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Ross: Easy money and the rise of ‘neo banking’

Banks are entering a whole new era. It’s called neo banking. Because it’s so “neo.”

There is no imposing building with granite columns and marble floors. Instead, the branch office looks like a Starbucks with teller-istas.

You just sign over your paycheck, and suddenly you can buy things with a wave of the phone. As far as I can tell, you just look romantically at what you want to buy – and it’s yours!

You can even get loans. But it’s friendlier because neo banks don’t have loan officers who look at your income statement and say “Ha ha ha, you’re kidding!”

The day of the unfriendly bank is fast disappearing.

Even Amazon is supposedly considering checking account services. So the same company that sells you pretty much everything would know exactly how much you have to spend. Technology doesn’t get any smarter than that.

I even see one neo banking service advertising perks like giving you access to your paycheck two days early. That’s what we used to call a “payday loan.”

Which makes me wonder if these friendly neo banks could get too friendly.

Remember cash? Cash allowed even a dumb leather wallet to remind you — in real time — that you couldn’t afford something.

I’m confident your super-smart neo banking service will also have a way of reminding you when you can’t afford something. But I have a feeling it’ll be way later than your wallet would have.

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