Last week it seemed that almost daily Shopify was announcing something from their annual summit. This year, the big hit was Shopify Balance, a three-product line that includes a bank account, card and rewards program for Shopify users. While many were surprised by this announcement personally, I felt like saying it’s about time.

When I look at the SME banking landscape it can be pretty bleak. Banks don’t have good solutions for these customers, and while some amazing products are entering the market like Toronto’s North One, to-date the innovation still hasn’t reached market share. When I look at this from a numbers perspective it’s a real head-scratcher for me. According to the BDC, there are almost 1.1 million SMEs in Canada employing close to 7 million people. To me, those numbers are nothing to laugh at, it’s a good addressable market, and let’s face it: everyone needs a banking solution. So, why is this market is largely ignored by the big banks? I wish I had a magic wand to answer that question but unfortunately I don’t.

This is where FinTech companies are starting to thrive. Any FinTech worth their salt can see this is a decent-sized market, not only in Canada but globally. There is an opportunity here to create new products and services to better the lives of these SME’s. They are seeing the opportunity in this market and are wanting to tackle the challenge head-on. I’m positive that as SMEs themselves, many have had to tackle this banking challenge personally and have an understanding of what it takes to create good products. To me, that makes the best kind of entrepreneur, one that understands the challenge and wants to fix it.

The revolution of SME banking is upon us, and it’s up to the challenger banks and FinTechs to take the lead on this one. Yes, I realize I’m being negative towards large FI’s but the time is now for them to step up as well. If they can’t create the products someone else will. As an FI it’s key to remember that just because there are new and potentially threatening new entrants into the ecosystem doesn’t mean they are foes. Make these challengers your friends, partner with them and learn from their agility. When it comes to banking, customers are at the centre of everything and delivering the right products at the right time is key. So, I challenge you all to be more like Shopify, create the right solutions for the problems and put your SME customers at the centre of this line of business.

Lover of all things Tech, innovation and ecosystem. FinTech Advisor, Marketer & Canadian Tech champion.