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The First Design Thinking Bank

The story of a London Design Awards winner

As a perfect way to celebrate the end of 2018, Arival Bank came home as winners yet again. This time at DRIVENxDESIGN London Design Awards 2018 – a prestigious award in the field of product, spaces and ‘digital&experience’ design. Since 2014, the Awards’ constant purpose is to “accelerate transformation, celebrate courage and growing demand for design.” The credit for yet another trophy (last month, Arival won Finovate 2018 in Hong Kong and FintechInn in Lithuania) goes to Vladimir Belyakov, Art Director of Arival Bank.

Vladimir’s prior collaboration with Life.SREDA Venture Capital, who would later create the first digital fintech bank for SMEs, started over three years ago. With an impressive portfolio of corporate identity in his back pocket as he developed the globally recognized Life.SREDA brand and Arival Bank thereafter, one of his best projects by far.

This is the story of Arival Bank from Vladimir’s perspective. A story about creativity, constant search for identity, user experience and true teamwork.

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Banks, Design, Influences FinTech, Interviews

December 11, 2018

Meet the world’s youngest digital bankers: Jeremy Berger (24) & Ollie Purdue (25)

At 24 years old, most people graduate college, consider different careers options and think about what they want to achieve in their professional lives.

But for every rule, there is an exception. Some 24-year-olds run successful businesses. And some even build their own banks.

We know at least two such exceptions: Ollie Purdue (25) and Jeremy Berger (24).

They have at least two things in common: both are young (obviously), and both have co-founded digital banking startups. And most importantly, both entrepreneurs are similar in their innovative and inclusive approach to banking.

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About, Banks, Influences FinTech, People of fintech, SME

November 27, 2018

The world’s hottest digital banking startup takes home 2 international awards in one week, preparing to launch in Puerto...

This past year, Puerto Rico has taken its place among the world’s most attractive spots for business incorporation and development of cutting-edge products and services.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló wants to see the island develop to meet the needs of the rapidly growing innovative tech & gig economy: “I would like to see Puerto Rico become a place where businesses serve customers and coordinate operations throughout the Americas, what I like to think of as a “human cloud,” where workers spread across the island handle tasks remotely for businesses around the world.”

Puerto Rico’s agenda aligns well with Arival Bank’s goals, which aims to provide banking services for innovative tech and crypto-related SMEs. It makes Arival Bank a perfect fit into the Puerto Rico ecosystem, creating its solutions on the basis of opportunities, generously provided by the U.S. territory.

Now, it will also become the home for two international fintech awards from different corners of the world, proving that Arival Bank is on the right track.

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Banks, Fintech news, Hotnews, news, SME

November 14, 2018

Life.SREDA presents accelerator BAASIS Labs powered by Mbanq

Life.SREDA Venture Capital presents ‘BAASIS Labs by Mbanq’, a startup accelerator powered by Mbanq, the global digital banking enabler and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform. The accelerator will be first announced during Fintech Festival in Singapore on 15th of November.

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Accelerators/Incubators/Labs, Banks

November 11, 2018

Nubank is now worth $4 billion after Tencent’s $180 million investment

nubank

Via TechCrunch

Nubank, the Brazilian financial services company, has raised $180 million from the Chinese internet giant, Tencent.

Tencent has long been interested in financial services startups, and with its $90 million direct investment and another $90 million investment in the secondary market, the company now has access to what is arguably the largest digital banking company in the world.

With the $4 billion valuation, it also makes Nubank one of the most highly valued privately held startups in Latin America.

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Banks, Fintech news

October 19, 2018

Banking on Millennials: Balancing Branch Preferences And Digital Expectations

Via The Financial Brand 

Knowing what’s really important to consumers is critical to acquisition, retention and cross-selling in the banking industry. But Millennial stereotypes frequently fool financial marketers, muddling their marketing strategies with faulty assumptions. Turns out they love branches just as much as Gen X and Baby Boomers. And all generations share one thing in common: They expect more, particularly in digital channels.

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Analytics, Banks, Global trends

October 13, 2018

“Fintech unicorn” WB21 faces securities fraud enforcement action from SEC

Michael Gastauer, CEO of WB21 digital bank, is facing a lawsuit for selling $165 million worth of fraudulent microcap stocks.

On October 2nd, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed a lawsuit against Michael Gastauer and Roger Knox for “intentionally defrauding investors by secretly dumping large quantities of stock.”

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Banks, Fintech news, Hotnews

October 11, 2018

961

Should I create my own payment app?

One of the hottest niches in tech right now is payments. If it’s big enough for Google, Apple and Paypal to pursue – it’s BIG. If the Bitcoin, a currency built specifically for instant (de-centralized) online transactions, increase in value 100-fold over a period of several years, it is another very solid indication the world is moving towards digitized transactions. In fact more than 50% of all transactions taking place in the USA are cash-free.

