Cryptocurrencies, sustainability and financial inclusion are the notable hot topics for the banking industry over the past year, as well as regulatory changes and the continued digital transformation of the sector. 

Joy web portrait

As this is the last editor’s blog of 2021, I have trodden a well-worn path of looking back over the past year’s articles that piqued the interest of the global banking community. The top three themes that dominated much of our reporting include: cryptocurrencies/blockchain; sustainability and ESG; and financial inclusion.

Here is an assortment of how we covered these, and other, topics over the past year:

  • DeFi: finance’s new era – Decentralised finance will completely shake up, and potentially even replace, the existing banking system.
  • Are banks ready for their green stress tests? – As the ECB and the Bank of England launch their first green stress tests, lack of data, poor disclosure and inadequate governance may get in the way of meaningful results.
  • Enabling banking for all – Any form of disability could potentially serve as a barrier to accessing financial services, if the right guidelines, procedures and technologies are not in place.
  • Behind the push to make banking more inclusive in MENA – The Middle East and north Africa has some of the lowest access to financial services in the world, but work is underway to modernise in the industry across the region.
  • China’s shadow banking sector pushed into the light – Beijing is looking to reduce the scope of risky shadow banking operations, yet the sector is vital to country's economy. How can regulators act without destabilising a key source of finance?
  • Is Evergrande the new Lehman brothers? – Many are wondering if the world is facing a rerun of the 2007–2009 global financial crisis, as China’s Evergrande teeters on the brink of collapse. The answer is probably not, but the implications for China’s economy are profound.
  • Private capital markets come of age – With investors increasingly struggling to generate substantial returns in the public markets and a growing constituency with private fundraising needs, all the ingredients are in place for continued private capital market growth.
  • Will the world return to ‘normal’ in 2022? – What ‘normal’ will look like post-pandemic is not easy to predict, as inflation, rising interest rates and quantitative easing tapering lead to greater uncertainty in the year to come.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular Editor’s blogs in 2021 also cover similar themes:

After six years, we are bringing to a close our Tech Talk video series, which aimed to highlight the seismic change that emerging fintechs were bringing to the industry. Some of them made it to ‘unicorn’ (valuation $1bn plus) status, such as Plaid, Klarna and Wise (previously TransferWise), while others have been acquired by banks and other established players. Most are still in the process of trying to change financial services for the better. Watch over 200 Tech Talks here.

Here are five of the most popular Tech Talks in the past year:

In place of the Tech Talk series, The Banker’s editors will be launching different podcast series – so watch this space in the new year.

Thanks to all our subscribers and loyal readers who have enjoyed our content throughout 2021. From the whole Banker team, we wish you all the best of success in 2022.

Joy Macknight is editor of The Banker. Follow her on Twitter @joymacknight

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