Yandex drops $5.5bn Tinkoff takeover, and Monese and Mastercard launch strategic European partnership.


"Whilst people have been predicting the death of banks for many years and it hasn’t happened yet, that doesn’t mean a wave of change isn't coming. Banks have spent billions of dollars on technology but that isn’t the same as being ready for a digital world. Disruption looks like what Napster/Spotify have done to music, Netflix has done to entertainment and Amazon/e-commerce has done to high street shopping. There is no reason to believe banking will avoid a similar disruption."

Read more of this fantastic Q&A with Nick Wilde, MD of Thought Machine Asia-Pacific. Link here.


Scientia Consulting's latest Battle of the Challenger Banks looks closely at a pesky little issue: Can you block my card? They take a closer look at: Monese, Monzo, bunq, N26, Revolut, and Starling Bank. Definitely work the read as this is one of the most important features in digital banking.

Find out more here.



Tide will let tens of thousands of its SME businesses offer direct debit payments to their customers for the first time. The launch is powered by specialist direct debit FinTech GoCardless and means from today businesses using Tide can establish a direct debit mandate with their customers and set up regular recurring payments. Link here.


Gemini and BCB Group announce partnership, Virgin Money launches free digital package, and Revolut nominates city veteran to lead UK bank bid.

BCB Group, the global digital asset financial services group, today announced a partnership with cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini to provide UK users with faster ways to send and receive GBP.  Gemini is connected into BCB’s API, facilitating minimal manual intervention in processing transactions, and streamlining Gemini’s interactions with multiple banks and currencies. Link here.

A group of Revolut’s earliest employees has launched a new investment company focused on tech start-ups – including those founded by fellow alumni of the $5.5bn digital bank. Expansion Capital, which was incorporated in March 2020, is a seed-stage investor that has already backed around fifteen early-stage start-ups. Link here.

Revolut has nominated ex-Standard Chartered chief Richard Holmes to oversee its UK bank license application. Holmes will become Chairman of Revolut's UK entity, subject to regulatory approval. His appointment is a vital step in Revolut's mission to become a UK bank. Link here.

Virgin Money has launched a free, full money management package to support small business customers with their day-to-day financial operations and ensure they have a complete view of their past, current and future financial position. In partnership with market-leading fintech company, Strands, Virgin Money will be the first UK bank and Mastercard issuer to offer Money Management. Link here.

Starling Bank is rolling out a new accounting software tool aimed at small businesses and contractors. The digital bank has created PayStream, which is available through the Starling Marketplace in-app area and is designed to help business customers get everything in place for the journey towards filing their tax returns. Link here.


Yandex drops $5.5bn Tinkoff takeover, and Monese and Mastercard launch strategic European partnership.

Last month, Yandex - often called Russia's Google - made an audacious play to dive into the financial services market, agreeing in principle to buy the country's biggest challenger bank for $5.48 billion in cash and shares. However, the two firms now say that they have not been able to agree definitive terms. Tinkoff says it "looks forward to continuing to partner with Yandex on current and future projects". Link here. Also, Tinkoff launches financial messenger built into its super app. The financial messenger will enable users to chat while making financial decisions. Customers will be able to share bookings, payments and gigabytes of traffic soon, as well as get quick access to chat bots and the Tinkoff ecosystem products and services, and more. Link here.

Just months after a fundraising round that left the company's value at $3.5 billion, Berlin-based FinTech N26 is exploring seeking additional investments in calendar 2021, Bloomberg LP reported Monday. Link here.

Mastercard and Monese, the European banking service provider, announced a new multi-year strategic partnership to further enhance local banking services for the underserved across Europe, with Monese becoming a principal Mastercard issuer. With its multi-currency accounts that are available in 31 countries, Monese’s new partnership with Mastercard provides its customers access to Mastercard’s global acceptance network, allowing them to spend at the millions of locations worldwide at which Mastercard is accepted. Link here.


Varo Bank, is introducing Varo Advance, an innovative product that instantly advances up to $100 to qualifying customers and gives customers more flexibility and control over their finances. Link here.


nCino, Inc., a pioneer in cloud banking and digital transformation solutions for the global financial services industry, announced that Australia’s first fully licensed challenger bank dedicated to lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SME), Judo Bank, will implement the nCino Bank Operating System® to streamline its lending operations and further enhance its client value proposition. Link here.


Hong Kong virtual bank, WeLab Bank, has selected Solace as a core component of its technology architecture to establish multi-cloud vendor communication. Using Solace PubSub+, WeLab Bank will run its entire infrastructure on multiple clouds to ensure customer information is well protected and secured. Through this partnership, the bank can also continue to deliver innovative and game-changing financial service products to all customers. Link here.


Capitec has added the EasyEquities investing platform to its new banking app, allowing clients to invest in shares on stock markets in South Africa and the USA. The bank said clients will get a 20% discount on brokerage fees when using the new widget and pay zero data costs when accessing the widget, as Capitec’s app is zero-rated for data. Link here.


Banking software company Temenos has announced Jordan Ahli Bank (“Ahli Bank”) has gone live with cloud native Temenos Infinity to rapidly develop and deploy new digital and mobile banking experiences, helping it differentiate and drive customer growth in Jordan and the Middle East. Working with Temenos, the bank has successfully achieved this while operating remotely, due to Covid-19. Link here.


Mambu has welcomed award-winning fintech leader Kristofer Rogers to the newly created role of Managing Director for Mambu Australia and New Zealand. Rogers, who was named CEO Magazine’s Start-Up Executive of the Year in 2019, joins Mambu at a time when the organization is experiencing rapid growth in the ANZ region. Link here.

Veteran banking chief Paul Noble has been appointed chief commercial officer of Tandem in order to deliver on the bank's new mission to become a green lending powerhouse. The appointment comes as Tandem in August acquired Allium Money, a green alternative lender which offers financing to improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes, and where Noble stood as CEO. Link here.

N26 welcomes Subhashini Simha as Global Director of Product Marketing. The German challenger bank made the announcement last week on LinkedIn and it was met with great praise. Subhashini (Su) Simha describes herself as Senior Marketing Leader & Executive with 18+ years of strategy, product management, marketing and sales experience working for Fortune 500, Startups and mid-size Enterprise Software, Transportation, Insurance & Fintech (BFSI), FMCG and IT Consulting/ Services companies. Link here.

This ends my weekly digest. Let me know if there are any questions or news/insights worth mentioning in next week's digest. Until the next!