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ccording to Statista, half of Americans bank using their mobile device. Online transactions, cybersecurity, block chain and digital technologies are impacting every area of banking innovation and transformation locally and across the globe.
Fintech has emerged as the fastest growing tech sector (Deloitte) and its approach to automating investment, insurance, and banking and financial services processes has changed the landscape of how money moves. The leading edge of finance is inexorably tied to developments in fintech, and companies are investing billions of dollars in its advancement.
Jacksonville has a long history as a banking and finance powerhouse with more than 20 major banks, insurance and investment firms on Forbes’ Global 500 List due to having no personal income and payroll taxes and a low corporate tax rate. Now the Jacksonville region is emerging as a leader in the fintech industry.
Throughout Northeast Florida, a collection of leading companies is creating a fintech ecosystem that is positioned for long-term success. The region has a strong technology base, a growing talent pool and a pro-business community that provides the environment for fintech firms to thrive. Among the ranks are major players like Jacksonville-based Black Knight and SS&C Technologies, SoFi and Deutsche Bank, who have experienced several expansion efforts in the region as of late.
Central to the area’s fintech focus is FIS, a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest fintech companies in the world. FIS recently announced the creation of 500 new high-wage jobs and $150 million in capital investment with the construction of a 300,000-square-foot headquarters along downtown Jacksonville’s riverfront (illustrated above).
FIS President and CEO, Gary Norcross, attributes “Jacksonville’s business and family-friendly climate” as key factors in attracting top talent to the company, and says that FIS is “committed to Jacksonville, home of our global headquarters, and [they] are excited to continue deepening [their] roots in the community.”
Unprecedented Growth Breeds Opportunity
The Wall Street Journal reported Jacksonville’s notable uptick in population compared to other cities its size, as well as larger metros like New York City that are traditional financial centers. State analysts also reported that Florida is expected to see its population increase by an average of more than 303,000 residents a year. This influx of talent is fueling growth across a variety of industries, particularly fintech.
In stark contrast to traditional financial meccas, Jacksonville boasts a way of life beyond compare. The city’s 1,000+ miles of shoreline and 200 average days of sunshine attract and inspire top talent, while a low cost of living fuels operational efficiencies.
Fintech companies of all sizes are leveraging the area’s growth, which is gaining national recognition:
- Second largest increase in residents in America from April 2020-February 2021 (LinkedIn’s Economic Graph Research)
- Smart City to Watch (StateTech Magazine)
- Top 10 city for workforce confidence (LinkedIn)
- Top U.S. city for women in tech (SmartAsset)
The Talent + Framework Are in Place
Jacksonville’s reputation as a fintech hub did not happen by accident — the region has been focused on creating the climate for fintech success for years. More than 60,000 financial services professionals reside in the area, offering deep expertise in banking, investments, insurance, mortgage and cybersecurity.
As the growth of the industry continues at a rapid pace, state and local stakeholders are invested in growing the fintech talent pool. The Northeast Florida Fintech Initiative, a partnership between Florida State College at Jacksonville and St. Johns River State College, will create technical certificate programs and grow talent in the region. The $3.6 million state grant fosters the development of training, employment and business recruitment programs to be powered by a business and industry leadership team of fintech companies who are infusing the skills, competencies and credentials that employers need. Curriculum will include blockchain, mobile applications, machine learning and cloud-based data management.
Upon the recent announcement of 300 jobs at its new Jacksonville operations center, mobile-first personal finance company SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said, “Jacksonville, from the start of our exploration, has been a clear frontrunner for talent, accessibility and offering an affordable cost of living.”
The Jacksonville region is a hub of the rapidly growing fintech industry. As home to one of the largest fintech companies in the world and a commitment to growing world class talent, Northeast Florida is ideal for fintech companies looking to grow and succeed.
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