Yapeal opened for service, Tide paused lending, and Transferwise is closing a secondary share sale

Some might argue that cryptocurrencies are the antithesis of the banking system but some neobanks have embraced this new technology fully. Challenger and neobanks have come to challenge the banking system by nature, a lot like cryptocurrencies do.

In my latest article I cover these neobanks, such as Ziglu, and how they operate in an ever-changing industry.

Read more here.

WIRECARD UPDATES:

Austrian politicians trade accusations over Wirecard. The affair is an uncomfortable one for Austria, a neutral country which is not a member of NATO.

Senior Wirecard employees were linked to an opaque network of British companies associated with alleged money laundering. Furthermore, an analysis of corporate filings reveals the involvement of Wirecard staff in a network of hundreds of shell companies set up in Consett, County Durham, which were connected to pornography, gambling and dating websites.

The tiny German bank that bet big on Wirecard’s Markus Braun

German prosecutors said on Monday that they arrested the CEO of Wirecard's Dubai-based subsidiary Cardsystems Middle East FZ-LLC as part of their investigation into the company's accounting scandal.

Ex-CEO Markus Braun has already been arrested and released on bail, while former COO Jan Marsalek, CFO Alexander von Knoop and Chief Product Officer Susanne Steidl are also under investigation.

Police search Wirecard’s Dublin office. The Garda act after a request for assistance from German authorities

PODCAST

Podcast recommendation of the week: Ángel Sahagún, Albo: Creating Value for Mexico’s Underbanked Population, Ep 109

Ángel founded Albo in 2016 to help Mexicans optimize the way they manage their money.  Today, Albo is Mexico’s leading neobank and allows users to get a full-fledged bank account in just 5 minutes.

Listen here:

WEEKLY REGIONAL NEWS:

EUROPE:

Yapeal opened for service, Tide paused lending, and Transferwise is closing a secondary share sale.

A recent study conducted by Mode Banking reveals that Bitcoin (BTC) investments have been doubling every month since February among Boomers and Gen-X, signaling wider crypto adoption. Mode saw an initial uptick in BTC investments in March this year, at the same time as global markets crashed and many countries went into lockdown. As the global pandemic evolved, Boomers and Gen-X began accelerating their exposure to BTC on Mode’s platform.

Minna Technologies went live with Norway’s second-largest bankSpareBank 1 earlier this year and the service has been rolled out in stages during the last couple of months. Easy cancellation of unwanted subscriptions has been a big hit with the Norwegian bank customers.

The owner of a law firm has co-founded a new FinTech firm Manchester with his marketing chief. CEO Pawel Oltuszyk, 33, and CMO Edyta Sliwinska, 37, say they decided to develop intelligent current account Frost after witnessing the issues caused by traditional banks for clients of Optimal Solicitors. 

Swiss neobank Yapeal has come true to its word and opened for service before the summer holidays. The first Swiss fintech equipped with a Finma license has signed a deal with Visa. Yapeal will link a bank account via an app to the card. The IBAN can be personalized and clients can shop via smartphone or smartwatch contactless.

Northmill strengthens its offering within savings by introducing its first fixed-rate savings account. The account has a 1.15 percent annual interest rate with a fixed period of twelve months. Earlier this year, Northmill launched a savings account with a variable interest rate of, at date, 0.95 percent, free withdrawals and state-provided deposit insurance.

Revolut announced the extension of its partnership with Modulr, as the two FinTechs pursue their ongoing mission to disrupt financial services. Modulr will continue providing the 24/7 payments infrastructure which powers Revolut’s unique and extensive range of financial products.

Tide made the difficult decision to pause lending through their Bounce Back Loans. Tide CEO, Oliver Prill said: Over the last month, my team and I have been working with a number of financial institutions to secure funding to lend through the scheme. I’m grateful to all the Tideans who’ve given up many evenings and weekends to help us with this. However, the design of the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme doesn’t meet the requirements of our prospective funding partners to be able to provide the funding for us to lend to you.”

After Penta already collected 18.5 Mio. Euro in March of this year, fresh capital is now flowing in again. This second closing of our financing round increases the total investment of their  Series B to 23 Mio. Euro.

TransferWise is close to closing a £240m secondary share sale that will allow employees and early investors to cash out part of their holdings. The sale is said to be at a valuation of £4bn, a 30 per cent jump on TransferWise’s last funding round in May 2019. TransferWise has over 8m customers who send more than £4bn in cross-border payments every month.

