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693

Sources: Y Combinator’s growth fund to back challenger bank Monzo

via TechCrunch

Just five months after announcing £85 million in Series E funding, Monzo is already gearing up to raise additional funding, which would almost double its valuation.

As reported in the Sunday Times yesterday, the U.K. challenger bank is close to raising £100 million in further funding in a new round led by an unnamed U.S. investor. If the deal goes through, it will reportedly give Monzo a pre-money valuation of close to £2 billion, up from £1 billion in October.

Now TechCrunch has learned that the new U.S. backer is Y Combinator. (more…)

Banks, Deals, Fintech news, Mobile-first banks

April 8, 2019

501

Envel bank launches “driverless” money management tech

via FinTech Futures

Envel, a challenger bank created around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) targeting millennials and Gen Zs, is launching a “Driverless Banking” framework that automates the steering of customer finances in real-time to stabilise spending.

The bank’s autonomous framework couples with Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution Cambr, while using behavioural insights to centralise money management activities spread across multiple apps, platforms or services. (more…)

AI / Machine Learning / Big Data, Banks, Fintech news

April 8, 2019

435

Chetwood launches new savings account SmartSave

via FinTech Futures 

SmartSave is a new savings platform created by Chetwood Financial that aims to use technology to “make its customers better off”.

“We’re based outside of London and use modern technology to keep our costs low, so that we can offer great rates,” the bank says.

SmartSave was designed with its customers to offer “a simple way to save”, through an online account that is clear about when the terms are ending.

The bank says SmartSave will launch in the near future. (more…)

Banks

April 4, 2019

363

Moxy picks Nymbus to power DC’s newest bank for 20 years

via FinTech Futures

Nymbus’ SmartCore cloud-based core platform has been picked to support Moxy Bank, Washington DC’s newest bank in two decades, reports Jane Connolly.

The bank will also implement Nymbus’ SmartDigital for internet and mobile banking and SmartPayments for debit card processing and fraud protection. (more…)

Banks

April 2, 2019

790

German fintech company builder Finleap acquires SME banking provider Penta

via TechCrunch

Just since months after raising $7 million in Series A funding, German SME banking provider Penta has been acquired by Finleap. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, although I understand that the acquisition sees Finleap and Penta’s co-founders becoming the challenger bank’s sole owners, with all other shareholders exiting.

Launched in late 2014 by Hitfox Group and Ramin Niroumand, Finleap has developed 16 ventures from scratch, as well as acquiring a number of fintechs. Companies in its portfolio include banking platform solarisBank, of which Penta is a customer, and digital insurer Element, to name just two. (more…)

Banks, SME

April 2, 2019

320

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI isn’t just a nice-to-have

via Tearsheet

South Africa’s TymeBank has launched Max, an AI-powered conversational assistant designed to help consumers learn about personal finance.

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI is an important piece of its product roadmap. (more…)

AI / Machine Learning / Big Data, Banks, Fintech news

April 2, 2019

901

Australian neobanks target scale of UK rivals without growing pains

via AltFi

A flurry of neo banks in Australia are threatening to make inroads into the dominance of the country’s established lenders.

Sydney-based digital bank Volt promises to offer a faster more personalised service than the country’s big four incumbents – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news

April 1, 2019

754

‘Why would anyone want to become a bank’: Will more challenger banks evolve as banking as a service providers?

via Tearsheet

Starling Bank recently raised £75 million to fund a European expansion. As part of that announcement, the UK-based challenger said it had signed on three new clients to its banking as a service.

According to Starling, it has 20 institutional clients on its BaaS platform, which it launched in August 2018. Payment volume through the service is doubling month over month. (more…)

Banks, Mobile-first banks, Open Source/ API

April 1, 2019

538

NatWest trials money management app

via Finextra

UK bank NatWest is trialling a standalone personal finance app that uses AI, data analytics and Open Banking APIs to help customers better manage their money.

The app, called Mimo, will help customers budget, remind them of the financial tasks they need to do and provide proactive and personal insights into their money, looking at their bills or day-to-day spending, as well as insurance, subscriptions and utilities before offering tips on the best deals on the market.

(more…)

Banks, Mobile-first banks, Open Source/ API, PFM/PFP services

April 1, 2019

412

Citi urges incumbents to grow their own challenger brands as new entrants shrink the market

via Finextra

Incumbent banks operating on ageing technology stacks are looking at a 30% revenue hit as new digital-first challengers enter the market, according to a report produced by Citibank. (more…)

Banks, Mobile-first banks

April 1, 2019

242

Rewire helps migrants in Europe with $12m funding

via FinTech Futures 

Rewire, the fintech that developed a banking platform for migrants, has completed a Series A investment round of $12 million.

