Hello Fintech Friends,
Last fall, we held five deep-dives into how fintech has evolved in different parts of the world, with a host of excellent presenters:
Now, we’re gearing up for some more! Let us know in this form which parts of the world you’d like to see profiled next.
Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.
Quote of the week
“A popular conclusion from the GameStop story is “well I guess the stock market is nonsense now,” and I’m not sure that conclusion is wrong.”
Matt Levine, Money Stuff (source)
Read of the Week
The Financial Times this week profiled the wave of venture capital firms flooding banking-as-a-service startups. These companies are building everything from white-labeled financial products, to the APIs to plug third-party financial services into internet platforms, to basic open-source financial primitives. Now it remains to be seen, will every company be a fintech company?
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Financial Services & Banking
Mastercard and digital commerce platform Network International partnered to launch a digital payments platform in the Middle East and Africa.
ING launched a discount shopping platform in Germany.
Deposits at Goldman Sachs’ neobank Marcus hit $100 billion at the end of the last year, making it the largest neobank by assets. The bank is currently building out its consumer wealth strategy team. Banks across the board are sitting on larger cash reserves, but are hard-pressed to find investable asset classes in which to place those deposits.
The city of Shenzhen in China is holding its third giveaway of the country’s digital currency, distributing $3 million to citizens.
Hackers breached the Australian Securities and Investments Commission suffered a breach that compromised credit license applications. Ireland’s competition commission nixed a plan by Bank of Ireland, AIB, Permanent TSB and KBC to create a joint payments app. JP Morgan was fined $920 million for market manipulation.
European open banking platform Truelayer launched an account-to-account payment product.
Plaid launched a direct deposit switching API.
Personal finance platform Charlie launched a mobile app to gamify eliminating debt.
In a significant turnaround, Ant Financial continues to restructure itself following pressure from Chinese regulators. The payments behemoth will convert itself into a financial holding company overseen directly by China’s central bank. The central bank is generally stepping up antitrust regulations for non-bank financial companies, including Tencent’s WeChat Pay. (WeChat facilitated $250 billion in annual transactions in 2020.)
Robinhood drew down on its credit lines with banks, following market volatility.
N26 passed seven million customers.
Revolut and Chubb partnered to provide customers with purchase protection. Transferwise partnered with Visa for its new global card program. Oxygen Bank and Fundera partnered to provide second-round paycheck protection program loans. Unqork and Arachnys partnered on financial services customer onboarding. UK neobank Dozens partnered with open banking platform Bud.
Fintech Meetup, a new digital events company focused specifically on fintech content and operators, launched to host online conferences. The eFounders program unveiled a new fintech-specific startup studio, Logic Founders. FirstCheck Africa opened its program to fund women founders.
Courtesy of Ben White at Plaid.
California’s “mini-CFPB” signed data share MOUs with earned wage access companies, providing transparency to the regulator into how consumers use these product.
The OCC halted its “Fair Access Rule,” introduced by the previous administration to prevent financial institutions from denying services to unpopular industries like oil and firearms.
The SEC is ‘monitoring’ this week’s market volatility, but it's unclear exactly what the regulator will (or even can) do in response. Potential new chair Gary Gensler has yet to sit for nomination hearings.
New committee leadership in the House Financial Services Committees, but Chair Maxine Waters has not yet announced leads for the fintech task forces.
Potential incoming commerce secretary Gina Raimondo signaled privacy legislation is a key policy priority.
Fed Chair Jay Powell continues to prioritize economic growth over inflation fears, supporting additional stimulus measures.
German regulator BaFin, perhaps reacting to previous lapses, expanded oversight over digital bank N26.
UK Government voted down a bill proposed to supervise Buy Now, Pay Later firms.
Comments to the CFPB’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Dodd-Frank 1033, the section of law that grants consumers rights to their financial data, are due next Thursday - get those comments in!
Anti Money Laundering (AML) is the world’s most ineffective policy experiment. Imagine if you had a car that didn't work 99.9% of the time. The costs to industry are at least 100x the $ amount recovered by law enforcement. Yet AML affects everything. AML is the way we prevent terrorist financing, human trafficking and the worst of global organized crime