Building a money transfer application has more than a few hurdles. Many have tried and failed, and the others are sitting on the fence waiting for the industry to boom to make substantial profits. The top money transfer apps in 2018 are composed of large companies who have been in the domain of online payments from way before mobile apps even existed.

The difficulties of creating money transfer apps

Regulation

The biggest hurdle in creating a money transfer app is definitely NOT the programming you need to put in, nor the UI, no anything else you would traditionally say is the sticking point of creating app. It’s regulation.

When you handle people’s money, you need to be carefully inspected and show beyond any reasonable doubt you are eligible to be in this position. It goes way further than just the regulator, by the way – banks are very reluctant to deal with you, and so us other providers. So, you need to be approved by a regulator (or SEVERAL regulators if you are going to accept people from different regions in the world), be in excellent relations with at least one bank, and prove one or more tax authorities people are not using your platform to evade taxation.

All of the above is far more complex than it sounds and it will require serious resources to accommodate all of the above, and particular as a startup.

Liquidity pool

If you are going to handle people money you need a line of credit to enable real-time transactions. That means that you need to cover the deficiency in cash inside your system between the time that someone pays, and until you actually receive the money. That is a significant issue and you need to have significant reserve pools just in any case. What happens if your security is breached and some money is stolen off the system? What happens if you have a an unusually high number of feedbacks in one certain month? You need a few millions of dollars to be sitting aside to facilitate a real money transfer network.

Product

Although this aspect only comes third on our list, to compete in the payment business you have to come up with a very slick app that appears trustworthy, maintains the highest level of security (super important), and is easy to use as your target audience is very broad. In essence, you need to out-do companies which have been in the market since before the 2000 high-tech bubble like Paypal. It is obtainable, but it will require high level of expertise and yet again – a sizeable investment.

Foreign exchange – liquidity and capability

If you intend to accept clients from overseas who are paying via multiple currency, you need to be able to exchange foreign exchange through your application. This requires connecting with a source of liquidity provider who is also able to facilitate currency exchange, and a lot of additional hurdles when it comes to product development and regulation. Cross border transfers tend to be more sensitive and difficult to execute.

Finding partners / Marketing

Payment applications is a very saturated market, and thus, you will need to be able to compete through not only better offering than your competitors, but in fact have powerful business partners who are able to integrate your payment app into their systems. Apple and Google don’t need such a partner, being of such immense size and influence, but you would need them.

Not making money

When you go into an overly competitive market which is currently focused on acquisition and not profit, you would not be able to compete if your prices would be higher than your competitors. Venmo is practically free when it comes to transfers in the U.S, similarly  Google Pay and Apple Pay, and cross-border applications like Transferwise’s charge as little as 0.5% off each transaction, you are not going to be making money in the short and medium term. This is a long term game.

Final words

Looking at all the hurdles expected, you should be entering the payment app industry only if you have a very solid foundation. If you plan on making your mark with your team of 4 out-of-college programmers working in your grandma’s basement, you should at softer and more niche industries.

 

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends, Hotnews, Remittances

October 7, 2018

Arival meets Revolut at Japan’s largest fintech summit

On September 26, Jeremy Berger presented Arival Bank at Fin/Sum2018, held in Tokyo. Arival was selected as one of the top 30 startups to pitch in front of executives from 500 Startups, SBI, MUFG, and other leading investment & financial institutions.

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Banks, SME

October 2, 2018

Arival Bank’s Jeremy Berger: we are eager to work with SMEs who are involved in STOs

On September 20, second day of Consensus Singapore, Jeremy Berger (Life.SREDA VC Portfolio Director, COO Arival Bank) gave a speech on the digital banking revolution at a meetup dedicated to the future of financial markets.

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Banks, Blockchain, Marketing Report

September 27, 2018

2650

UOB taps Personetics to gain deeper customer insights

United Overseas Bank has invested in Israel-based AI firm Personetics and plans to deploy its cognitive analytic tools to help customers make smarter banking decisions. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends, Hotnews

July 20, 2018

Money management app Emma announces $600K seed round

By Emma,

London-based Emma Technologies LTD is announcing the closure of a funding round led by Kima Ventures, one of the first investor in Transferwise, and Aglaè Ventures, the early stage fund of the Groupe Arnault, investor in Netflix and Airbnb. (more…)

Banks, Deals, Fintech news

July 12, 2018

TokenPay Partners With Litecoin Foundation to Acquire Stake in Germany’s WEG Bank

TokenPay, a blockchain project that incorporates Bitcoin cryptographic technology with advanced security and privacy features, announced this week it partnered with the Litecoin Foundation to purchase a 9.9% stake in WEG Bank, which is based in Germany. According to TokenPay, the 9.9% stake was transacted in exchanged for a “broad and comprehensive marketing and technology service agreement that will benefit TokenPay and its related cryptocurrency and business operations. (more…)

Banks, Cryptocurrencies

July 12, 2018

435

Barclays opens tech campus in New Jersey

By Barclays,

Barclays today announces the opening of a new campus in Whippany, New Jersey. The state-of-the-art complex is a flagship site of Barclays’ global location strategy, which is designed to enhance the firm’s flexibility and resiliency through the establishment of regional campuses. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends

July 11, 2018

390

Icici and Westpac team up for student remittances

By ICICI bank

ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, today announced its partnership with ‘Westpac Banking Corporation’ (Westpac), one of the top banks in Australia, to offer Indian students a completely online payment solution through its ‘Money2World’ (M2W) platform for outward remittances. (more…)

Banks

July 11, 2018

Equifax partners with consents.online for Open Banking

Equifax, the consumer and business insights expert, has formed a strategic alliance with consents.online, a digital consent management and AISP accredited Open Banking platform which for the first time allows UK consumers and small businesses to manage the sharing of their financial information. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends

July 9, 2018

Nordea to acquire online banking arm of Norwegian insurer Gjensidige

Nordea is to acquire the online banking arm of Norwegian insurer Gjensidige for EUR578 million in cash. (more…)

Banks, Deals

July 2, 2018

1995

JPMorgan Chase begins nationwide roll-out of mobile-only bank

JPMorgan Chase is taking its mobile-only banking offshoot Finn nationwide following its debut in St. Louis in October. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends, Hotnews

June 29, 2018

Nationwide launches £50m fintech fund

Nationwide logo web screen shot

UK building society Nationwide has joined the fintech venture fund party, putting aside £50 million to invest in promising startups. (more…)

Banks

June 27, 2018

Neufund CEO Zoe Adamovicz Provides Additional Insight into Blockchain based Equity Token Offering Platform

Last week, Neufund, a blockchain based platform for the issuance of security tokens, announced the very first  companies were preparing to tokenize their equity using their service. These “equity token offerings” or “ETOs”, as referenced by Neufund, were said to be compliant within German securities law – an important qualification. (more…)

Banks, Cryptocurrencies

June 27, 2018

KeyBank Acquires Small Business Lending Platform Bolstr

Digital lending platform for small businesses Bolstr has been acquired by KeyBank. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (more…)

Banks, p2p/online lending

June 25, 2018

721

SoFi Launches Bank Like Service: SoFi Money

It is a truism that we need bank like services but we really don’t need banks. The portfolio of services offered by a traditional analog bank sometimes feel cobbled together. Difficult to manage and expensive to use. Current accounts is an excellent example. For some insidious reason, banks tend to charge consumers silly fees to lend out their money. Most consumers just accept it because that’s just the way it is. But innovative Fintechs are changing this paradigm. (more…)

Banks, Cashless, Fintech news, Global trends

June 21, 2018

KeyBank Acquires Digital Lending Platform For Small Businesses Bolstr

On Wednesday, KeyBank announced it has acquired digital lending platform for small businesses Bolstr. According to Key, the fintech software, which is expected to be implemented later this year, will enable the banking group to provide faster and easier access both to SBA loans and to traditional capital for business owners. The acquisition comes just after the OCC recently called on banks to issue more SME loans.  (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends

June 21, 2018

602

Crypto Fund AG Receives Swiss FINMA Approval

Crypto Finance has received regulatory approval from Swiss regulators. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has reportedly given its seal of approval for the Crypto Fund AG – the first in Switzerland. (more…)

Banks, Cryptocurrencies

June 19, 2018

ING and AXA to build digital insurance platform

I"The initiative will also contribute to diversify our income"NG and AXA have unveiled an exclusive, long term, multi-country bancassurance partnership to provide insurance products and related services through a central digital insurance platform.

(more…)

Banks, Insurance

June 19, 2018

488

Goldman Sachs rolls out cyber war games suite

Goldman Sachs is to provide its 8000+ developer community with a gamified cybersecurity training programme addressing attacker psychology, digital countermeasures and breach response. (more…)

Banks

June 9, 2018

6 Strategies for Building a Platform Bank

A Mckinsey study states that ‘manufacturing’, the primary industry for a bank’s financing and lending business now generates about 53% of industry revenues and 35% of profits with an ROE of 4.4%. On the contrary, ‘distribution’ produces 47% of revenues and 65% of profits with an ROE of 20%. This changing nature of banking balance sheets is a reflection of a clear shift in the banking business model. The traditional interest-based income of banks from lending and deposits is under pressure, and banks are looking to augment their revenue with new fee-based models. (more…)

Banks

June 4, 2018

584

TransferWise nets first big EU bank customer

France’s second-largest bank, BPCE Groupe, is to become the first in Europe to directly integrate with TransferWise to offer mobile money transfers to its 15 million customers. (more…)

Banks, Global trends, Hotnews, Remittances

June 4, 2018

465

ING backs FinCompare, the German comparison platform for SME financing

FinCompare, the German fintech startup that offers a comparison platform for SME financing, has closed €10 million in Series A funding. The round is led by ING Ventures, the venture capital arm of dutch bank ING. The company’s previous backers Speedinvest, and UNIQA Ventures also followed on. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Global trends

June 4, 2018