What These 10 Holiday Movies Teach Us about Fintech


If you plan on binge watching holiday movies in the next few weeks (or if you have been since October), here’s something to think about. Did you know that many of these films come with lessons for the fintech industry?

Here are some films you may want to watch over your winter break, along with some of the wisdom they hold.

Home Alone (1990)

In this movie, Kevin McCallister finds himself left at home without any adults to help him carry out daily tasks and defend himself against burglars. In the same way, many customers are conducting their banking activities from home on their own devices. The only tools they have to successfully conduct banking activities are a strong password and your bank’s user-friendly design.

Lesson: Don’t make your customers feel at home alone. Provide them with tools they need to successfully conduct everyday banking tasks from your app.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

After George Bailey contemplates suicide during a time of financial instability, his guardian angel comes to show him all the ways in which he has made a difference in the lives of others. In the end, he begs his angel to give him his life back. After he does, his community rallies around him to help him regain financial stability. The current economy is impacting firms across banking and fintech differently. Every organization has a storm to weather.

Lesson: Pay attention to what’s truly important in life and maintain a focus on community, especially in the midst of economic turmoil.

Family Stone (2005)

When a woman from the big city, Meredith, accompanies Everett, her boyfriend, to his childhood home for Christmas, they both discover that they aren’t right for one another. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Everett and Meredith’s sister Julie are falling for each other. Keep your bank or fintech partners in mind while watching this one.

Lesson: Finding the right bank or fintech partners can be a struggle. However, it is worth conducting proper due diligence to find the right partner before committing.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Toy salesman Scott Calvin is unexpectedly forced to become Santa Clause after the original Santa Clause falls off his roof. After spending much of the movie in denial and resisting his new role as Saint Nick, Scott Calvin ultimately accepts his new role, and everyone is better off because of it. Has your organization ever had to make a similarly drastic pivot?

Lesson: When the needs of the customer evolve, so should your business. Being able to pivot to meet customer expectation not only benefits end users, it will also be good for your bottom line.

Die Hard (1988)

When New York City Policeman John McClane visits his ex-wife at a holiday party on Christmas Eve, terrorists attempt to take over the building and John realizes that he is the only one who can save everyone. Whether you can see the fraudsters or not, everyone deals with them on a daily basis.

Lesson: You are responsible for creating the first line of defense between your customers and cybercriminals.

Jingle All the Way (1996)

In this holiday movie, Howard Langston tries to impress his son by giving him the season’s hottest toy, the Turbo-Man, for Christmas. The toy is almost sold out, however, and Howard goes to great lengths to compete with another father to get the toy. Ultimately– and only after proving himself a hero– Howard gets the Turbo-Man toy to give to his son in time for Christmas. While the customer acquisition race isn’t as competitive as a war over the Turbo-Man toy, it may seem like a battle at times.

Lesson: There will always be competition between and among banks and fintechs. And just like Howard’s fight for Turbo-Man, fighting to gain customers takes sacrifices and ultimately may require your organization to prove itself a hero to the customer before winning them over.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

The Grinch, who hates Christmas, tries to take the joy away from the townspeople of Whoville by stealing their presents and other Christmas paraphernalia. Even after he does so, however, he hears the townsfolk joyfully celebrating Christmas, despite the lack of presents, food, and decorations. In the end, the Grinch realizes that Christmas is more than presents, tinsel, and bows. Just as the Grinch discovered there is more to Christmas than the money-making aspects of it, perhaps we can all look beyond our bottom lines this season to discover how we can better serve our target market.

Lesson: Perhaps there is more to fintech than just pandering to populations that seem the most profitable. Look for ways to benefit to others, even if they may be a net-zero opportunity.

Any Hallmark Christmas special

Many Hallmark holiday movies seem to share a similar premise. A big-city girl inherits a vineyard or a bed and breakfast in a small town. During her visit to the country, she meets a charming man and falls in love with both him and the small town lifestyle. You don’t have to watch a Hallmark movie to realize that expanding your horizons can be beneficial.

Lesson: It may profitable to serve the underserved populations found in rural locations. They could have more in common with your existing target audience than you think.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Clark Griswold tries to create the perfect Christmas for his family, but when the Christmas bonus he expected for the year fails to come through, Clark’s cousin Eddie takes the issue up with Clark’s boss. Though Clark ends up receiving his bonus after all, the movie serves as a reminder not to financially overcommit before funds are guaranteed.

Lesson: Even when times are good, don’t count on extra cash to get your company through. Watch your burn rate.

Frozen (2013)

The main characters, sisters Anna and Elsa, illustrate the ups and downs of the crypto market. After Elsa freezes the town, the damage seems permanent, and residents wonder if they will have to live in wintertime conditions forever. At the end of the film, Elsa figures out how to control her magic and returns the town to its regular climate.

Lesson: Crypto will one day exit the crypto winter and will once again level out. The key to achieving this stasis may be the arrival of regulation in the cryptocurrency space, which is already be on its way. Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled a bill to enforce against crypto money laundering.