News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

people in an airport, man using laptop

1. UK – FinTech 


Alternative lender iwoca has raised £100m from an undisclosed investor, the company has revealed. AltFi carries the story.  

“The fintech, which became an accredited lender under the scheme last month, says that the cash will be used to help support businesses through the scheme and open applications to new customers for the first time.  

Under CBILS, SMEs can apply for loans between £50,001 and £5m, although iwoca only offers loans up to £300,000.  

The alternative lender was also one of the slowest to gain accreditation, after rumours swirled that iwoca was among the first to apply, but one of the last to get the seal of approval.  

According to AltFi’s sources, this could have been because the alternative lender didn’t want to announce its accreditation before it was fully ready to begin lending.  

iwoca's analysis of the HM Treasury data shows that the number of CBILS applications awaiting approval has increased every week, with a new business applying for a government-backed loan every three minutes in June and July.” 

2. UK – FinTech 

Landbay has a mystery backer. AltFi reports. 

“Buy-to-let mortgage lending platform Landbay this morning announced a funding partnership with an unnamed UK bank. 

The partnership will see the deposit-taking bank fund mortgages originated by Landbay, with mortgages held on the bank’s balance sheet. 

Landbay declined to reveal which bank the partnership is with, but said the move would help to further strengthen the platform’s institutional funding and allow it to launch new lending products.” 

3. US – FinTech 


Finextra takes a look at a US challenger bank: 

“Varo Money has become the first US consumer fintech firm to be granted a national bank charter, enabling the digital challenger to offer a full suite of FDIC-insured services. 

The San Francisco-based outfit was granted the charter by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and has secured regulatory approvals from the FDIC and Federal Reserve to open Varo Bank N.A.

Co-founded by former Wells Fargo executive Colin Walsh, Varo Money - which last month closed a $241 million funding round - currently provides a range of savings, loans and account-based services through a relationship with The Bancorp Bank.

With the national charter now in hand, Varo Bank will expand its services to target a broader set of customer needs including access to credit, and additional savings products.” 


4. International – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports on a launch of a new product in Hong Kong, of all places. 


“WeLab Bank has confirmed the public launch of its digital banking services. WeLab Bank is notably the only stand-alone firm to acquire a virtual bank license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city-state’s de facto central bank that’s also responsible for promoting the efficiency, integrity and development of its financial system. 

The new virtual bank reportedly began pilot services back in April 2020 (under the HKMA Fintech Supervisory Sandbox). 

WeLab Bank is a homegrown digital bank that acquired an operational license in April 2019. It’s one of only eight virtual bank licensees in Hong Kong. 

WeLab Bank claims that it’s completely digital, and has been developed for customers to take advantage of “a range of next generation digital services 24/7 from their mobile phones.” 


5. International – AltFi/Other 


Infographics often represent the triumph of some know-nothing geek, but this one from McKinsey says a lot in a concise way. 


Here are the stand-out points: 


1. COVID-19 is transforming consumer lives - we have covered a "decade in days" in adoption of digital Three change forces—economic downturn, preference shifts, and digital acceleration  

2. Behavior changes are not linear and their stickiness will depend on satisfaction of the new experiences Ups and downs ahead of us Stickiness = forced behavior x satisfaction The jury is still out on value-driven behaviors  

3. Future is NOW - Players should prepare Prepare for consumption declines/ trading down Address footprint offer, and shopping experience for the new reality Follow consumers in their new decision journeys when you market and communicate 


The graphic can be found here.