That Bizum reaches 15 million users with only seven employees is a clue of what awaits the bank
It is the fintech giant that destroys a dwarf squad. The seven employees of Bizum have managed to conquer more than 15 million users in March 2021 and they want to get to 20 million before the year is out, like they explained those responsible recently.
Bizum, be careful, it does not compete with the banks, but according to those responsible it is in fact “a joint project of the Spanish banking system” and it has become an essential part of an expected but no less spectacular transition. Spanish banks lose weight –20,000 offices and 100,000 fewer workers, terrible news for the world of employment— and clients abandon the physical deal to carry out all their procedures and payments online. Bizum has become a catalyst for that particular revolution.
It doesn’t take many employees to conquer (a little) the world
Less than a year ago our colleague Gonzalo Toca analyzed the present and especially the future of Bizum. He did it with a deep text in which he discovered how, for example, in June 2020 the company had been in the red for four years.
That, of course, is not always a worrying sign. Look at Amazon if you don’t believe me. In 2013 the company had been changing the world for almost 20 years and we did not realize: they did not earn money (or hardly did), but on Wall Street they kept betting on Bezos and his vision. They were right, of course.
It is impossible to know if the analogy with Bizum is total, but the progress of the company is certainly remarkable. Takeoff in 2016 was difficult, but it took advantage (among others) of the turning point marked by mobile payments. Apple Pay would arrive two months later in Spain, and five years later, paying by mobile is much more the norm than the exception.
That was a clear sign that things were changing in the banking world. The traditional customer who visits the bank branch is giving way to the one who performs almost all his operations on a computer or (increasingly) on his mobile.
The pandemic has not helped the traditional model. As in so many other sectors, “physical” activity has been reduced, and this has contributed to the fact that banks do not stop closing branches. Employment Regulation Records are a sad reality for a sector that is being hit by the closure of branches.
Since 2008 the sector has lost 100,000 jobs, and compared to the 46,000 branches that existed before the crisis, today the Bank of Spain account less than 23,000. The bank is trying to cut costs, and the transition to a digital, mobile and online banking model is an effective way to do it.
That, of course, generates clear inattention issues especially in that “forgotten Spain” that already had problems accessing a bank branch and now has it even more complicated.
The other 180,000 Bizum employees
Giants like Bizum certainly accelerate that transition, but they do it with surprisingly small templates. It should be clarified that although the Bizum team has seven people (in its official website they only put face to six of them), in reality it is nourished by the entire technological and human infrastructure of the banks with which it collaborates. You could say that it rests on the shoulders of (other) giants.
Bizum is almost a layer that is placed above all banks and that allows operating and making payments to each other is now easier than ever, but Bizum’s clients are clients of banks: without the latter, Bizum could not exist.
Thus, the approximately 180,000 employees in the banking sector (data 2019, Banco de España) are to a certain extent Bizum employees, because without them the entire financial network on which the service is based would not be possible.
Even so, it is still revealing what Bizum’s small staff is achieving in the fintech segment. Startups like her They tend to focus on a single financial product or service, but they implement it superbly, reducing operating costs at both ends of the transaction and improving the user experience.
In fact, their solutions are usually a demonstration of that future in which machines and algorithms substitute to humans in various professional fields. The fear it’s patent, but there are many experts who of apocalypse, nothing: what there will be is a transformation of the labor market.
That’s probably not too comforting for the thousands of employees who are no longer on the bank staff they used to work with, and in fact this sector is subject to one of the biggest transformations in the market, and mobile payments and services such as Bizum are joined by potential revolutions such as cryptocurrencies that seek to displace the bank as an intermediary.