News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

many hands in a circle

1.UK – FinTech

Presumably, RBS paid real money to branding experts to come up with the name of its just-launched digital bank. This, from AltFi


“Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has today (Wednesday) officially launched its digital bank Bó, as it looks to take market share from challenger banks like Monzo, Revolut and Starling.

RBS said it has signed up around 3,500 customers but is hoping for an uptick in customers when it launches an advertising blitz early next year.

It will offers customers current accounts- which come with a bright yellow payment card- through its app.

Bó CEO Mark Bailie, a long-standing RBS executive who was latterly Chief Operating Officer, told the FT he is hoping to attract "a few million" current accounts to Bó- which will have no branches but offer all its services through its app- over the next four to five years.

Bailie said: “In this digital, contactless age, people need support managing their money more than ever. It is all too easy to lose control. Our data suggests that three quarters of people in the UK are living financially unsustainable lives. We want to help change this.”


2. UK – FinTech

Fintech investor Merian Chrysalis has invested an extra $4.2m (£3.3m) in TransferWise and invested a further £12.2m in pension challenger Embark Group, according to AltFi.

“Merian already has holdings in challenger bank Starling and peer-to-peer lender Growth Street.

Its additional investment in TransferWise, which was founded in 2011 by Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, (pictured) was made through its unit Merian Global Investors and follows an £11m investment it made in TransferWise in February this year.

In total, Merian now has a £57m investment sum in the currency specialist.”


3. UK – AltFi


The Co-op launches a same-day loan service.


The Co-operative Bank has launched a loans service, which it says will use machine learning to tailor loans to individual customers.

The bank has teamed up with Freedom Finance, the personal loan broker, on the service.

The Co-op said through machine learning and its technology, customers will be able to carry out a search of unsecured personal loan options which will not negatively impact their credit rating.

The Co-op said it has tailored a panel of lenders, which excludes payday lenders.

Loans will be available form £1,000 to £25,000 over a period of one to seven years, with interest rates ranging from 3.1 percent APR to 39.9 APR.

The bank said applicants will be able to receive funds on the same day as they apply for loans.


4. UK – AltFi

Too little, too late? Perhaps this describes The Times’ coverage of the LCF fiasco and related mni-bond horrors. Anyway, here’s a column from that newspaper.

“Time flies in regulation. Who’d have thought it’s four years since the Financial Conduct Authority was first warned about London Capital & Finance?

Still, not to worry. The regulator’s boss, Andrew Bailey, is now on the case. He’s spotted that minibonds can cause maxi trouble, what with their tendency to wipe out punters with fantasy offers of 8 per cent-plus interest. Even better, he’s come up with a “temporary intervention” that tackles less than half the problem. And, no, he doesn’t think it’s a case of “too little, too late”.

5. International – AltFi

Global credit reporting agency Equifax has teamed up with the Open Data Institute, a non-profit data research body founded by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, to launch a report on the international consent framework for Open Banking, according to P2P Finance News.

“The report aims to identify and compare consent environments across the globe, as Open Banking becomes more commonly used internationally. It also aims to outline important information consider and the consequences for breaking data consent rules in different regions.

Read more: New Open Banking-powered credit assessment product launches

Open Banking is a data-sharing initiative that mandates high street banks to share anonymised customer data with approved third parties, to boost competition within financial services. A number of peer-to-peer lenders have adopted the technology in order to level the playing field with banks.

The new report combines research into the data-sharing initiative across a range of countries with interviews with experts from each region.”