This latest round, led by venture fund Viola Fintech, is supported by new and existing investors, including BNP Paribas through their venture capital fund Opera Tech Ventures, OurCrowd, Moneta, Professor Yair Tauman, Yaron Lemelbaum, Leon Vaidman and partner Standard Bank of South Africa.

Rewire provides an international banking platform for migrants who transfer most of their income to their countries of origin. (more…)

Banks, Payment processors/providers/gateways

March 28, 2019

447

Inside OakNorth’s plan to take its lending technology global

via Tearsheet

As a challenger bank, OakNorth charts a different course. While Revolut, Monzo, and N26 focus on putting their digital current accounts in the hands of millions, OakNorth doesn’t even offer a current account. While other challengers are racing to acquire banking licenses all over the world, OakNorth is happy with just a UK license.

OakNorth is also posting profits while other challengers aren’t.  The bank announced a £33.9m profit for 2018, up 220 percent from 2017. (more…)

Banks, p2p/online lending, SME

March 27, 2019

342

Hong Kong hands out virtual bank licenses as it disrupts traditional banking

via Tech in Asia 

Hong Kong’s monetary authority handed out three virtual bank licenses to allow financial institutions to operate branchless savings and lending businesses, as the city catches up with other Asian jurisdictions in disrupting traditional banking to move it beyond brick-and-mortar premises.

(more…)

Banks, Hong Kong, InspirAsia

March 27, 2019

323

Bank Negara Malaysia to Pave the Way for Neo Banks

via Fintech News Malaysia 

by Vincent Fong

Bank Negara Malaysia will soon release its requirements for a virtual banking license by end of this year. Virtual banking license seems to be all the rage these days with Hong Kong announcing their 3 approved licensees the same day Malaysia announces its ambitions to regulate this space. (more…)

Banks, InspirAsia, Malaysia, Mobile-first banks

March 27, 2019

501

WTF is banking as a service?

via Tearsheet

Like other industries, banking is in the slow process of moving to the cloud. As this happens, banking functionality is becoming available on demand. By working with a banking as a service provider, any app can bolt on a current account or process payments. This move calls into question what a bank really is and who will function as a user’s primary financial institution. (more…)

Banks, Influences FinTech, Open Source/ API

March 25, 2019

999

World’s fastest growing SME neo-bank announces Middle East expansion

via FinTech Magazine

Open, a neo-banking startup which offers business banking solutions for startups and SMEs, has announced that it will expand into the Middle East market. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Mobile-first banks, SME

March 22, 2019

511

Monzo and OakNorth join forces to offer savings accounts in challenger bank tie-up

via AltFi

Savings accounts will launch for Monzo’s 1.6m customers on Monday, powered by fellow fintech unicorn OakNorth.

The partnership will see Monzo launch seven types of savings ‘pot’, ranging from an easy-access account offering 1% AER all the way to a 12-month fixed-term account boasting a 1.53% AER.

Two of the accounts are available in a cash ISA, with an easy-access account at 1.14% AER and a 12-month fixed account at 1.38% AER. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news, Mobile-first banks

March 21, 2019

781

Tandem Bank launches ‘Autosavings’ account

via TechCrunch

Tandem Bank, the U.K. challenger bank, is launching a new savings account powered by its “Autosavings” feature designed to make it easier to save.

Paying 0.5 percent interest, the Tandem Autosavings account is effectively a flexible savings bank account built on top of Tandem’s existing bank account aggregation app and the various credit cards it offers. Using a number of rules, it will automatically put money aside based on your spending habits and what its algorithm deems you can afford. (more…)

Banks, Fintech news

March 20, 2019

576

Digital futurist Brett King on why credit cards will disappear

via The Australian Financial Review

Mr King, an adviser to local neo-bank Xinja, worries that traditional banks’ conservative cultures have created an “iterative” – or incremental – approach to making money that has put them years behind rapidly emerging digital disrupters famous for their willingness to take risks and break through.

“Banks can survive but have to become part of this new ecosystem,” said Mr King, who is based in Manhattan and visiting Australia. (more…)

Banks, People of fintech

March 18, 2019

675

The challenger bank playbook: A deep dive

via Finextra

Finextra reports on the rise of the challenger bank economy in Asia, as Money20/20 prepares to open its doors to a new wave of disruptors and innovators in Singapore next week.

As challengers – established firms – and neobanks – digital mobile outfits – are not burdened with legacy technology, they are able to disrupt the status quo. These organisations have taken off in the UK because of the traditional industry having adopted digital banking from the late 1990s.

