Hello Fintech Friends,
Financial inclusion has come up in a few different conversations this week, and I was surprised to hear fintech people making the case that financial inclusion is not (or should not be) a goal of fintech. Curious whether others feel this way?
Relatedly, if you find yourself saying nice things about me behind my back, get on Twitter where you can say them to my face.
Please find another week of fintech and banking news below.
Quote of the week
“What gets me out of bed every morning [...] is the idea that fintech is about making finance better. Money makes the world go around. Money pays for schools, hospitals, PS5s. Access to credit can create opportunities.”
- Simon Taylor (source)
Read of the week
Visa published its official response to the Department of Justice, which opened an inquiry to block the network giant’s acquisition of Plaid. In its response, Visa argues that the DoJ mischaracterizes its market dominance by understating its market narrowly as the online debit card space.
Visa makes a compelling counterargument that, with the rate of innovation in payments taking place not just within but from outside financial services (read: crypto), its market and potential competitor set is much broader. The argument is pretty compelling: many expect payments to change significantly in the near future, and Visa’s network dominance looks more at risk than it has in the past. It remains to be seen whether the DoJ will take the same payments maximalist perspective.
Privacy.com is a consumer and B2B payments platform that recently launched its card issuing API for developers, making it easier for businesses to issue their own virtual debit cards. Privacy's Card Issuing API solves the main challenges to issuing with transparent pricing and fast integrations, so you can start creating virtual cards in hours without needing to commit to any long-term contracts or navigating through lists of complex fees. Check out their API here.
Financial Services & Banking
Meanwhile, Visa is partnering with Circle and its USDC stablecoin, to launch a service that will make the $2.9 billion digital currency available as a form of payment to the network’s 60 million merchants.
The Central Bank of Iceland launched its real-time settlement and instant payment platform.
PNCexpects $900 million in cost savings from its BBVA tech acquisition.
India’s central bank barred HDFC Bank from launching new products due to issues that caused a 12-hour outage last month. The Swiss National Bank and the Bank for International Settlements carried out a CBDC experiment. The Central Bank of Nigeria directed all banks in the country to close all naira ledger accounts.
Sopra Steria’s ransomware attack is expected to cost it €50 million. Allied Irish Bank will cut 1,500 jobs by 2023; ABN Amro will cut 2,800 jobs. New research from Capco shows that over 50% of 18-34 year olds have missed a buy-now-pay-later payment (a form of payment that Black Friday revealed is sharply on the rise).
Stripe is partnering with Goldman Sachs and Citibank to enable turnkey banking-as-a-service products to platforms, beginning with Shopify and its Stripe Treasury product. Stripe also launched capital-as-a-service this week, so that its business customers can lend to their clients.
PayPal launched the Generosity Network, a crowdsourced fundraising platform.
(h/t Seyi Taylor)
Automaker GM will seek a banking charter to grow its auto lending business.
Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra (Novi?) rebranded as Diem in order to distance itself from Facebook, immediately drawing attention once again to the fact that it was launched by Facebook. Meanwhile, the ECB has warned the future of money is at-stake ahead of the crypto’s January launch.
Germany’s Solarisbank will expand into Europe in 2021. Funding Circle is eyeing profitability in 2021 following a strong 2020. Meanwhile, Starling Bank may be an acquisition target of JP Morgan and Lloyds following its turn to profitability.
...Was everybody holding their thought-pieces for this week?