Monzo is trialing a new open banking-powered feature to allow users to transfer money from other bank accounts more easily. This new way of moving money into accounts from other major UK banks represents its first major open banking play developed in house.  Monzo has long tested its new features among its users with its 'Labs' function and this new move into open banking is not yet rolled out to its four million customers.

Mambu, the market-leading cloud banking platform, has partnered with Currencycloud, the leader in providing embedded B2B cross-border solutions, to offer increased transparency and scalability of international payments to their platform clients.

B-North, the firm building an SME lending bank for the UK, has announced the appointment of Rebecca Owen as its first Regional Managing Director. Rebecca will help to develop and launch the firm’s first ‘lending pod’ – which will be based in Manchester. Also, B-North has chosen Wiserfunding as its risk grading partner.

Business banking platform Coconut has filed a bid as part of the BCR's £100m package of Pool E funding. The news comes as several applicants have broken cover in the last few days, including Funding Xchange and Starling Bank last week. CEO Sam O'Connor reveals Coconut as the 4th FinTech to file a bid for part of Banking Competition Remedies £100m fund.

Opera, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, announced its intention to purchase Fjord Bank subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition will enable Opera to further accelerate its fintech operations in Europe by launching new, disruptive services aimed at improving consumers’ personal finances.

TSB Bank is launching a pilot for a bill management and utility switching service in partnership with white-label fintech provider ApTap. The service will be aimed at helping customers manage their finances by seeing all their bills in one place and making it easier for them to save money by switching energy or broadband providers "with a few taps".

The HUBUC platform has raised 350.000 euros from some of the main investors in the tech ecosystem in Barcelona. Fintech, founded by Ignacio Javierre and Hasan Nawaz at the end of 2019, is a banking as a platform solution and is currently available in the European market for those companies that want to offer banking services to their customers as part of their current product offer.

Nomo, the fintech web and app platform that integrates financial services and business management tools for the self-employed and freelancers, has introduced a new feature with which self-employed workers can bring forward collection of their invoices pending payment.

Dutch challenger bank Knab has tapped face verification firm iProov to roll out its biometric authentication technology to the bank’s 500,000 customers. Through the partnership, Knab aims to use iProov’s technology to meet Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements. In addition, this will be the first time any bank in Europe has used iProov for SCA.

ING, ABN Amro, Rabobank, Triodos Bank and Volksbank have joined forces to establish Transaction Monitoring Netherlands (TMNL) initiative in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

Bunq’s 2019 annual report offers key insights into the financial health of bunq. For instance, it has doubled its total amount of deposits to €433.6m ($486.9m), averaging €18.5m ($20.7m) new user deposits month on month.

Spend management platform Soldo announced that it has extended its partnership with Mastercard, to become a principal member of the global pay-tech giant. The partnership enables Soldo to become more autonomous in innovating payments products and further reduces dependencies on third parties.

Lloyds Bank announced the addition of a new subscription management service to its mobile banking app, in partnership with Swedish FinTech Minna Technologies and Visa. The update is expected to allow customers to view, manage or amend subscription services. This development follows after Lloyds Bank stated that over 2.2 million consumers have signed up to new subscription services since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Monument reveals that it is in the latter stages of its application for a banking licenseMonument plans to launch the bank of choice for the overlooked and underserved market of millions of mass affluent clients in the UK who have a net worth of between £250k and £5m.

ClearBank, the cloud-based clearing bank, announced the appointment of their CFO and CIO. James Hopkinson will be their new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Stuart Morley is appointed as Chief Information Officer (CIO). James Hopkinson joined as CFO from Standard Chartered and Stuart Morley was the Technology Partner for Eight Roads. Also, Viva Wallet, the European cloud-based digital payments provider, has selected ClearBank as its banking provider in the UK.

Monese partnered with specialised payments platform, Paysafe, to offer its customers access to cash services, the firms announced today. Paysafe’s eCash solution, Paysafecash, can now be used by millions of consumers to top up Monese accounts directly with cash, the announcement revealed.

USA:

Venmo is going after small businesses. The mobile-payments app announced  it’s piloting a new feature called Business Profiles, which offers small sellers and other sole proprietors the opportunity to have a more professional profile page on its platform. 

Railsbank, a UK based Fintech and open banking service provider, has crossed the Atlantic to open up operations in the US with the acquisition of its first customer – Unifimoney, according to a release. Simultaneously, to support the North American expansion, Railsbank has hired Dov Marmor as Chief Operating Officer, North America.

