This Week in Fintech (1/8)

Hello Fintech Friends,

We’re back!

2020 was a wild year across the board and fintech was no exception. I’m curious, what stands out to you as the craziest story in fintech last year?

Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.

Quote of the week

“The shiny new tech in payments tends to be in the retail space, but the opportunities are actually behind the scenes in the B2B space.”

Open Role Spotlight

Banking-as-a-service pioneer Unit is hiring a Customer Success Manager for their New York office with remote work available.

Read of the Week

In The Bitter Legacy Of The AT&T Card, Bloomberg tells the entertaining story of the new co-branded credit card that became an overnight sensation before it launched the credit card rewards and price war that we know today.


Sponsored Content

Dwolla’s Drop-in Components are a low-code solution that can be copied and pasted into an application or website to expedite payment functionality. Style these components to match your UX and pass the necessary user information directly to Dwolla. View these components on Dwolla’s GitHub and start testing in the Dwolla Sandbox


Financial Services & Banking

BBVA is shutting down Simple, the neobank it acquired in 2014, and Azlo, its business bank.

Silent Eight, an automation platform for fighting financial crime, announced a partnership with HSBC

UK banks are pushing the government to increase the contactless payment limit to £100. The Italian Banking Association will explore the creation of a digital euro.


Fintech

Product Launches

Venmo launched a feature to let users cash checks directly to their Venmo balance.

Other News

Neobanks Current and Chime became the first fintechs to both receive and credit funds from the new stimulus. Neobanks across the board are seeing high demand for cryptocurrencies as prices spike. And a coalition of UK neobanks are calling on the FCA to end banks’ hold over consumer financial data this year. And Sadapay is a new neobank rolling out in Pakistan.

Petal launched a two-month promotion to enter cardholders into a $500 sweepstakes for paying down their cards early.

Apple Pay came to 1.2 million stores in Japan through Line Pay.

Chinese regulators ordered Ant Financial to scale back its operations, laid out a ‘rectification plan’ for the company, and are weighing whether or not to force the firm to divest its finance investments.

The New York MTA finished its contactless payment rollout.

Robinhood was served a class action lawsuit for selling stock orders as it approaches its IPO. Elsewhere, Robinhood’s year in review. A DC District Court judge backed PayPal against the CFPB, arguing that new CFPB rules forced it to make confusing and useless disclosures to customers.


Policy

Courtesy of Ben White at Plaid.

  • The OCC cleared banks to use stablecoins & blockchain for payments, following September guidance telling banks they can hold stablecoin reserves.

  • The CFPB issued an advisory opinion on Earned Wage Access products, sandbox approval for a Synchrony card that graduates from secured to unsecured, and a safe harbor for PayActiv.

  • PPP is back for another round in a second stimulus package, this time targeting the smallest firms. Applicants can rely on bank statements for verification.

  • The Trump Administration signed an executive order banning transactions on WeChat, AliPay, other China-based platforms.

  • The CFPB’s Task Force on Federal Consumer Financial Law issued a 900-page report recommending updates to regulations on credit, payments, and financial inclusion.

Source


Financings

  • SMB payroll software platform Paycor raised $270 million in new growth funding.

  • Business spend management platform Divvy raised a $165 million Series D at a $1.6 billion valuation.

  • German banking-as-a-service platform Mambu raised a new €110 million funding round.

  • Online mortgage platform SimpleNexus raised a $108 million Series B.

  • Indian credit startup CRED raised an $81 million Series C (maybe again? It’s unclear….)

  • Bibit, an Indonesian roboadvisor focused on expanding financial access, raised $30 million in new funding.

  • TagPay, a French core banking provider, raised €25 million in new funding.

  • Neobank Oxygen raised a $17 million Series A.

  • Oxbury, a neobank for farmers to provide seasonal cashflow services, raised a £15 million round. 

  • French business accounting automation startup Pennylane raised €15 million.

Exits and M&A

Fintechs
  • Affirm restarted its roadshow, planning to raise $935 million at a valuation of up to $9.2 billion. (Roadshow documents here.)

  • SoFi will go public through Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC at a valuation of $8.65 billion.

  • Silicon Valley Bank’s parent will acquire private banking and wealth management firm Boston Private Financial for $900 million.

  • Amerihome is looking to revive its $250 million IPO.

  • French neobank Anytime was acquired by telco Orange Bank.

  • Options Technology will acquire trading software Fixnetix.

  • Debt collection platform Simplicity Collection Software was acquired by Katabat.

  • AvidXchange acquired accounts payable platform Core Associates.

  • Cashplus, banking and credit service provider in the UK, will acquire £2 million in monthly transactions and the current account portfolio of icount.

  • The OCC approved Lending Club’s acquisition of Radius Bank.

  • Square has allegedly discussed acquiring Tidal, Jay Z’s music streaming service. 

Banks
  • JP Morgan will acquire card points and loyalty business cxLoyalty Group.

  • Paytrail will acquire e-commerce payments platform Checkout Finland.

  • Duo Bank of Canada acquired near-prime credit solutions provider Fairstone Financial.

  • Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division will acquire White Ops, a digital fraud prevention platform.

Investment Management
  • Brazilian asset manager Vinci Partners Investments filed for a $100 million US IPO.

  • Investment manager Constellation Advisers was acquired by IQ-EQ.

  • Investment advisor Hightower will acquire Bel Air Investment Advisors.

  • Mercer Advisors will acquire Atlanta Financial Associates.

  • Mercer Advisors will acquire Kays Financial Advisory Corporation.

  • H2O Asset Management’s management team will acquire the firm back from Natixis.

  • MNC Kapital Indonesia bought a controlling stake in New York-based brokerage Auerbach Grayson.

SPACs

  • Boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg will go public through Bancorp founder Betsy Cohen’s FinTech Acquisition Corp.


Deeper Reads

TransferWise: the UK fintech grows up

Digital Banking is dead.. Long live Digital Banking…!

Green Dot CEO Interview

FT Partners’ January Update

Forbes Favorites 2020: The Year’s Best Fintech Stories

The 2020 Forbes Fintech Awards

2020: The year that shook fintech

2020 Payments Year in Review

2021 Should See Some Big Fintech IPOs

Nine Payment And Fintech Predictions For 2021

Sesame Street announces Noor and Aziz, two new muppets for refugee Rohingya children in Bangladesh. (Read about the Rohingya crisis and donate here.)