Hello Fintech Friends,
A new episode of Hey Fintech Friends came out this week, in which Helen interviews Dezzy Onwumere, founder of Fintech Fund portfolio company Aku! Check out the story and learn, among other things, about Dezzy’s experiences with Tinder. (Surprisingly good!)
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Please enjoy another week of fintech and banking news below.
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💬 Talk of the Week
📖 Read of the Week
There’s so much good writing coming out of last week’s Thanksgiving break that I could make an entire edition of just recommended reads
The Financial Times conducted a deep-dive into employers who increasingly want to offer financial services to their employees, and the implications of going to your boss for not just a 401k, but also a savings account and a loan.
The Diff talks about why introducing decentralization to financial services (specifically: lending) is so hard. “Perhaps the best way to look at DeFi is that it's a way to reach a new local maximum. The financial system has been on a long evolution from completely manual processes to mostly-automated ones that still start out by writing a computer program to do something a human being has been doing all along.”
Meanwhile, DeFi Mullet writes on emerging infrastructure providers in decentralized finance and which DeFi business models have (arguably) worked so far: DEXs, lenders, service providers, NFT marketplaces, oracles, SaaS, and on-ramps.
On a related note, Max Liebeskind and Jeremy Solomon of Nyca Partners write about how FICO became such a ubiquitous and non-negotiable component of consumer credit in the US, and why banks and lenders won’t move away from it despite its flaws like the deluge of current fraud claims. (As someone who has hand-QA’ed Metro2 reports before, this one hit home.)
Elsewhere, I enjoyed this meditation on wealth from Noah Smith. Wealth is a bit of an illusory concept, in that mark-to-market accounting will give us a stylized estimate of wealth, but when it comes to the practical exercise of wealth, the accounting rarely matches up perfectly with the usable value of wealth.
🏦 Financial Services & Banking
🚀 Product Launches
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank launched a credit score hub to enable customers to easily view and access their Experian credit score.
Bank of Montreal rolled out a digital credit card installment plan (aka buy-now-pay-later).
📰 Other News
In a story too odd to make up, Italian prime minister and fan of money-laundering Georgia Meloni “is due to include a rule allowing shopkeepers and businesses to refuse cards and demand cash for payments up to €60” because “Electronic money is not legal currency — it is a form of private money.”
The Brazilian Central Bank is open-sourcing its PIX payments system.
Visa and GoHenry partnered on financial education for teens.
Westpac is leading the charge to form an AI consortium.
HSBC will shut down 114 more UK branches next year, giving its customers tablets in exchange.
A judge shut down Mastercard’s appeal against a £14 billion class action lawsuit.
Putin called for international settlements to be based on blockchain… or, whatever will get him around sanctions.
🚀 Product Launches
Stripe launched its own crypto on- and off-ramp to compete with the likes of Wyre and MoonPay.
Open banking platform Tink launched a balance check feature.
Pan-African payments company DPO launched a new mobile payments app.
Klarna launched a platform to connect retailers with influencers.
Ledger and UK fintech Baanx launched a crypto debit card in the UK.
Australian fintech Eddle launched an AUD stablecoin.
Silicon Valley Bank’s StartupOS launched its business tools, guidance, mentor, and investor platform for startups.
📰 Other News
Is Twitter about to embed payments?
UK neobank Starling will not let customers transfer to crypto services, while European trading platform Shares has begun beta-testing crypto trading and the UK’s FCA approved crypto payments firm Bottlepay.
Venmo added new payments features for charitable donations.
Ok now the bad news -
Crypto lender Blockfi confirmed its bankruptcy filing and sued FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to claim his stake in Robinhood. Meanwhile, FTX’s ownership of single-branch bank Farmington is raising related-party questions (and FTX may… go through a sale?)
Predatory loans are proliferating on Google Play and Apple’s App Store
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