This Week in Fintech (4/30)

Hello Fintech Friends,

Which fintech company, in your mind, defined the last decade of fintech? And which will define the next one?

Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.


💬 Quote of the Week

“50% of our members never had a bank account before. If you think about access in the future, it’s going to be things like cryptocurrencies and access to high-yield savings.“


📖 Read of the Week

An article on The Defiant this week, What DeFi Can Learn From Fintech Adoption, gets to the primary distinction between the rapidly growing world of decentralized finance and that of (relatively) more established fintech: user experience. Fintech has taken off as a category over the last decade, largely because it’s made experiences like borrowing, banking, paying, and investing so simple.

DeFi has grown in Total Value Locked (TVL) over the last year, but jargon, unfamiliar tech, and difficult on/off-ramps still gate it from mainstream consumer adoption. I have no doubt that DeFi, which is rebuilding financial rails from the ground up, will one day replace financial services, but it has to first overcome its UI limitations to do so.

📊 Stat of the Week

Fintech mega-rounds - those over $100 million - rose from 5% of all financings in 2020 to 12% of all rounds in Q1 2021 (with 77 rounds). (Source)


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🏦 Financial Services & Banking

🚀 Product Launches

PayTabs and Visa partnered to launch a contactless merchant payment solution - Tap to Phone - in the MENA.

FIS launched RealNet, a cloud-based account-to-account direct payment solution for businesses.

📰 Other News

Visa partnered with Airbnb to facilitate instant host payouts to bank accounts via its Visa Direct feature.

Barclays partnered with bank digitization specialist Amount to enable buy-now-pay-later point-of-sale financing.

Equifax partnered with Canopy to include rental payment data in credit assessments.

Mastercard had a busy week. Cryptocurrency platform Gemini selected the network as its partner for the launch of its credit card. Mastercard also partnered with Iraq’s Central Bank and Zemen Bank in Ethiopia to work on cashless payment solutions, and with Nedbank in South Africa on WhatsApp payments to small businesses. 

HSBC partnered with Google on contactless mobile payment solutions in India.

Signature Bank’s digital asset banking team grew deposits by $4.4 billion quarter over quarter, as the bank plans to start lending into the crypto world.

Banks DBS and JPMorgan partnered with Temasek to set up a cross-border payment blockchain.

In spite of news that a digital yuan could replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, the PBOC said that its central bank digital currency is just intended for domestic use (and is working with Ant Group and Tencent to that end). Meanwhile, Norway is prepping its own CBDC tests.

Deutsche Bank will close 150 branches this year and let employees work from home up to three days a week once offices reopen.


💻 Fintech

🚀 Product Launches

Brex launched Brex Premium, with features like invoice payment by email, automated alerts, enhanced reporting, and custom expense policies.

Facebook launched new tools to help creators get paid for ecommerce sales and GoCardless, a bank-to-bank payment solution, launched Instant Bank Pay, a way to instantly collect customer payments online.

Buy-now-pay-later provider Uplift partnered with Southwest Airlines for flexible flight payment options.

Investing platform eToro launched a new cryptocurrency investment portfolio, BitcoinWorldWide, and Trade Republic, the German Robinhood, added crypto investing. Wealthfront added cryptocurrency investing and will enable clients to build their own portfolios.

Cameo (yes, that Cameo) launched a digital wallet.

Funding Options, an SMB lending marketplace, launched a platform to help businesses navigate the complexity of loans. 

Spanish neobank 11Onze launched a private social network for its customers.

Bank technology provider Nymbus partnered with Locality Bank IO to launch a south Floridian community bank for SMBs.

MYCDD launched to provide financial institutions support in client due diligence.

📰 Other News

Facebook’s Diem Association will pilot its digital currency later this year with a single dollar-pegged stablecoin.

SoFi will now let users redeem credit card rewards points directly into cryptocurrency.

Moov and MX partnered on instant account verification and money movement. Paidy, the Japanese buy-now-pay-later service, partnered with PayPal to enable installment loans in consumers’ digital wallets. Neobank Current and Youtube influencer MrBeast partnered.

Curve, the over-the-top credit card solution, announced the return of its Red Metal Curve card.

UK wealth management app Nutmeg hit £3 billion in assets under management, growing 72% this year.

Method allows developers to make payments on behalf of their users.


📜 Policy

In collaboration with Ben White.

  • The US House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing a new multi-agency task force on digital assets including cryptocurrencies. The bill heads now to the Senate for debate.

  • The Supreme Court ruled to limit the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to seek monetary redress for deceived consumers. 

  • The House Financial Services Committee reauthorized its Task Forces on Fintech and AI.

  • The Senate Banking Committee held another hearing on rent-a-bank charter, bringing back former OCC Chief Brian Brooks to testify.

  • SEC Chair Gary Gensler is expected to testify at a May 6 hearing in the House Financial Services Committee on the GameStop saga. 

  • The OCC issued a conditional approval of a banking charter for crypto bank Paxos

  • The Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund is set to launch on April 30, with $28.6B of funds available. 

  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak set forward a proposal to bolster the UK’s fintech ecosystem.  

  • The Reserve Bank of India banned American Express from adding new customers after disputes concerning data localization. 

  • Chile’s financial regulator is developing a framework for open finance to encourage greater bank-fintech collaboration. 


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