London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, and the infamous Silicon Valley – those are the places that first come to mind when one thinks of the global fintech capitals. North Carolina, on the other hand, is usually associated with warm weather, and quiet, almost provincial, the pace of life. However, the world is changing, and the large, vibrant megapolises traditionally associated with fintech capitals are replaced by peaceful and welcoming cities, located far away from the noise and air pollution. And the case of North Carolina is the shining example of what the fintech centers will look like in the future.
From The Old North State To The New Capital Of Capitals
So how did the state that was famous for its barbecue, racing, and NBA team become the center of the cut-edge financial technology? The truth is, it did not happen overnight, and the processes leading up to it began as early as the 1970s. The former gold-rush center quickly became the place where the banking industry would strive. While the rest of the US states had hard regulations in place that prevented banks to operate across the state as well as operate multiple branches within the state borders, legislation in North Carolina was far more permissive. Banks there were able to meet the demand of the local farmers, and, therefore, flourish and multiply. However, despite the growing banking segment, North Carolina did not rank high on the national level, with the state’s largest bank ranked only 27th across the USA. The situation changed drastically when the CEO of NCNB took a risk to buy several banks in Florida, and, by doing that, marked the beginning of North Carolina’s journey towards being the country’s second-largest banking center.
But what does the growth of the banking sector have to do with the fintech boom that North Carolina is currently undergoing? To answer that, one needs to dive deeper into what the fintech services have to offer, and which industries they can cater to.
Fintech Is Not Everything, But Everything Touches Fintech
This might just be the best way to explain how extreme and extensive is the penetration of fintech into our lives. Originally created to make the financial services more effective, easy, and comprehensive, financial technologies have now penetrated all spheres of our lives. They are used to both conduct the financial operations, budget one’s resources, and facilitate income. Fintech is widely used by banks to provide their clients with an option to conduct certain operations digitally and monitor their income and spendings. On top of that, a growing number of online retailers, crowdfunding platforms, and PayU forex brokers are moving away from traditional banking in favor of digital finance. The latter provide an especially clear example of how fintech is penetrating every sphere of the global economy. PayU services were created to make transactions smooth, fast and less costly, with the software being capable of finding the best and least expensive gateway within seconds. It is, therefore, not surprising that Forex brokers, that highly appreciate the importance of timely processed and pocket-friendly transactions, that do not interrupt trading of the highly volatile foreign currencies.
Finally, as the cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity, the fintech industry that caters to it, also expands exponentially. With the outbreak of the global pandemic and the boom of the digitalized provision of goods and services, and almost every industry being forced to move online to meet the demand of the public that is now mostly based at home, the fintech is very likely to continue to take the world by the storm.
Strive To Be The First, Proud To Be The Second
It is probably safe to say that the main driver behind the success of the North Caroline fintech industry is the success and collaboration of a hopeful few. Former refugees from the big city’s financial giants and banks, this ambitious came to North Carolina when the state was undergoing an extreme identity crisis – and helped it forge a new identity – that of the entrepreneurial hub of the fintech industry. Carolina Fintech Hub and Queen City Fintech are often regarded as the most prominent organizations that boosted the surge of fintech. Their founders quickly realized that embracing entrepreneurs and start-ups will bring immense benefits to the state, and managed to convince the local authorities to think of it the same way.
The establishment of those organizations marked the beginning of what now seems like entrepreneur heaven: numerous projects are implemented to find raw tech talents and provide them with appropriate education and workplace, without having to use a penny from the public money. On top of that, an enormous number of start-up support schemes exist to facilitate competitiveness and innovation within the state. North Carolina has achieved what no other big financial center in the USA could – it ensured growth and development, all in the spirit of collaboration and joint effort, as opposed to the sense of competition, pressure, and anxiety, that other American fintech and financial capitals are usually defined by. Organizations, entrepreneurs, and even local authorities here are interested in seeing everyone doing their best, which is why an extensive number of conferences and workshops are held every year to provide every state’s talent with an opportunity to present themselves and attract potential investors.
It is still early to try and predict, with full confidence, the future of North Carolina as the global fintech capital. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19 and many fintech workers being forced out of their job placements, it seems like North Carolina, with its zero unemployment, encouraging business environment and low living costs will continue on its path towards becoming America’s number one fintech hub.