Digital payments alone could become a $100 trillion industry, according to PwC. And that’s just one component of the global Fintech industry. This channel tackles the lenders and buyers, the obstacles and achievements, and the trends and trend makers leading the ongoing technological evolution in global finance.
Lloyds Banking Group (LON: LLOY), Britain’s biggest mortgage provider, will acquire a minority stake in loyalty app Bink, according to a report by Sky News for an undisclosed amount that may run into millions of pounds. It was also not known how much the transaction valued Bink.
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Fintech platform FinFit previously reached out to members suffering temporary or permanent unemployment by extending financial wellness resources and support. The U.S.-based firm, which provides over 150,000 employers with a holistic financial wellness benefit platform, has now gone a step further. In a gesture of solidarity with America’s working population, Finfit has made its platform free for employers.
Digital “neobank” Revolut, the London-based fintech unicorn, is rolling out its app-based banking service in the U.S. The upstart bank, which commenced operations in 2015, has already amassed over 10 million customers in the U.K. and Europe. Revolut has no physical branches and is entirely app-based. U.S. customers can now open an account with a debit card in minutes using their smartphone.
A LendingTree economist says the virus will bring the U.S. housing market to a halt. Further, Zillow Group (NASDAQ: ZG) announced Monday it will pause home buying in all 24 markets where ts Zillow Offers unit currently operates. The action was in response to local public health orders related to COVID-19. This has implications for the U.S. housing market.
Nucleus Financial Group (LON: NUC), a fintech that helps clients and advisers manage investments on a single platform, has put off the announcement of its annual results for 2019 planned for March 24. The firm complied with the FCA’s guidance in this regard.
Financial technology platform company iCapital Network announced today that they had closed a $146 million financing round.
The iCapital platform helps advisors that need easy to use technology-enabled investment processes that help to incorporate alternative assets into their portfolios.
The platform also helps alternative asset managers with tie fundraising efforts and helps infostructure providers such as administrators, custodians and transfer agents.
Ziptel Ltd (ASX: ZIP), an Australian owned and operated telecommunications business that provides international roaming and calling solutions, is changing its business model. It is acquiring the entire share capital of Douugh Ltd, a fintech that helps people achieve financial wellness. On completion of the acquisition, ZipTel’s name would change to ASX: DOU. In this new avatar, ZipTel would become a financial software and services company.
The FDIC conditionally approved the application by Square Financial Services, a subsidiary of Square Inc., for deposit insurance.
The Utah Department of Financial Institutions also granted charter approval to Square Financial Services.
These are trying times for small and medium businesses with entire countries under lockdown from the coronavirus threat. iwoca, the SME-focused online lender, launched its new platform, OpenLending. This platform will act as a channel for SME loans originating from banks and fintechs for disbursement to more than two million SMEs using Iwoca.
Penta is a Berlin-based business banking startup bank focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises. Also operating in Italy, Penta was acquired in 2019 by Finleap, the co-founder of solarisBank. In the same year, Penta acquired Beesy, an Italian micro-business banking startup, and started operating an office in Milan. It raised €18.5 million in a funding round.
Wall Street is wasting no time discounting the economic effect from the deadly coronavirus, as seen from the very sharp cut in stock prices. It appears, however, that the real estate market is still ensconced in a cocoon of complacency, judging from the results of a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Home sellers may do well to dispose of their property to an iBuyer.
Caroline Hughes was recently crowned a “Standout 35 Star” by Innovate Finance and included in its annual Women in Fintech Powerlist. Her Lifeties startup is raising £250,001 on crowdfunding platform Seedrs through issue of 5.88% equity at a pre-money valuation of £3,999,888. The startup has already raised a sum of £179,889.
The Celo Foundation announced the Alliance for Prosperity with 50 founding members. They share a common mission to make digital assets available to everyone through Celo’s decentralized, open-source blockchain platform. They will do this by enabling the various use cases of digital currency such as to give, earn, spend, lend, or send, etc.
Revolut has partnered for gold custody services with the London Bullion Market Association. Gold purchased by a customer via the Revolut App will be held by this firm. The customer need not bother with physical handling or storage of the yellow metal. Gold purchases via the app are now available to Revolut users with a Metal or Premium account.
Robinhood, the broking startup that amassed millions of users through its offers of commission-free, no-minimum-balance trading, has been slapped with a lawsuit. The lawsuit relates to Robinhood’s system outage on March 2, 2020, the day when the Dow added a record 1,200 points. It was the Dow’s largest one-day point gain — throughout its entire 124-year history.
Figure Tech, which operates a blockchain-based lending platform, announced its aggregate loans funded had shot above $1 billion. Loan applications soared by 300% after last week’s rate cut by the Fed, leading to the achievement of that magic figure.
In a somewhat dramatic turn of events Sequoia has bailed from its Finix investment, on grounds of conflict of interest with its investment in payment processor Stripe. Sequoia’s action is especially significant given that it has never backed out of a committed investment in its 48-year history.
Neo, or ‘app-only’ bank Chime is a new breed of ‘zero-fees’ fintechs that are giving traditional banks a run for their money.
Branchless, fintech startup Chime is enjoying startling growth in the number of customer accounts. It’s no surprise that it’s also well-funded. Its latest funding round that commenced in November 2019 has secured $700 million from 25 investors.
The regulation-strapped but cash-rich weed industry is fertile ground for fintech innovation.
Legalization of marijuana, for medical or recreational use, has not addressed a very basic need of the industry – access to banking services. Due to the designation of weed under the Controlled Substances Act, the industry is still considered illegal under US federal law. As a result, banks shun the marijuana industry, thus relegating it to a banking desert. Can fintechs step in where banks fear to tread?
Ant Financial, which owns the Chinese Alipay payments platform and is an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), has acquired a small stake in Swedish fintech Klarna.
Klarna, along with app-based challenger bank Revolut, commands a valuation of $5.5 billion. Except for its recent loss in 2019, Klarna has been profitable, which is rare among unicorns. It offers a “buy now, pay later” scheme that offers shoppers interest-free financing over monthly installments.
Fintech in 2020 will ride to new heights based on key trends identified by KPMG in their biannual Pulse of FinTech H2’19 report.
Jumo secures US$55M in Goldman Sachs-led round. It will use the funds to expand into new markets and launch in Africa and Asia. Odey Asset Management and Leapfrog Investments participated alongside Goldman Sachs as existing investors.
There were new, unnamed investors, but Jumo did not reveal details of their identities, what stake they had taken in the fintech and whether they invested in debt or equity.
Australian digital bank Xinja launched Stash, its high interest savings account, on January 15. The remarkably successful product garnered deposits of $30 million within a week, jumped to $100 million in three weeks, and thereafter doubled to $200 million by the end of the month.
Digital Assets: First Digital Trust Flags Off Asia’s First Rapid Settlement and Clearing Network (RSCN)
Instant settlement 24/7. Irrevocable. No counterparty risk. No middlemen. That’s the promise from First Digital Trust’s Rapid Settlement and Clearing Network (RSCN) currently in testing but due to launch in Asia by May 2020.
Mobile-based neobank and a digital provider of financial services, Revolut just raised $500 million in its ‘D’ round led by TCV. Though it is yet to report a profit, Revolut now ranks as one of the most highly valued startups worldwide.