Press Release

Global banks turn to fintechs to cut operational costs and pursue innovation, Finastra research reveals

Finastra survey, produced in collaboration with East & Partners, indicates that banks are investing heavily in fintech partnerships and digitalization to help them adapt to customer and regulatory demands

London, UK – April 20, 2023 – Finastra research reveals that fintech partnerships are a critical part of a bank’s strategy, with 3 in 4 global banks planning to connect with an average of 3 fintechs in the next 12-18 months. The largest proportion of respondents want to plug into a platform of integrated fintech solutions (56%), with only 6% preferring to build capabilities in-house. This is particularly prevalent in Europe, where this is 73% and 5% respectively.

The research, conducted by East & Partners, finds that the core motivations of global respondents to integrate fintech solutions is reducing operational costs (46%), deploying new technology with greater ease (43%), and aligning more closely with evolving compliance needs (37%).

Digital transformation remains a priority, with global institutions investing an average of $367.6 million in transformation in 2023. European banks are investing substantially more, at an average of $886 million. However, while global respondents say they have digitized 47% of their digital processes on average, only 1 in 5 feel they are ahead on their digital journey (20%), and 1 in 2 (54%) believe they are behind. This is substantially lower in the Middle East, where only 12% feel they are ahead and 62% say they are behind.

The research was conducted amongst 783 interviewees at 260 banks in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and the Americas, as well as 393 interviews with North American community markets banks and financial institutions. The findings explore the current appetite in the marketplace for fintech investment and integration, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

Other insights include:

  • Banks are using fintechs to enhance the customer experience – when searching for a new fintech partner to improve their customer offering, global banks are prioritizing online portals / banking channels (55%), transparency across processes, such as providing the customer with real-time updates on onboarding progress (45%) and improving end-to-end connectivity and value-add services (44%).
  • Organizational ESG priorities vary globally – reducing their own carbon emissions is the primary ESG goal for 49% of global banks, followed by board and management alignment on sustainability initiatives (46%). These stats are similar for banks in the Middle East. In Europe, a larger proportion (74%) are prioritizing reduction in carbon emissions, followed by settling on definitions and terms (67%). In APAC, the main priorities are securing longer-term funding internally (63%) and board and management alignment on sustainability initiatives (61%).
  • Appetite for green lending continues to soar – 3 out of 4 global banks plan to increase their exposure by more than 16% in the next 12-18 months or more. The main barriers banks face in relation to ESG are:
    • The lack of ESG products being delivered by fintechs that banks can offer to corporates (40%).
    • Keeping pace with rapidly evolving regulatory compliance requirements (20%).

“In an environment characterized by uncertainty, high inflation, fluctuating interest rates and recessionary risks, banks are under an increasing amount of pressure to drive operational costs down while continuing to improve how they serve their customers,” said Isabel Fernandez, EVP Lending at Finastra. “Our survey demonstrates the recognition from banks that they cannot navigate these waters alone. They are instead opting to partner with fintechs, with a preference for plugging into a platform of integrated fintech solutions, to help them to adapt quickly while reducing costs.

“The research also shows that ESG is continuing to expand throughout a bank’s internal operations and external offerings. At Finastra, we champion the idea that finance is open. Whether through our open platform for collaboration and innovation – – or our belief in open technology, mindset and culture, we are helping banks future-proof their offerings and drive a better future for the communities they serve.”

"Major inflection points in recent years have had, and are still having, a dramatic impact on how financial services is evolving,” said East & Partner Global Head of Markets Analysis, Martin Smith. “This is forcing institutions to reconsider how they manage risk, increase their agility, and fast-track innovation to evolve with new demands. We partnered with Finastra to better understand and showcase how banks are adapting to this environment. We believe that despite the challenges facing global banks, the industry’s focus on collaboration and driving ESG initiatives forward, highlighted by the research, will ultimately have great benefits for financial institutions and their customers, today and in the future.”

Access the full reports and findings here:

Global report – Build a formula to win: Orchestrating digital transformation in corporate and commercial banking

How financial institutions can win in North American Community Markets: Digital transformation

ESG: The new playbook for financial institutions

Some percentages sum to more than 100 due to multiple responses from interviewees.

Survey methodology

  • East & Partners conducted 783 interviewers, including 250 interviews with banks’ ESG heads, at 260 major banks of multiple tiers globally, coupled with 393 North American Community Markets banks.
  • The markets covered are: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Germany, France, UK, Nordics, UAE, Gulf States and North America, including North American Communities Markets.
  • The respondents are Corporate and International Banking (CIB) Heads, CTOs and Heads of ESG within the banks.
  • The average asset size of the banks surveyed is $344.5 billion.
  • All interviews were conducted directly over Teams or Zoom by an accredited East interviewer. Fieldwork was executed over an eight-week period concluding in January 2023.


For further information please contact:

Sofia Romano
Senior PR Manager, EMEA
T: 07552865009

About Finastra

Finastra is a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, and launched the leading open platform for innovation,, in 2017. It serves institutions of all sizes, providing award-winning solutions and services across Lending, Payments, Treasury & Capital Markets and Universal Banking (Retail, Digital and Commercial Banking) for banks to support direct banking relationships and grow through indirect channels, such as embedded finance and Banking as a Service. Its pioneering approach and commitment to open finance and collaboration is why it is trusted by ~8,600 institutions, including 90 of the world’s top 100 banks. For more information, visit

About East & Partners

East & Partners is a leading specialist business banking market research and analysis firm. The firm’s core expertise is in the provision of analysis and advisory services tailored for the commercial, business, and institutional banking markets across Asia Pacific, Australasia, Europe, and North America.

The delivery of accurate quantitative analysis on businesses exploding demand for sophisticated transaction, FX, debt, treasury, investment and advisory banking services and products has been uniquely addressed by East's "bottom up" research methodologies since 1987, based on many thousands of customer interviews with CEOs, CFOs, treasurers, and business owners.

East's multi-client demand side research and consulting work has enabled the firm to partner virtually every major domestic and international bank present in the geographies the firm operates in.

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