This Week in Fintech (7/31)

This Week in Fintech (7/31)

Hello Fintech Friends,

It looks like this newsletter has been landing in Gmail’s Promotions folder. Substack has suggestions for how to keep it out, which boil down to dragging it back into your inbox. (Substack count is too high imo.)

Please find another week of fintech and banking news below.

Quote of the week

“Even though there is more than $175 billion spent on financial services, there still remains an abundance of unaddressed pain points. We’re focused on powering fintech companies to serve as bridges and help vulnerable populations.”
  • Emmalyn Shaw, Flourish Ventures (source)

Open role spotlight

Silicon Valley Bank is hiring a VP of Fintech Relationship Banking.

Reads of the week

Geoff Charles of Ramp breaks down finance-as-a-service tools for fintech into six categories: payments, spend management, payroll and benefits, equity and financing, accounting and reporting, and financial planning and analysis. A great read for operators trying to build different layers of their fintech stack.

Elsewhere, periods of prolonged economic stress often highlight predatory financial practices that go largely unnoticed when wealth is growing. ProPublica and The Texas Tribune this week provided a great look into the operations of Oportun. While the lender has provided access to credit to the Latino community -- in many cases to borrowers with no other credit options -- its loans have carried APRs over 36%, and it continued to sue borrowers for repayments even after they lost jobs due to the pandemic.


Financial Services & Banking

In pretty exciting regulatory news (yes, it exists), the CFPB issued an advance notice that it will look into a rulemaking on third-party financial data access -- the kind of practice that lets aggregators like Plaid, MX, and Yodlee power everything from Venmo to Robinhood to Coinbase. This could open the field for more established banks and fintechs to build products that access leverage to (permissioned) consumer financial data. Elsewhere in regulatory, US Senator Dick Durbin, famous for championing the eponymous amendment to Dodd Frank that restricted how much debit cards could charge, wants the Federal Reserve to re-evaluate how debit cards charge merchants. Canada’s open banking Financial Data Exchange officially launched, with 31 members. The Mint is facing a coin shortage.

Millions of Americans are now day trading. The SEC is getting worried. But… as stocks keep going up, everyone seems to be making money. And so history repeats.

Deutsche Bank announced that it will partner with Airwallex for virtual account collections and foreign exchange services in Japan and Hong Kong, respectively.

Mastercard joined the UK’s Request to Pay framework, similar to RTP or Venmo in the US, which will let Mastercard users send each other direct message requests for payment. Standard Chartered will cut jobs.

Tearsheet provided a great breakdown of the next year in Goldman’s product roadmap for its consumer bank, Marcus. Elsewhere, Marcus head Harit Talwar reported that the pandemic is driving significant consumer adoption of digital banking.

Experian Boost added credit scoring that takes into account on-time bill and subscription payments.

Singapore’s DBS adds face verification. India’s Yes Bank launched a chatbot to interact with customers in WhatsApp, while the National Payments Corporation of India is in hot water for numerous security flaws found in an audit. Bank of Ireland was fined for security issues. The Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange will launch a blockchain-based securities lending platform.

Visa’s CFO mapped out areas that the company is investing in for innovation (Visa Direct API, real-time payments, peer-to-peer and business-to-business transfers, and security). Read this fascinating commentary on how it could disrupt ACH. Former Mastercard president and CEO Gene Lockhart joined Blackstone as an advisor.

Source: Twitter


Fintech

Product Launches

Intuit launched Quickbooks Cash, a small business banking product and money management account.

Unicomer Group, a major LatAm retailer, launched QR payments and point of sale credits as a form of payment.

Transferwise launched automated payments through direct debits. Remitr launched a business account for SMBs that sell internationally.

African telecom Orange partnered with NSIA to launch Orange Bank Africa, a digital bank in Africa focused on unbanked consumers. Zambian fintech Zazu launched its virtual card, in partnership with Mastercard. Revolut partnered with Moneysupermarket to launch an in-app price comparison and switching service. Canadian digital banking platform Mogo launched their account, MogoSpend. Mobile credit platform Venio launched micro-credit loans in the Philippines.

Wirecard

Philippines investigators have identified 50 suspects, including two ‘rogue bankers’ who may have forged documents allowing Wirecard to claim it was holding $2 billion in accounts there. It turns out Mastercard and Visa previously fined the firm £11 million and $12 million, respectively, for risky practices. And European regulators are looking at overhauling supervision rules in light of the recent scandal.

Other News

Monzo reported a £113.8 million loss for the year and may cease operations.

Marqeta will provide virtual card tokenization for JP Morgan.

Facebook is quickly landing and expanding in India, with plans to offer insurance, credit, and pensions to users in India via WhatsApp. Dutch neobank Bunq will move into mortgages, with €100m committed to home loans. Starbucks is updating its rewards system so customers can earn rewards on debit, credit, cash, or mobile payments - the first time they can earn off of its store card.

