How do financial professionals work with technological visions of the future of banking? Such visions are prompted by the technology sub-sector known as FinTech, a broad phenomenon of start-ups and technological innovations aimed at financial services markets, characterised by claims that banking could be radically different. Drawing on pragmatic studies of finance and Cornelius Castoriadis’s theory of creative imagination, this paper explores the imaginative limits of technology innovation in established banks. Through analysis of semi-structured interviews with banking and FinTech professionals, observations at industry events, and analysis of documents obtained from banks, the findings highlight an interplay between dominant vernaculars of ‘strategic value’ and organisational imaginaries of traditional banking. This interplay delimits the boundaries of technological imagination through reshaping the moral and temporal claims of FinTech disruption discourse. This entails a move from the moral modality of what should be, found in FinTech disruption narratives, to a modality of what can be; a shift from the dramatic narratives of changing powerful structures, drawing on the discursive repertoires of social movements and religious myths, to the non-heroic, pragmatic expectations of the art of the possible.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 3 December 2021.
- Value creation