The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday August 14, 2020 –

Here are the new and noteworthy stories we have been following this week.

Facebook Financial Formed to Pursue Company’s Payments Plans

Facebook has created a new group to pursue payments and commerce opportunities; called F2 internally, short for Facebook Financial, the group will run all payments projects, including Facebook Pay, the company’s universal payments feature that it plans to build inside all of its apps.

Routable Comes Out of Stealth Mode With $16M

Routable, a B2B billing and payments start-up has raised $16 million from a group of investors that includes Y Combinator, Founders Co-Op, Liquid 2 Ventures, and others; Routable will use the funds to invest in hiring and scaling their product.

AmEx eyes $850m Kabbage acquisition

American Express is reportedly in discussions to buy Kabbage for up to $850 million in cash, including retention payments; Kabbage was valued at more than $1 billion in 2017 after a $250 million investment from SoftBank.—bloomberg

Visa Expands Commitment to Sustainability Through Inaugural $500 Million Green Bond Issuance and Appointment of Chief Sustainability Officer Role

Visa announced the issuance of its inaugural green bond offering, totaling $500 million, paying a semi-annual coupon of 0.75% and maturing August 15, 2027;  the green bond will be used to help advance Visa’s commitment to environmental sustainability and a sustainable payments ecosystem.

Revolut, Europe’s $5.5 billion digital bank, says losses tripled in 2019

Revolut posted losses of £106.5 million for 2019, up from £32.9 million in 2018; the company attributed the losses to investments in international expansion and new products, as well as a decline in interchange revenue (partially offset by revenue from cryptocurrency trading).

Digital loan start-up Blend jumps to $1.7 billion valuation as mortgage demand surges

Blend, a digital lending start-up has raised $75 million in fresh funding at a valuation of almost $1.7 billion; Blend started out with software to digitize mortgage loan processing and has expanded to include auto loans, deposit account openings, and homeowners’ insurance.

Square’s Cash App tests new feature allowing users to borrow up to $200

Square is testing small dollar loans for its Cash App customers; the loans range in size from $20 and $200 repayable in 4 weeks at a flat fee of 5%.

German digital bank N26 is facing outcry from its staff over management

N26 is grappling with employee discontent as some of its staff move to organize a ‘Works Council’ to express their concerns with management; employees have raised concerns around salary transparency, work pressure, and trust and confidence in management.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston announces collaboration with MIT to research digital currency

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has announced a multiyear collaboration with the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT to perform technical research related to a central bank digital currency; the research project will explore the use of existing and new technologies to build and test a hypothetical digital currency platform.

Standard Chartered and Airtel team on African mobile money services

Standard Chartered Bank is working with Airtel Africa to expand mobile financial services across the African continent; the deal allows the customers of both organizations to use banks accounts and wallets for deposits and payments.

PayActiv secures $100 million in funding

PayActiv, announced that it has secured $100 million of funding in a Series C round from existing and new investors; additionally, PayActiv has also structured an expandable variable funding facility (“VF Facility”) with Security Benefit.

China to Expand Testing of a Digital Currency

China is expanding its digital currency pilot to include a number of large cities; according to the Commerce Ministry, the pilot program will cover Beijing and nearby Tianjin and Hebei province in the north; the Yangtze River Delta to the south; and, along China’s wealthy southern coast, Guangdong province and the neighboring cities of Hong Kong and Macau.