Marqeta, which is backed by Goldman Sachs, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) and seeking out investment banks for advice. In May, Marqeta raised $150 million in a private funding round and doubled its value to $4.3 billion. That led banks to tell the company it could get even more value going public. Marqeta will be interviewing several investment banks to find an adviser. The IPO could come by 2021.

As IPO season continues, another venture-backed tech company is moving closer toward going public. This week nCino filed an updated S-1 filing, providing an initial price range for its equity of $22 to $24 per share.

Onfido, the global identity verification and authentication provider, today announced another strong quarter-over-quarter growth in sales ending June 30th, 2020, representing a 40% increase in global sales over the same quarter last year. 

SoFi has filed an application for a national bank charter, which would allow it to accept deposits and lend money without traditional bank partners. The fintech company previously applied for a bank license in June 2017 with the FDIC. Current CEO Anthony Noto said in a company-wide email to employees that it “is a critical stage in our development.”

ChannelMeter, a San Francisco-based software company, has landed a $4 million seed round to create a banking service for content creators. This month, the start-up will launch its new service ‘Creator Cash’. The banking suite will include a cash savings accounts and a credit card, as well as an earnings scheme based on analytics. Those signed up can get access to YouTube earnings, affiliate and campaign revenue, as well as Patreon memberships – a platform which makes it easy for creators to get paid.

LATAM:

The on-demand delivery company Rappi has unveiled its new betting product in Colombia, Rappi Apuestas. Users aged 18 years or older will be able to access the platform that features operators authorized by Colombian regulatory body Coljuegos.

Australia

Neobank 86 400 is launching a new capital raising of more than $34 million aimed at funding its plans to expand aggressively in the critical mortgage market. A year after the digital bank was granted a license to accept deposits, chief executive Robert Bell said it had the financing to support a sharp acceleration in home lending, which is the only part of the lending market it is targeting. With 110 staff, it is targeting $2b in mortgages.

Up banking launches new saver pools. Saver Pools are a new way to visually track and play with hard-saved cash - a reimagining of how money should look in a 100% digital environment.

ASIA

MFMi Group, part of leading Malaysian fintech specialist MFM Synergy, has announced it has chosen Mambu’s pure SaaS cloud-native banking platform to underpin its new digital Islamic financial services. Starting with a digital Sharia Compliant Factoring product, MFM Tawreeq, the company is also building an Islamic digital wallet and has a strategic plan to launch a suite of complementary Islamic financial services products over the next five years.

Tonik and Mastercard have partnered to drive financial inclusion to the underserved and unserved population. The partnership will enable tonik to issue a range of electronic payments products which tap Mastercard's global network and extensive business intelligence when tonik launches operationally later in 2020, according to a statement on Thursday.

The current crisis may have upended operations of Hong Kong’s banking industry, but for Hong Kong virtual-only lender Mox Bank, it is a time rife with opportunity. Unlike other virtual banking propositions in APAC, Mox does not only target a single generation or segment, but intends to focus on providing personalized banking services for each individual customer’s life stages.

Reap, a fintech company with a mission to upgrade small businesses’ capabilities, announced the completion of its seed funding for US$5 million from investors such as Global Founders Capital, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Index Venture, Fresco Capital, and Hustle Fund. Reap wants to use the funding to widen its products and services. It will also expand across Asia, especially to Malaysia and South Korea.

AFRICA

Digital lending fintech FASTA has teamed up with Mastercard to launch the first virtual Mastercard credit card in South Africa. Dubbed FASTACard, the new solution offers access to instant credit up to ZAR8,000 ($474.58) that can be used online and in-store.

TymeBank and Discovery Bank – have reported an upswing in on-boarding new customers during SA’s lockdown, as more consumers look to branchless banking channels for their financial services. The banks say the COVID-19-triggered lockdowns and social distancing protocols led to more local consumers shifting their banking behavior, resulting in customers responding favorably to their value proposition and low costs.

Discovery chief people officer Tswelo Kodisang has been nominated for CHRO Awards. Prior to Discovery, Tswelo held the CHRO role at Tiger Brands, where he was responsible for organizing and managing agendas, HR strategy and systems, and performance.

NOTE: This article was featured in my weekly newsletter on August 4, 2020. Do you want to be the first to read the next weekly overview? Sign up for my Weekly Digital Banking Newsletter here.
 
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