32 Photo: Pixabay via Pexels. SONJA KELLY The ‘Strange Bedfellows’ Myth: How Fintechs and Financial Institutions Can Partner for Mutual Benefit—And Greater Financial Inclusion The classic narrative in tech-meets-tradition stories is essentially adversarial: efficiency gains vs jobs lost, algorithms vs people. It might be natural to expect that the rise of fintech—technology-enabled financial services—would involve conflict and clashes between the fintechs and the established players in what is, after all, a famously conservative industry. But in our report about fintech partnerships with financial institutions, the Center for Financial Inclusion  and the  Institute of International Finance  found the opposite. Despite real differences in organizational cultures, both the fintechs and the traditional financial institutions we interviewed remained laser-focused on the huge potential upside of merging the best of their respective worlds. As researchers, we were specifically interested in such partnerships’ potential to expand financial inclusion. The advantages to the players themselves are actually easy enough to see. Financial institutions typically have established brands and large customer bases. Fintechs, meanwhile, have technological expertise and a culture of rapid innovation. By teaming up with fintechs, financial institutions get the expertise necessary to improve product offerings, increase efficiency and lower costs in a way that might not be practical otherwise. In fact, the financial institutions we interviewed estimated that it would take them three to four times the resources to develop that same technological capacity in-house, assuming they could do it at all. For their part, the fintechs