Welcome to the Fintech highFIVE! 🖐 Every day, I’m amazed by the sheer amount of news and innovation happening in the industry. 🤯 Fintech truly has not stopped, even during these crazy times. I can’t help but notice common themes in this huge sea of news — so I’m trying something new to bring these headlines together. Bi-weekly, I’ll be hitting you with the biggest themes seen in the news — all counted down on just one hand. 👊 So gimme 5 🙏 as we celebrate 🙌 the best of fintech each week.
*We’re socially distant here. Virtual high-fives only 👏 Please don’t hit your screen.
- Negative interest rates: The Bank of England recently wrote to the banks to gauge their readiness for the possibility of negative interest rates. In its 326 year history, negative interest rates have never been adopted, but the bank wanted a temperature check on whether banks are operationally and technologically ready for such a circumstance. It turns out that the banks aren’t all that ready for this. Interest rates are already at 0.1% or 0%, you may have noticed from your savings interest which is the equivalent of 10p per £10,000! Going into the negative can greatly affect consumers, here is some advice on what to do in this eventuality.
- Big players get bigger: We’ve got major global players making big investment/acquisition moves. Macy's, the US department store chain, recently invested an undisclosed amount into Klarna. Square has invested $50 million in bitcoin, arguing that the cryptocurrency is an "instrument of economic empowerment." Mastercard has invested in Marqeta, an open API card issuing and processing platform (for an undisclosed amount). Finally, Stripe is acquiring Paystack. Stripe have paid more than $200m to acquire the Nigerian start-up who have been described as "the Stripe of Africa." This is a big move for Stripe who expanded into Africa to take on Paystack’s 60,000 customers in one of the continent’s biggest deals so far.
- Cloudy with a chance of growth: Payments revenue growth forecasts almost halved under brightest post-Pandemic outlook. Annual global payments revenues could reach $1.8 trillion under a quick Covid-rebound scenario, representing a considerable slowdown in growth from pre-pandemic boom times according to this BCG report.
- Big developments in CBDCs: There continues to be lots of noise in the industry about central bank digital currencies. China has launched theirs in Shenzhen, where they held a lottery distributing 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) worth of its new digital currency to 50,000 people. European Central banks laid out ground rules for CBDC creation. Where they found no rivalry between public and private solutions. While in Australia, the Reserve Bank says that the public policy case for issuing a general purpose or retail CBDC is still to be made.
- The effects of the pandemic: While we work in a robust industry which has weathered the pandemic quite well in comparison to others, Fintech and financial services will not escape unscathed, recently Virgin Money was forced to cut 400 jobs, while Danske Bank will see the loss of 1600 jobs. Fortune has predicted that overall, the sector is on course for near record job losses.
10 top news and interesting reading you might have missed over the last couple of weeks
- OMG! Yandex calls off $5.5bn Tinkoff takeover
- Exit packages: 60 Coinbase staffers take exit package over no-politics stance
- Financial inclusion: Petal launches credit card for people with poor credit
- The Unicorn club: Indian fintech Razorpay joins club with $100 million funding
- Diversity report: 2020 Crunchbase diversity report
- The big question: Do founders make the best CEOs?
- Who will be the most profitable of them all?: Which neobanks will rise or fall?
- Uganda mobile money fraud: Their banks have been plunged into chaos by a hack
- $4.5m for Clair: Raised money to help gigi workers get paid instantly
- Inside Monzo 2.0: Who’s running the show now?
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