According to KPMG’s global head of banking and capital markets Judd Caplain, this phenomenon has expanded immensely and there are now more than 100 challenger banks operating worldwide. Caplain lists Asian players such as China’s MyBank backed by titan Alibaba, WeBank launched by conglomerate Tencent, Digibank of India, Vietnam’s Timo, Japanese outfit Jibun Bank and South Korea’s K Bank and Kakao Bank as success stories.

(more…)

Banks, Global trends, InspirAsia, Mobile-first banks

March 13, 2019

344

Starling Debuts New Business Lending Strategy

via PYMNTS

U.K. challenger Starling Bank is moving forward with plans to introduce business lending services.Starling’s Head of SME Banking Stuart Doignie spoke with the publication during the RFi Group Global Business Banking Summit, noting that the bank plans to introduce unsecured business loans sometime this year. Loans may be between £5,000 ($6,540 USD) and £250,000, or larger, depending on demand and interest.

However, the company, which operates on a mobile-first platform to target smaller businesses, will not aim for an entirely automated lending service. (more…)

Banks, Mobile-first banks, p2p/online lending

March 8, 2019

10 ways central banks are experimenting with blockchain

via World Economic Forum (blog)

While research and experimentation with blockchain technology across sectors has been underway for several years, few organizations have deployed it. Although central banks are among the most cautious and prudent institutions in the world, a new white paper published by the World Economic Forum indicates that these institutions, perhaps surprisingly, are among the first to implement blockchain technology.

Central bank activities with blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are not always well known or communicated. As a result, there is a lot of speculation and misunderstanding. Yet dozens of central banks around the world – from Sweden to South Africa to Singapore – are actively investigating whether blockchain can help solve long-standing issues in banking, such as payment-system efficiency, payment security and resilience, as well as financial inclusion.

These organizations, tasked with overseeing a nation’s monetary policy and financial and economic stability, are very cautious to implement any technology or solution that can have adverse consequences. Yet many central banks are actively researching a variety of use cases to explore the technology’s potential in controlled, secure settings.

(more…)

Banks, Blockchain

March 4, 2019

401

From Book to Bank: How a Fintech Firm Found Its Calling

via Knowledge@Wharton

In the rapidly evolving world of fintechs, cutting-edge intermediaries that seek to disrupt traditional banking or cater to underserved niches, success depends on rigorous customer screening and proactive regulatory compliance, according to Vladislav (Slava) Solodkiy, cofounder and CEO of Puerto Rico-based Arival Bank. Solodkiy is also managing partner at Life.SREDA, a Singapore-based venture capital firm that over the past six years has invested in more than 20 fintech startups and successfully exited from nine. He has documented his journey from a fintech investor to a founder of a digital bank in his book, The First Fintech Bank’s Arival – From Book to Bank in 12 Months.

Arival claims to be the first digital fintech bank to be focused on small businesses, the so-called “gig economy” of entrepreneurs, freelancers and startups, and small and medium-sized business enterprises that use crypto currencies to receive and pay money. While it may be difficult to identify the ‘bad guys’ among those customers — who could be money launderers or others with dubious backgrounds — prompt reporting of problem cases to regulators and remedial action to prevent future occurrences could save fintechs from hefty fines, according to Solodkiy and Arival’s chief operating officer, Jeremy Berger. Arival is now in the process of securing a federal banking license in the U.S. and exploring similar licenses in Europe and Asia. Solodkiy and Berger shared insights into their strategies for Arival Bank and the road ahead for fintechs in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton. (more…)

About, Banks, Cryptocurrencies, Hotnews, Open Source/ API, People of fintech

December 20, 2018

4774

How the Banking Status Quo is Being Challenged in the Age of Fintech and APIs

 

It’s no secret that digital disruption is challenging the status quo in the banking world. The Digital Banking Asia Summit team spoke with Jeremy Berger, Chief Operating Officer at Arival Bank, a venture-backed digital banking startup for SMEs, to discuss new trends, innovating models, APIs and open banking. Jeremy is also the Portfolio Director of Life.SREDA, one of the first fintech only venture capital funds in Southeast Asia.

Additionally, Jeremy helped create (and now advises) Goldbell Investments, the corporate VC arm of the Goldbell Group, focusing on investments in fintech, mobility and automotive innovations. Prior to joining the venture capital and startup scene in Singapore, Jeremy worked for various fintech startups as well as one of the largest wealth management firms in the US.

(more…)

About, Banks, Hotnews, Influences FinTech, Open Source/ API, People of fintech

December 17, 2018

5749

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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

November 27, 2018

7715

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Accelerators/Incubators/Labs, Banks

November 11, 2018