The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday August 28, 2020 –

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

Inside Ant Group’s Giant Valuation: One Billion Alipay Users and Big Profit Margins

Ant Group has filed papers to list on the Shanghai and Honk Kong stock exchanges seeking a valuation of over $200B; based on financial data disclosed as part of the listing process, Ant made $3 billion in net income for the first six months of 2020 on revenues of $10.5 billion.

Discover Partners to Launch a Connected Automotive Fleet Payments Solution

Discover is working with Car IQ, a fintech startup to create a payments platform for machine-initiated payments beginning with automotive fleets; fleet vehicles that are connected to the Car IQ platform will be able to transact autonomously to pay for services through the infrastructure of the Discover Global Network.

Standard Chartered Korea to provide banking in messaging apps with PayKey

Standard Chartered Bank Korea is expanding its partnership with PayKey, an Israeli fintech, to launch a new keyboard based solution that brings embedded banking to its mobile banking customers; the new solution allows customers to manage all of their bank accounts through the keyboard in any mobile app, including KakaoTalk, WhatsApp, and Naver.

Digital bank startup Copper raises $4.3M to help teens learn how to spend and save money

Copper, a teen-focused digital bank has raised a $4.3 million seed round from PSL Ventures and other investors; Copper is focused on building financial literacy within teens and targets the 13- to 19-year-old demographic with a debit card and a banking app along with various incentives for learning and demonstrating sound financial practices.

ConsenSys acquires JPMorgan’s blockchain platform Quorum

Blockchain startup ConsenSys has acquired Chase’s blockchain platform Quorum; as part of the deal Chase has also made a strategic investment in ConsenSys which in turn will run, operate, and manage the Quorum platform and business.

New blank-check company from Bancorp founder lays groundwork for a fintech deal

A new $750 million special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is listing on the NASDAQ with the goal of acquiring a fintech company; the SPAC, ‘FTAC Olympus Acquisition’ has been established by the founder and former CEO of The Bancorp.

City First-Broadway Deal Will Create Biggest Black-Led U.S. Bank

City First Bank of D.C. in Washington and Los Angeles-based Broadway Federal Bank have agreed to merge creating the biggest Black-led bank in the US; the combined firm will have $1 billion in assets and will focus on commercial lending that furthers economic and social equity in underserved communities.

Klarna, Europe’s $5.5 billion fintech, sees losses rise sevenfold in the first half

Klarna reported a net loss of 522 million Swedish krona ($59.8 million) in the first half of 2020 as the company invested in international expansion and increased reserves; credit losses almost doubled to around 1.2 billion krona ($139.2 million), a figure the group said was adjusted for “macroeconomic uncertainty.”

Artis Raises Another $1.5M in Seed Funding

Atlanta-based lending solutions provider Artis Technologies has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Fintech Ventures Fund and its affiliates; Artis provides lending solutions for businesses to provide financing to their customers at the point of need.

ECB cautions against the power of Big Tech in financial services and cloud provision

The European Central Bank (ECB) is concerned about the role non-EU companies are playing in cloud computing as well as the role of Big Tech in digital financial services; the ECB lists regulatory and supervisory issues and concentration risk among its major worries.

Banks eye layoffs as short-term crisis ends, long-term costs emerge

According to various industry sources, banks are starting to look at layoffs given cost pressures driven by the extended impact of COVID-19, a soft economy, low interest rates, and impending credit losses; Chase has already cut around 100 jobs in mid-July and Wells resumed cutting jobs in August.