Telecom Airtel Africa partnered with remittance provider Mukuru to enable cross-border transfers between Airtel customers within Africa. Vodacom partnered with Alipay in South Africa to create a similar fintech superapp for the region next year. Stripe partnered with Notarize to enable notary payment though Stripe Connect. Mint partnered with Trust & Will. Sezzle joined Plaid’s data network.

Paypal is partnering with CVS to bring QR code and touchless payments to retail. The company’s former finance director moved to UK startup Curve. And they released earnings and hinted at the future).

Richard Davies is leaving neobank Revolut, one year after joining to strengthen its governance, to join business lender Allica Bank.

Kenya is beginning to regulate mobile lenders, which have proliferated, more closely to combat predatory lending terms, credit ‘black marks,’ and payday loans. The Zimbabwean government is clamping down on mobile money operator EcoCash, with 7 million users, demanding it hand over half its 2020 transaction files.

Source code from fintechs (including Fiserv, Buczy Payments, Mercury Trade Finance Solutions) and banks (Banca Nazionale del Lavoro) got leaked online. Digital banking app Dave admitted to a breach that compromised 7.5 million users’ data. 11:FS had more job cuts.


Financings

Overall UK fintech investment declined 39% over the same period last year.

  • Transferwise is now worth $5 billion following secondary sale.
  • Validity Finance, which funds litigations, raised $100 million.
  • Remitly raised $85 million at a $1 billion valuation to accelerate the growth of its remittance pltaform.
  • Revolut extended their Series D round to $580 million with $80 million in new rainy day funding.
  • Small business 401k provider Guideline raised an $80 million Series D.
  • Complyadvantage, a UK compliance and financial crime startup, raised a $50 million Series C.
  • Drivewealth (may have) raised $47 million.
  • True Link Financial raised a $35 million Series B to build out its financial services platform aimed at helping the elderly, disabled people, and those who are recovering from addiction.
  • Thought Machine, the UK-based core banking-as-a-service provider, added £33 million to its Series B to bring the total to £97 million.
  • Circle, which is trying to bring banking products onto USDC, raised $25 million.
  • EMQ, a Hong Kong-based cross border financial settlement platform, raised a $20 million Series B.
  • Mediant, an investor communications platform for banks, brokers, and funds, raised $18.5 million.
  • Stashaway, a Singaporean digital wealth management startup, raised a $16 million Series C.
  • Brazilian digital investment platform Magnetis raised an $11 million Series B.
  • Canadian mobile banking for teens platform Wingocard raised a $2 million seed round.

Exits and M&A

In spite of (reported) drops in financing activity, fintech mergers and acquisitions are still a healthy market.

  • Buy-now-pay-later lender Affirm is planning an IPO that could value it at up to $10 billion.
  • Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo was approved in its hostile takeover bid for rival UBI Banca for €4.1 billion.
  • Tax software Vertex raised $402 million in its IPO.
  • German bank Degussa Bank, embroiled in a trading scandal, is putting itself up for sale at €400 million.
  • Nigerian payments service provider DPO Group was acquired for Dubai-based Network International for $288 million.
  • Online lender OnDeck, which had been searching for a buyer, found one in non-prime financial services provider Enova International, in a transaction valued at $90 million.
  • Brazilian neobank NuBank, valued at over $10 billion, acquired North Carolina database tool provider Cognitect, the firm behind Clojure.
  • Payments facilitation software platform Paysafe announced that it will acquire merchant payments gateway Openbucks for an undisclosed amount.
  • Mobile banking for entrepreneurs platform Joust was acquired by ZenBusiness for an undisclosed amount.
  • Gemspring Capital bought the billing platform Cforia.
  • eToro bought UK card platform Marq Millions.
  • More details emerged on Quicken parent Rocket Companies’ upcoming IPO.

Deeper Reads

The New Stimulus Is The Right Time For Streaming Wages

FT Partners’ Q2 Fintech Insights

Net Interest's Deep Dive Into Ant Financial

Payments in 2039 and 2064

You’re not the gravy – In defense of Robinhood

How Chinese tech billionaire Yahui Zhou is calling the shots at OPay

The backbone of cross border transactions: correspondent banking

How VISA, Paypal, MasterCard, and Western Union Could Integrate Cryptocurrencies

Seven ways for financial institutions to react to financial-technology companies

The mysterious death of the market rentier

Fintech has to grow up. Fintech is dead. Fintech is necessary. Don’t get into fintech.

Plum’s Pitch Deck

Banking as a force for good

Profile on the new GM of Venmo

Pigeon with stamped wing causes flutter near international border