The Week in Review

The Week in Review

Friday October 9, 2020 –

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

Venmo launches its first credit card with scannable QR code and personalized cash-back rewards

Venmo has partnered with Synchrony to launch a Visa credit card targeting its 60 million users; the card can be managed in the Venmo app, carries a QR code that can be used to receive payments, and offers a customized rewards program with a 3% pay back.

Macy’s invests in online ‘buy now, pay later’ firm Klarna

Macy’s is making an investment in Klarna and entering into a five-year partnership to offer a “buy now, pay later” option to its customers; under the terms of the deal, Macy’s customers will have the option to make payments in four equal, interest-free installments at the online checkout.

Digital bank for the well-heeled gets licence to build Monument

Monument, a new UK-based digital bank targeting the affluent savings sector has secured its initial (restricted) banking license and will be closing a substantial funding round to help accelerate its rollout; Monument has already raised approximately £20m of funding from various investors

Peer-to-peer lending failed

According to a communication from LendingClub to its customers, it will move away from the peer-to-peer funding model (“Effective December 31, 2020, LendingClub will retire the Notes platform.”); the company will now use deposits generated by Radius Bank to fund its loans.

JPMorgan Chase Commits $30 Billion to Advance Racial Equity

Chase is committing $30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities; the funding will be targeted towards mortgages, residential refinancing loans, small business loans, equity investments, and other initiatives designed to improve financial health and banking access.

Mastercard and Marqeta Expand Strategic Global Partnership

Marqeta and Mastercard have announced an extended global partnership to expand into new geographies, open access to new products, and launch additional card programs together; as part of this partnership, Mastercard has also made an undisclosed financial investment in Marqeta.

Ant Group’s $35 bln IPO unlikely to be hurt by possible U.S. curbs, analysts say

As the Ant Group moves towards its $35 billion IPO it is unlikely to suffer from any US restrictions due to its very limited overseas presence particularly in the US; Ant is expected to go public as soon as this month in what could be the world’s largest IPO.

Bank of America Takes on Payday Lenders

Bank of America is launching ‘Balance Assist’ a small-dollar short-term loan program starting in January 2021; customers that have had a checking account for a year will be able to borrow up to $500 for a flat $5 fee and repay in three equal monthly installments over 90 days.

Killer Mike, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover launch a digital bank

A new community-focused digital bank Greenwood is launching in January; the bank is supported by a group of Black Atlanta businessmen, politicians, and entertainers and will be focusing on Black and Latinix people and businesses.

Central banks are weighing their own digital currencies – this is what they could look like

The Bank for International Settlements and seven central banks including the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England have published a report laying out some key requirements for CBDC’s; among the recommendations: CBDCs should compliment but not replace cash, be secure, and cheap.