The original intention of commercial banks to independently conduct patent researches or seek external cooperation is to help them achieve digital transformation and improve their efficiency in customer acquisition, risk control and profitability. However, whether commercial banks should develop independently or cooperate with external technology companies to achieve innovation is a question worth discussing.
Through the analysis of banks’ patent text and the search of relevant news, this paper creatively puts forward the three Fintech innovation paths of “leading innovation” “following innovation” and “cooperative innovation”, and further examines the heterogeneous impact of different innovation paths on the operational efficiency of commercial banks.
The results show that: For large banks, which are represented by state-owned banks and national joint-stock banks, “leading innovation” and “following innovation” can significantly promote small-micro enterprises’ credit business, risk management ability and operational efficiency, among which, “leading innovation” plays a more significant role; for small and medium-sized banks, which are represented by urban commercial banks and rural commercial banks, “leading innovation” and “following innovation” do not significantly promote small-micro enterprises’ credit business, risk management ability and operational efficiency, while “cooperative innovation” plays a significant role in promoting these operational indicators.
The main contributions are as follows: First, this paper divides the Fintech innovation path of commercial banks into “leading innovation” “following innovation” and “cooperative innovation”, which are innovative in terms of research entry. Second, this paper enriches the related fields on the impact of Fintech on commercial banks. Third, compared with most literature in this field, this paper has more sample banks and larger patent database, which helps to get more general conclusions.