Hello Fintech Friends,
This week’s edition of This Week in Fintech is special to me because it is the one-year anniversary of the first issue. When I started writing this, I couldn’t find a single good weekly fintech news roundup. Now there are many, and the volume of news has grown with us. I hope the next 52 weeks are as exciting as the last.
Please find another week of fintech and banking news below.
LendIt, the annual conference for the online lending industry, is going online this year. I remember the first LendIt in 2013, when I was at Funding Circle and the conference was a few hundred of us packed into an office floor in New York trying to make sense of the new fintech world. Things have grown a lot since then and this year’s agenda features 225+ speakers and 1,500 companies.
I’ll be joining and I hope others will too.
- Tickets: Available online with a 15% discount when you use promo code TWIF15%.
- Dates: September 29 - October 1.
- Link: https://www.lendit.com/usa/2020/register/
Quote of the week
“Now that many consumers want to do all of their banking online, the pressure on banks to offer them an equal, if not better, mobile experience is high. Still, it’s only the largest of banks – here, defined as banks with over $10 billion in assets – that would even come close to being considered “full-featured” from a mobile banking perspective.”
- Angela Strange, a16z (source)
Open role spotlight
Alternative credit manager Upper90 is looking for a Head of Business Development.
Read of the week
In Forbes, commentator David Birch opines that Apple’s real major innovation in fintech will not be owning payments, but owning digital identity. It’s an interesting point, and I’ve wondered why more embedded fintech narratives skim over the concept of identity. Financial products depend on robust user identities for underwriting, KYC, AML, etc. - and these products should feed back into identity systems, not just pull from them, so that taking out a loan from one FI gets added to the record for the next FI.
But the digital identity revolution has been a work in progress for a while, and I’m skeptical that the right solution is for identity to be centralized onto one platform, rather than distributed amongst many, with the option for the user to pull from all at once.
Financial Services & Banking
Chase announced the launch of the Freedom Flex Card, issued via Mastercard, with new 3% and 5% cashback categories.
Samsung and Mastercard launched the Samsung Pay Card in South Korea.
The UK tax authority, the HMRC, put out a £3 million open banking bounty for a project to make it easier for consumers to pay taxes directly from their bank accounts.
Capital One is cutting card spending limits by as much as two-thirds, as federal stimulus support for unemployed Americans expires. Mastercard partnered with payment processor TSYS to allow buy-now-pay-later functionality on its cards. The card network is also beginning to test cashierless checkout at stores.
South Korea’s DGB Daegu Bank partnered with SK Telecom to add 5G quantum cryptography to its app. The Saudi Stock Exchange partnered with Nasdaq for a derivatives trading platform and clearinghouse. Dutch bank ABN Amro and Techstars are joining forces to find promising fintechs.
MX launched a new open finance platform for banks and fintechs.
Wealthfront added an auto-pilot feature to transfer clients’ funds from savings to investments.
Jiko, which sweeps user bank deposits into Treasury Bills, completed its acquisition of Mid Central National Bank, making it one of the only fintechs to buy a bank. Ocrolus and Cross River Bank teamed up to process PPP applications quickly. InComm and Current partnered to allow users to make cash deposits at 60,000 retail locations.
Tandem Bank in the UK shut down its credit card operation to focus on savings and loans, as it preps for a major restructuring. Both Monzo and Starling Bank moved to offset losses by adding new fees to their credit cards (3% at ATMs for Monzo and £2 to 5 fees for new cards at Starling). Revolut expanded its crypto buying and selling service to Australia. Zenus Bank delayed its US launch to 2021.
Brex added two new accounting integrations, with Concur and Xero. UK small business lender MarketFinance secured £50 million to lend to SMBs. BukuWarung is building to provide mobile credit to SMBs in Indonesia.
UK regulators officially approved of the Visa-Plaid acquisition. First Direct appointed a new CEO after its last CEO left to join neobank Yuu. Robinhood is dealing with an SEC probe over not disclosing agreements with high-frequency traders, and faces up to $10 million in fines.
Source: CB Insights
- Brazilian digital bank Neon Pagamentos raised a $300 million Series C.
- Brazilian neobank Nubank also raised $300 million in new funding.
- German credit marketplace Auxmoney raised €150 million in growth capital.
- Viva Republica, a South Korean peer-to-peer payment fintech, raised $173 million.
- Mexican challenger bank Fondeadora raised a $14 million Series A.
- Capchase, an account receivables financing platform for businesses, raised a $4.6 million seed round.
- PrizePool, a lottery-based savings app, raised $4.25 million in seed funding.
- Vietnamese payments provider NextPay is targeting a $60 to $100 million private placement.
Exits and M&A
- Japanese fintech consolidator Ion is in the competition to buy Swiss fintech shop Avaloq at a valuation of ₣2 billion.
- Canadian fintech Nuvei, which provides payment services to betting sites, filed to go public and raise up to $600 million.
- Hong Kong private equity firm PAG will buy a $300 million controlling stake in the wealth management arm of Indian firm Edelweiss.
- Spanish banks CaixaBank, the largest in the country, and Bankia, the fourth largest, are in talks to merge in order to consolidate the costs brought on by high branch footprints.
- Nerdwallet acquired Know Your Money, a UK fintech comparison site.
- Currency trading platform OANDA announced it will acquire Polish multi-asset class broker Dom Maklerski.
- Thoma Bravo announced a strategic investment in construction accounting firm Foundation Software.
- Spend management platform Oversight announced a strategic investment from TCV.
- CORE Business Technologies acquired Instant Payments and eGov Strategies.
- byNordic Acquisition Corp filed for a $100 million IPO to buy a fintech.