News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

A crowd of people held within two giant hands

1. UK – FinTech

Mondovisione carries the text of an online speech made by Charles Rendell, chair of the FCA:

 

“Highlights:

  • The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis shows we need to reassess our approach to consumer debt, high risk retail investments and financial exclusion
  • We need a robust framework for dealing with small business loans which turn out to be unaffordable
  • UK financial markets and businesses are well placed to help the country and the world recapitalise
  • The FCA has worked with pace and pragmatism in the crisis and will make these ways of working its new normal as it transforms for the future.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic I’ve discussed with a number of those present how financial services firms, regulators, the government and the voluntary sector have been working together to keep the financial system operating, get businesses through the lockdown, and consumers through the crisis.

We don’t agree about everything, but we agree on a lot. And we agree first and foremost that we all owe our gratitude to tens of thousands of people who work in financial services up and down the country and who have been on the front line. The people who have kept bank branches and ATMs open, cash circulating and payments flowing. The people who have manned the phones under enormous pressure to help hundreds of thousands of people manage their debt burdens and keep their businesses afloat. The people who have kept key systems resilient.”

 

2. UK – FinTech

 

UK TechNews reports:

“Plum, the smart app for managing money with more than 1m users in the UK, reveals data to show how UK consumer saving behaviour has shifted in 2020.

With the lockdown due to COVID-19 being the period of steepest growth, Plum has seen a huge spike in money saved during the year to date.

The total money saved by Plum for users has increased by 5x since the start of January. This is the total amount of money saved by Plum users by the end of May, taking into account money withdrawn as well as money deposited.

Plum’s AI algorithm responds to each user’s individual income and outgoings, setting aside affordable amounts every few days. The increase in net money saved shows that, on average, people have been spending less and have not needed to dip into their savings, meaning the Plum algorithm saves larger amounts each time.

There is also evidence that many people are using lockdown to actively stash away funds wherever they can. For example, Plum has noticed a 163% rise in utility switches during the first five months of 2020.”

3. International – FinTech

 

 

Revolut has extended its open banking-backed account aggregation feature for its 1m Irish customersAltFi reports:

“The digital banking service now supports account aggregation from a host of Irish banks, including AIB, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB and Bank of Ireland.

Revolut’s new service was built with the help of TrueLayer’s financial API, which allows account information from Irish banks to be quickly and securely integrated.

Joshua Fernandes, product owner for open banking at Revolut, said: “With the rollout of our Open Banking feature, our retail and business customers in Ireland can now view and manage multiple Irish bank accounts, enabling them to interpret their day to day spending across all of their accounts, with the added benefit of making our offering even more relevant, user-friendly, faster and more cost-efficient for our customers.”

Revolut also added that it hopes to add more bank accounts, both in Ireland and the UK, in the near future.”

4. International – FinTech

Interesting figures on a pre-Covid boom in Israel. Crowdfundinsider reports:

“A record $1.8 billion was invested in Israel’s Fintech sector in 2019, which represented a 107% increase compared to 2018 when financial technology firms attracted $800 million in total investments.

Israel is currently ranked fifth, globally, in terms of total Fintech investments, according to a new report. China, the US, the UK, and India are also leading the charge in terms of total funding acquired for financial technology projects, a report from Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) reveals.

Investments in Israel’s Fintech industry accounted for 5.1% of the total global investments made in the sector. SNC noted that there are 529 Fintech firms offering services in Israel, which is significantly more than 288 in 2014 (an increase of about 85%). The report added that “the pool of Israeli startups offering relevant solutions for financial service providers is far wider.”

 

5. International - FinTech

Upgrade, the US alternative lender, has raised a $40m Series D funding round from investors including Santander InnoVentures, according to AltFi.

“The lender also revealed that since its launch in 2017, more than 10m consumers have applied for its loans and credit cards, with over $3bn of credit extended.

“We are thrilled to welcome Santander InnoVentures as a new shareholder,” said Upgrade CEO and co-founder Renaud Laplanche.

“Our strategy of partnering with banks and credit unions of all sizes is delivering tremendous value to our partners and customers, and we are delighted to add one of the largest banks in the world to our partner roster.”

It’s the second time in as many weeks that Santander has made waves in the world of fintech, with the bank’s executive chairman Ana Botín pledging to hire 3,000 IT professionals only last Friday.

Upgrade says its credit lines are currently growing at a “triple digit annual rate”, with the current financial crisis certainly supporting that.”