliance procedures and opens up new revenue-sourcing channels such as mobile apps and online portals. 

Challenge #2: Difficulty for Immigrant Communities 

The remittance market thrives hugely on transactions by immigrants who send money to their home countries. 

With the exit of some smaller players, larger companies can gain more bargaining power to increase the costs of fees and charges; this burden is then passed onto the end customers, making it more difficult for the latter to send money to their loved ones.  

Solution #2: This problem may, in fact, prompt a change in customer behaviour. For example, challenging circumstances can often push people to explore alternate routes which they may have been hesitant to use before, such as mobile money. This may result in traditional banks losing some of their dominance over digital banks, allowing the latter to gain market share, especially as they often have lower fees and are more convenient.  

In addition, digital banks are continuing to gain ground in the money transfer market; this may likely continue as more people become tech-savvy and embrace its benefits. It is crucial for MTOs and digital banks to evolve and adapt to meet customers’ changing needs by monitoring the market and consistently updating their marketing strategy. 

Challenge # 3: Tighter Regulation 

The Federal Reserve introduced a new program to help tackle instability and safeguard companies impacted by SVB’s downfall. Similarly, this could inspire money transfer regulators to also introduce tighter rules and regulations around monitoring and tracking transactions using reliable technology platforms. 

However, there are some downsides as well, including a slowdown in operations and higher costs. A rise in compliance expenses may also result in companies having to exert more money to invest in new technology or additional staff to comply with regulations. This is especially challenging for smaller companies that may not have sufficient funds. It can also lead to increased delays in transactions as agents and companies need to perform additional checks. 

Solution #3: Despite these challenges, this could in fact improve compliance practices in many companies. With reliable technology platforms to enforce transactional monitoring and process automation in place, companies can reduce the risk of fraud and improve their security measures. All of these improvements will aid in strengthening the money transfer industry and allow it to become more reliable than ever. 

The Outcome for the Industry: Innovation Opportunity  

Despite the challenges brought about by the recent instability in the payments and money transfer industries, this situation can also stimulate growth opportunities. 

As areas of weakness within businesses are revealed, a better understanding of how to improve processes and systems will also become apparent. In addition, the retreat of some tech companies will provide opportunities for new players to enter with fresh ideas, products and services. Simultaneously, it encourages industry players to collaborate in finding solutions as each can provide their area of expertise to resolve the problem, creating beneficial progress.  

RemitONE and other tech providers can help companies affected by the SVB collapse. 

Don’t miss out on industry insights – join our community of professionals and be the first to hear about trending topics, exciting events and more! 

Contact to find out more. 

Share this article: