Markus Kuger, Chief Economist at commercial data and analytics firm, Dun & Bradstreet

“Today’s confirmation of a 2% contraction of real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2020 is the sharpest drop we’ve seen since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Although UK figures for Q1 are not as extreme as the eurozone contraction (where GDP fell by almost 4%), Q2 figures are expected to show continued contraction as the UK lockdown was implemented slightly later than in other European countries. The data released today shows that the UK economy shrank by 5.8% in March, and the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is likely to increase significantly in April and throughout Q2.

“The Federation of Small Businesses has also confirmed today that 40% of small businesses have closed due to the pandemic, with a third of those considering redundancies and unsure if they will reopen at all. Smaller businesses make up over 99% of private businesses in the UK and a rise in unemployment and business failures will put further strain on the economy as businesses struggle to recover.

“Taking into account faltering growth, higher unemployment rates, disrupted supply chains and an anticipated rise in credit risks, Dun & Bradstreet has downgraded the UK’s country risk rating to a new all-time low, and moved the UK from ‘low risk’ to the ‘medium risk’ category. Our analysis has also resulted in a ‘deteriorating rapidly’ outlook for the UK with further downgrades likely in the months ahead.”

KASKO Supports SIGNAL IDUNA to Launch New Legal Notice Insurance for Online Business Amid COVID-19 Crisis
  • The new protection is part of the “Non-Food Retail Initiative” being run by SIGNAL IDUNA and the Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE), a leading German retail organisation, to strengthen local trade.

  • KASKO built the new insurance solution is in 8 weeks, which includes integration into a third-party tool that automatically check the online business is legally compliant by going through its website, helping to avoid hefty fines

  • The SI Legal Notice Protection also provides customers with tips on how to ensure their business is fully compliant. The aim is to help more German retail businesses move online successfully at a time where traditional bricks and mortar stores are closed due to the COVID-19 Crisis. 

KASKO, the London InsurTech providing the fastest and most flexible platform for insurance incumbents and startups to digitalise and scale their product offering, has announced its latest work for German insurance provider, SIGNAL IDUNA, launching the SI Legal Notice Protection in just 8 weeks. 47 percent of German online retailers have been fined for not having fully compliant websites and for businesses moving online during the COVID-19 challenge, the average fine they risk receiving for missing key information is up to €2000.

KASKO worked with SIGNAL IDUNA to launch the new product which is part of the insurer’s ‘Non-Food Retail Initiative’ in collaboration with German retail association, Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE), to strengthen local trade. Businesses that are going digital for the first time can fall foul of providing inappropriate or missing disclaimers, warranty for defects or data privacy policies. When they do, they will be fined. KASKO’s digital product suite includes an automatic screening of their website for data to see what they do and don’t have, looking at the risk of a new customer and it removes the need for expensive and time-inefficient lawyers.

The insurance costs customers €24.99 per month, which will cover an initial review by Signal Iduna’s partner law firms and costs associated with legal and court expenses expenses, dunning fees and third-party damages, up to €100,000.

Nikolaus Suehr, Co-Founder and CEO of KASKO commented, “This product can make a big difference to small businesses as they move their operation online in the time of crisis. We’re really proud of the work we have done, and know that this product will make a difference. We are also happy with the success of our partnership with SIGNAL IDUNA which came via an introduction by one of the premier global strategy consulting firms. Collaborating with trusted advisors like them is opening new doors to insurance partners who are adapting their services to include best-in-class solutions to better serve their own clients. KASKO is in a great place to provide them with the smart digital solutions they need for customers today.”

Denise Stahlhut, Product Manager for SIGNAL IDUNA, added, “Speed and timing were crucial in delivering this product. Right now, business owners are quickly having to pivot to ensure they survive and are able to still trade. Whilst this is great for business, for those who haven’t run a digital store before, they are more likely to miss critical information in order to be fully compliant. Our new insurance will not only protect them, but provide them with the tools and information they need to ensure they are operating as they should be. KASKO were fast and agile in responding to the needs of this product as the world around us continued to shift, and as a result we have great third-party features that will really help our customers.” 

For more information go to or

Three actions that help gigs and small businesses where it matters most…

As we are slowly putting our heads above ground, we see
early effects on spending and the way we spend as people and
Recent research
clearly shows that one in five Londoners has
cancelled direct debits over the last few weeks for
‘non-essential’ expenditure such as lease cars, leisure
memberships, subscriptions, etc. Charities suffer
equally from full cancellations
that will take a lot of effort
to reinstate when the ‘real economy’ veers back.

We all agree on our concern for the real
: the small businesses, the independent traders, and
workers (#gig) that always find themselves at the forefront of
change. So besides ‘voting with our hands and feet’ as we buy
stuff what can we do for them? As a bank, a PSP? As the world is
changing so should we by adopting and offering other – more
balanced and instant – ways to pay and collect money.

Action 1 – instant money in the bank

‘Cash is king’ is today truer than ever. It
is no good to have a long list of debtors who do not pay or not on
time. The cost of late payments cannot be overstated in terms of
pure money, but also in terms of lost opportunities and late hires.
Hitachi Capital UK issued a research paper in September 2019 and
calculated that late payments cost the UK SMEs some £51.5billion a
year. The
European Payments Report
researched nearly 10,000 businesses in
29 countries all over Europe on the risk, impact and solutions of
late payments. Faster and instant payments can make a huge
difference, probably more so than ‘organised encouragement’
such as the Prompt Payment Code in the UK or the European Late
Payments Directive, that most small businesses, let alone
independent traders, are aware of.

The report shows that in general SMEs protect themselves against
late and bad payment through pre-payments (42%), credit checks
(24%), debt collection if all fails (20%), and some go for bank
guarantees and or credit insurance (10/10%) and about 6% opt for
invoice financing.

The only true solutions above are pre-payments and financing,
whereby the former does not necessarily build a great experience
upfront if you demand 100% before delivery and factoring is quite a
hard process to go through for infrequent customers.

A Request to Pay private
label scheme
allows a bank to offer a full end to end service
to its business customers and charitable organisations, clubs etc.
to secure instant receivables or on time via a pre-agreed time
schedule for partial payments. A bank that helps businesses send
invoices and receive money instantly is truly standing up for its
customers and puts its ‘money where its mouth is’.


Action 2 – create fair balance and control for

 Instant money collection is not new of course,
but it used to be tied to a predefined payment product – by the
bank – like a direct debit. This is much loved by the issuer, the
payee, but not so much by the client, the payer as we now find out.
Many clubs and charities are suffering today from (unnecessary)
cancellations simply because people are now very wary about money
just leaving the account. As wardrobes got sorted out, so did

the lists of direct debits over the last few weeks
. If you
would be able to offer your customers or donators the opportunity
to say yes/no on a monthly basis some business and revenue would be
saved. Also, direct debits are quite laborious to set up and
require a lot of attention on both sides before anything can happen
and the ‘Pause†button does not work in all countries. Request
to Pay services delete the sense of being out of control and
redress the balance in a world that is fragile enough as it is


Action 3 – free up real business time

Most entrepreneurs love their job and our passionate about their
business, yet ‘hate’ the admin and hassle around it. As a
veteran SME banker told us recently: “In forty years of SME
banking one truth holds up: anything that costs less or saves time
gets a thumb’s upâ€. This insight is not new and used by many
players from accounting package providers to (neo) banks and single
purpose fintech apps. There is indeed a lot of new great technology
out there, but we see that busy businessmen and women prefer not to
go ‘app hopping’ after a or during a busy working day. They
would prefer to make an invoice in the banking or payments app they
are used to, send it by Whatsapp or email, whichever tool liked by
the company or the client, securely, get notifications when the
client has received the invoice and paid by ‘click’ or on a
time schedule, or when he/she is late. Reminders are issued and
payments are automatically making money through work. Dashboards give insight
and that is key


Let’s join forces and start today

Banks and other licensed payment providers still have the
x-factor at hand today: they can give their customers a
single business overview across multiple
AND offer accounting package integration and
AND work with external parties if
they like
around niche fee-based services such as lending,
check-out loans, invoice financing etc.

Under the financial institution’s own brand, through the label
their customers like and trust. This way one builds a relevant and
rewarding relationship from day one, through pain and gain,
hopefully into a period of enterprise ready international growth.
Why not build all that trust and mutual insight through your own
hard-earned brand, rather than give that experience away? You can
be that bank for your customers today. Let us be your invisible force
behind the scenes!

The post
Three actions that help gigs and small businesses where it matters
appeared first on The Fintech Times.

The Rise of Staking


At the end of last month, Tezos (XTZ) became the largest staking network, in terms of assets locked in, according to Staking Rewards. The total amount equaled to $1.81 billion. A couple of weeks after Bitcoin’s halving, the network hash rate is trending down and inefficient mining hardware was taken offline. While proof-of-work remains popular with Bitcoin (BTC), interest in proof-of-stake protocols has been picking up speed. As Ethereum prepares to shift to a PoS blockchain, interest in staking crypto is growing. Staking isn’t just a way to earn crypto. Is staking the answer to cryptocurrency’s mining problems?

Coinbase recently announced that customers can stake their Cosmos (ATOM) tokens. The move allows these investors to lock their tokens on the network and collect inflation rewards on their otherwise idle holdings. Coinbase already supports staking with the established players like Tezos, Dash and Decred.


Most people think that the only way to make huge profits with cryptocurrencies is buying them when prices are low and selling them when they go up.

But over the last year, staking has become more widespread. More and more people have been paying attention, with staking touted as the best way to make passive returns, by just holding crypto. Staking is holding a certain amount of coins to participate in the network and obtain a reward in return. Staking gives an average annual yield of 10-20% depending on the coins.

The total market cap for all Proof of Stake (PoS) coins stands at $15 billion. Much of this is unnoticed by cryptocurrency holders, because exchanges managing staking on their behalf.

Unlike mining and block rewards awarded to miners for solving complex mathematical problem (Proof of Work — PoW), staking is about receiving a reward for locking coins in a dedicated wallet for a required period of time on the network (Proof of Stake — PoS).


When new blocks are created and added to the blockchain, transactions are verified by someone who has staked some coins. The objective of staking is to increase the security of the network. The more wallets staking, the more secure the network becomes.

In PoS, block validators are chosen from the pool of people holding the coins. The PoS algorithm selects validators based on the number of tokens a given node has staked in their wallet — deposited as collateral in order to compete to add the next block to the chain. A miner can get into the pool by staking a bound wallet with a certain number of coins. Compounding interest allows a single wallet to gain even more coins, at an increased rate year over year.

Proof-of-Stake is not a new concept. Cryptocurrency staking was first introduced in the year 2012 by Sunny King and Scott Nadal in a whitepaper introducing the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, Peercoin (PPC), as a form of reward for the Proof of Stake Consensus algorithm. Since then, several other cryptocurrencies have implemented the Proof of Stake algorithm, as a method of transaction verification. The largest 10 cryptocurrenceis supporting staking are:

Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 01.20.22

Later this we summer, Ethereum will join their ranks. The Ethereum development team is working on ETH 2.0, a significant upgrade that involves re-engineering the entire Ethereum platform and launching a new, more scalable version. Moving Ethereum from a Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, is part of the ETH 2.0 implementation.

All blockchains have one thing in common: transactions need to get validated. As mining has become complicated and commercialized, the days of easy profits have long gone.

Staking is becoming  the primary form of passive income, and also lets users become more active within a community. The popularity of staking suggests that long-term hodlers can earn guaranteed low-risk returns on their portfolios. But stakers are faced with some tough choices. Locking up tokens for an extended period of time, increases the risk of financial loss. Staked coins cannot be sold or transferred until the estimated time of storage has elapsed. It’s possible to be up in the absolute number of tokens but down in value, depending on the coin you’re holding.

Staking lowers the barriers of entry into the crypto ecosystem and gives users more options to financially participate in the consensus and governance of blockchains. Also, traders that want to take a break from the joys of volatility, can use staking and make money, regardless of the market being up, down or sideways.

Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain AG and a weekly columnist at

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The #FinTech4SDG Payoff

Bankers and founders alike have made FinTech for Sustainability a foundation for getting rich quick – while protecting the planet. Our own pages have reported on Standard Chartered’s $75bn commitment towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN’s own task forces have been trying to figure out ways to get FinTech money in the hands of start-ups that focus on social, environmental and labour issues. FinTech can raise a lot of money for SDGs – as well as the FinTech start-ups, intrapreneured ventures and even formal I-bank led FinTech start-ups. The $300 trillion figure gets bandied around quite a bit. Could a FinTech start up really attract so much money — and for such a good cause?

Our research finds that only $50 billion to $125 billion could come from a ‘FinTech Dividend. Unlike the claiming trillions, these rewards can go to FinTech firms who know how to play the policy game. Such a dividend could come from FinTech platforms getting subsidized loans — like several banks have vowed to give. Such a divided will not come from the vapid, one line recommendations made by the UN and World Bank.

In this paper, FinTech greenfields and remittances alone represent multi-billion dollar opportunities. Some FinTech initiatives actually compete – rather than support- private FinTech, making private Fintech investing for the SDGs a risk… and an opportunity. If you can get the Asian Development Bank, IFC, or European Investment Bank to fund your company, you are sailing. If not, you compete against firms that do receive this kind of patronage.

Instead of policy pronouncements (from the UN and local governments like the US) we need legal reform. A clear position by a body by the Finacial Stability Board (or FSB, the closest thing we have to a global rulemaker) would help. Yet, the FSB clearly wants to see what shakes out of the financial system — not in guiding it. Country law can vary like night and day. In Taiwan’s case, their official FinTech law consists of a few pages of general guidelines (following the Chinese law-writing approach). In Mexico, their FinTech law spands hundreds of pages – clearly movatied by the American school of law writing. Yet, neither method seems better – as measured by pulling in FinTech assets, FinTech focused on SDGs, or on sustainable development more generally. We do not know what encourages productive and profitable FinTech4SDGs.

Yet, given UN waste, membership waste, and little support, we know that SDGs could – at a max – receive only about 3%-13% of their funding from FinTechs. Making such a number higher will rely on deregulation for so many — which keeps investment (even by government agencies) at a mere $200 billion. The UN won’t invent the next, great FinTech to help fund the SDGs. Start ups in remittances and digital wallet-style credit — whether on a blockchain…or not — have also raised billions. These areas should get both public and private support.

But $50 million is better than nothing. If you put a ‘SDG spin’ on your start up, you are more likely to get funding, and impress your socially-conscious peers, workers and younger siblings.

For the research, see:

Dr. Bryane Michael currently works for the University of Hong Kong. He worked on financial law and economics at the World Bank and OECD in the 1990s, EU and Oxford for the past 20 years, and continues work with the Hong Kong government on financial law reform.

Authored by Bryane Michael, University of Hong Kong

  • Dr. Bryane Michael (FSRA) researches how to make FinTech law more profitable for their host jurisdictions – at the University of Hong Kong. His project also includes developing an investible FinTech4SDG index for institutional investors (as a Series 7 and 66 securities advisor) and pilot programammes for 2 countries.

Koine secures in-principal approval in the UAE as institutional custody and settlement platform goes from strength to strength

Koine  is pleased to announce that it has been awarded in-principle approval (IPA) to provide custody in relation to Virtual Assets in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).  The IPA was granted by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM.

With a growing demand for institutional investment in virtual assets with the emerging growth of institutional investors in digital securities, Koine’s regulated services will meet the needs of both Koine customers, as well as the broader digital asset community.

Koine’s post-trade solution was created in order to provide the most secure, easy to use Institutional custody, settlement and related cash management service for the new generation of digitised assets. Critically eliminating counter-party, credit and insolvency risks in a compliant framework with a strong governance environment. It also allows Institutional Capital the ability to invest in digital assets without any change to conventional fund mandates.

The design that Koine utilises, allows for any potential failure of an exchange/venue leaving client assets fully intact and available for use. The Koine platform allows for assets & fiat currency to be moved in sub-second timeframes between market venues allowing for settlement in real-time using Delivery vs. Payment (DvP) and at fixed prices which are known in advance. Humans intervention is removed from the standard post-trade process reducing security risks.

Additionally, Koine ensure that the average value of funds held in hot wallets is nil. Value at Risk is properly insured. The platform is also suitable for Market Makers and Algorithmic Traders.

Leading the Koine team as CEO and Chairman is Hugh L. Hughes, ex-CEO of Société Générale Securities and co-founder of Fixnetix, the market data and electronic trading platform later bought by DXC Technology.

Hugh Hughes, Chairman and CEO at Koine, said: “The Koine model has always been one built upon the fundamental importance of good governance. This is the only way to attract institutional capital into the digital asset market, unlocking the huge, industry wide benefits that come with it. Delivering best practice and regulatory compliance for our institutional clients is something we take very seriously. Not only does this latest In-Principal Approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) further strengthen Koine’s global footprint, but also serves to reaffirm our belief in robust regulation. 

“We look forward to future constructive dialogue with regulators and institutions in the UAE and around the world, in line with our focus of putting the client’s needs for regulatory oversight at front of mind. Following this further vote of confidence in our model, we are sure this will give our clients even greater reassurance when looking to move into one of the most vibrant sectors of the financial ecosystem.”

Dominic Longman, CEO, Koine, Middle East, said I am extremely excited to be returning to Abu Dhabi with Koine, to build out this key financial infrastructure that can support not just those first virtual assets but all asset classes as they move to tokenised/blockchain technology. Koine begins to answer the question “How to mitigate the geo-political risks of the current financial infrastructure” and allows for greater control and visibility of assets by their true owners and we look forward to playing a role in Abu Dhabi’s great vision for 2030”

Abdulla Al MansooriChairman DesignateKoine, Middle East stated “The in-principle approval (IPA) from the Abu Dhabi Global Market is an important milestone in our efforts to be a leading enabler of the digitally-enabled market infrastructure and rapidly growing digital transformation process in the region. Our capital market expertise, innovation and deep understanding of customer needs places us in a unique position to be the premier provider of custody and settlement services for the institutional market participants seeking to take advantage of the growing digital assets revolution”

Rsquare Technologies Celebrating 10 Years Of Shaping Innovation In The Kingdom of Bahrain

 Bahrain based software development company Rsquare Technologies has passed the 10 year mark in the Kingdom. As a leader within the FinTech space, Rsquare has developed 19 innovative IT FinTech solutions, that were utilized by 400+ clients locally. The company has supported public and governmental entities spanning across various key sectors including Oil and gas, Insurance, banking, education, automobile, construction, hospitals and medical, and more.

Rsquare Technologies has created a successful case study as a FinTech pioneer in Bahrain. The company is a resident of Bahrain FinTech Bay; MENA’s largest FinTech hub, and has been part of several high-level delegations taking part in the Singapore FinTech Festival, Bahraini economic delegation to India, Vizag FinTech Festival  in Andhra Pradesh, and several regional conferences in Jeddah, UAE, and more.

End of 2019, Rsquare Technologies and Singapore-based venture accelerator Startup Accelerator have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation in FinTech and other emerging technologies while fostering innovation and startup growth. The company is currently in talks with several banks regionally, in line with their expansion plans focused on Kuwait and Muscat, to introduce custom bilingual software for their market needs.

Over the years, Rsquare Technologies has built an internal research and development center to create, and produce “Bahrain-made innovative solutions” to serve the Kingdom, whilst providing a launching pad for younger generations to excel and exhibit their technological skills. The company’s mission is to become one of the biggest IT development centers in the kingdom of Bahrain, and to serve the entire Region.

Rsquare Technologies is a custom software development company that specializes in developing scalable user-friendly applications and automation software, backed by exceptional technological expertise. The company offers cross dimensional  IT- focused solutions which encompasses Artificial intelligence, automation, maintenance, and management tools. Some  of their products include an Artificial Intelligence powered chatbot Sara, Automation tools such as compucheque; computerized cheque system pre-configured with all Bahrain banks, compuform; an innovative form printing software, CIS software; a survey automation process focused on the insurance sector, Easy Recon; which automates the reconciliation process for financial institutions. Additionally, management tools include the HRMS; a one click help-desk that gives a complete overview, property management and maintenance tools to serve the real estate sector, and more.

Shanthini Raja, Founder, Chairperson & CEO of Rsquare Technologies “We are celebrating 10 years of shaping innovation. Day to day we continue to follow the ethos of building regionally-focused Hybrid tech solutions that work for this market, and allow businesses to do more. Our continued success, and resilience in the Kingdom reflects Bahrain’s commitment to creating a business-friendly culture. We were blessed to have a strong foundation for FinTech companies, like us, to flourish, with the right infrastructure, tech-friendly regulations and a thriving entrepreneurial community.

She added, “Our successful journey these past years is due to the support from our clients, partners, and most importantly our committed and passionate  team for allowing us to continue, and to do more. We are grateful, and thankful to have been supported, and backed by various governmental entities such as Bahrain EDB, BCCI, MOIC, Tamkeen, The Indian Embassy, Rowad, and more.”

Shanthini Raja is a pioneer within the FinTech space, and has established herself as a regional speaker, mentor and entrepreneur. She is committee Member of the Women in FinTech Bahrain; an initiative by the Bahrain Economic Development Board, an active member of Bahrain Business Women Society, and has been involved in various business and community groups such as Amcham Bahrain, Bahrain Entrepreneurship Organization (BEO), Bahrain India Society and several more. She received several awards including the Bahrain Business Women Award from the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Hyderabad India. The Indian Arab Friendship Foundation, and more.

The Unyielding Few: How fintech and friends are defending our SMEs

What does fintech mean to you? For Countingup’s CEO, Tim Fouracre, “Fintech to me is simply innovation in finance. Innovation is about looking at things differently, or in a new way”. For the six million small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the UK today, fintech could mean something more. It could be that helping hand, in a desperate situation.

As the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic take hold, our incredible tech and fintech sector is standing up for vulnerable businesses, in the most diverse ways imaginable. From government lobbying to facilitating cashflow, our industry is taking on a whole new meaning for stranded businesses today.


Keeping our businesses in business

According to the Office of National Statistics, 77% of businesses are managing to continue[1], but working around the lockdown is no easy task.  Particularly hard hit are food services, art and entertainment, where only 20% can still trade. Finding ways to adapt is stressful. It’s even tougher for business owners who need to self-isolate or may feel digitally challenged.

Recognising this problem, 11:FS’ co-founder, Jason Bates, posted this appeal on Twitter, “We’ve got three weeks to save a million small businesses – pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cafes. They don’t have cash flow, they need to sell prepayment for future services. A simple voucher platform. A volunteer team are building it this week”.

With record speed, was born. Since launching, more than 40 businesses are now using the pre-paid voucher scheme to stay afloat. Setting up a page is stunningly simple and volunteers such as Senior Digital Product Manager, Jack Maddock are on hand to help.

Maddock comments, “I think it’s so important that we help SMEs where possible. These business owners are having to deal with so much at the moment so if we can allow them to bring in income and take some of that stress off – why wouldn’t we? Wouldn’t it be a shame to come out of this and think oh I could’ve helped that business that went bust?”.

This touching attitude has been reflected across the tech community, with swathes of leaders harnessing their tech muscles to help prop up struggling SMEs.

Free guidance, business support and funding

Over in Wales, prominent tech leaders are closely collaborating with local government to provide free advice to businesses. Offering support are some of the country’s most esteemed entrepreneurs – including those behind Admiral, Airbus, Amplyfi, Awen, DevOpsGroup, Thales, Tramshed Tech, and Wolfberry. The calibre of expertise donated by is unprecedented.

Known as the CV-19 Tech Taskforce for Wales, the group was launched by Director of Tramshed Tech, Mark John. John comments, “We’re here to mitigate the impact of this dreadful disease upon our financial health and the long-term health of the Welsh economy.

Despite its population of just 3 million, a staggering 50,000[2] people are employed in the Welsh tech sector. Leaving them jobless would be devastating for the country. Entrepreneurs like John have their eyes fixed firmly on the future, and not just the lockdown. “With the help of business and banking stakeholders as well as public sector support agencies, we’ve been assisting the dialogue with Welsh and UK Government to help shape both short-term and longer term measures to see our industry through this crisis”, says John.  “To witness such a range of partners all pulling together to help each other in these desperate times through the joint Taskforce has been an uplifting experience – now and for the future”.

Sharing information

Way back in 1597, Sir Francis Bacon penned the phrase, “Knowledge is power”. Fast-forward 423 years to today, and tech company, Amplyfi, is using that same mantra to support SMEs. The firm is providing unlimited COVID-19 business and health data, entirely for free. collates all the documents and augments them into easily digestible categories, so that business owners are armed with as much credible information as possible.

CEO of Amplyfi, Chris Ganje elaborates, “To support UK SMEs, we’ve created an open source Covid-19 dashboard, which presents analysis of UK related news alongside pertinent datasets linked to the health of the UK economy, such as exchange rates and stock market data”.

It’s a unique approach, and undeniably a helpful one for confused or struggling SMEs looking to make the best decisions.

Ganje comments, “A key mission for AMPLYFI is to empower organisations with easy access to all gold-standard sources from around the world”. To further help SMEs gain clarity, Amplyfi also scans the web for “fake news” and helpfully indicates on their portal what’s not deemed credible.


Fighting to provide loans  

Around 270,000[3] Bounce Back Loans (BBLS) have been approved for SMEs, but it’s not nearly enough to help struggling SMEs. Research in April shows a meagre 2% of successful applicants had actually received any money from CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme)[4].

As banks struggle with the back-breaking demand, fintechs are leaping up and trying to help, with varying success. Founder of several multi-billion fintech firms, Nick Ogden has been lobbying government to allow alternative lenders to also offer government-backed loans. “Across the UK, we need to leverage all of our banking and fintech assets to help these struggling businesses get the liquidity they need”, says Ogden. “Challenger banks play a critical role in the UK economy”. However, despite his extraordinary influence and following, his demands seem to be (at the time of writing) falling on deaf ears. “There’s an apparent lack of awareness of the fintech market space […] We have a whole raft of companies who are not included on the scheme, such as Monzo or Tide – customers are in effect being told not to go to them”.

Other challengers, such as Tide and Starling Bank have experienced more success. After extensive lobbying, as accredited banks, they’ve recently been added to the list of those able to offer the government-backed loans. Head of Corporate Affairs for Starling, Alex Frean elaborates, “As a bank for SMEs we didn’t hesitate to get accredited for lending under the government-backed lending schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises. In our first four days of lending under the Bounce Bank Loans Scheme, we approved nearly £300 million to help business owners stay afloat”.

Starling has geared up to help SMEs access the loans and anticipates a surge in lending for both BBLS and CBILS. To keep the momentum going, they’ve also formed a strategic partnership with Funding Circle to provide £300 million of CBILS lending to small businesses on their platform. But according to Frean, it’s just the beginning, “We are not complacent. We know that demand is huge and that many more small enterprises are in desperate need of credit, and that many of them are frustrated at having to wait even a day for money, so we’re working round the clock to serve them“.


Helping small businesses navigate the loan applications

To help speed up the clogged loan systems, some fintechs have created simple application processes and calculators. Quickly figuring out exactly what support SMEs are entitled to claim and which forms are needed is crucial. Fintechs offering this thoughtful service, include a group of volunteers known as COVID Credit, as well as Ebury, Starling Bank, Revolut and Countingup. CEO of Countingup, Tim Fouracre elaborates, “Our mission at Countingup is to make it easier to run a small business. Right now, it’s incredibly hard for businesses. Of course, our main focus is reducing the admin of running a small business with our banking and accounting app, but if there are other ways that we can flexibly use our resources to make a difference then we will. That’s why we also launched an SEISS calculator on our website so sole traders can work out what grant they are eligible for and therefore plan accordingly”.

These supportive systems provide some much-needed clarity for overwhelmed SMEs, helping them to compile everything they need into easy-to-process applications.

A small light in the darkness

All of us are living in a time riddled with uncertainty, stress and anxiety. Businesses can’t even plan ahead for tomorrow, let alone next year. It’s in these moments of crisis that people’s true colours can come out, their underlying motivations and beliefs. The response of the tech and fintech movement has been breath-taking. Above is just a small snapshot of the many companies who’ve stood up to help out. Researching the work of just one tech firm is impressive but looking at the industry as a whole is awe-inspiring. So many unique skills and creative solutions have been thrown into the ring to save our SMEs. Together the industry is fighting with everything it’s got to help them survive… for free.

The journey ahead is unknown. But, at least for this writer, there is a speck of light at the end of the tunnel: the unshakeable support of fintech and friends. The skilled and impassioned problem-solvers who won’t stop lobbying government, won’t stop innovating solutions and won’t stop defending SMEs. Here’s to them, the unyielding few – who might just save a great many livelihoods.

[1] As of 7th May 2020,




  • Hannah is a curious copywriter and content producer with a penchant for the fascinating world of fintech. In 2019 she left her straight-laced senior management role in the City to pursue her dream of becoming a liberated freelance writer. As well as producing content for editors and wealth management clients, Hannah loves to publish her own blogs and interviews

Covid-19 money worries impacting mental wellbeing
  • Money worries can have a negative impact on people’s mental wellbeing, and those with mental health problems can struggle to manage their finances

  • One in five (21%) say concerns about money are having a bigger impact than health worries on their mental health at present, and fathers aged 35-44 are particularly affected

  • One in four (38%) are concerned about the impact of financial stress on a loved ones’ mental state

  • To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Open Up 2020 Challenge is revealing some apps that can help both with mental and financial wellbeing

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), new research from the Open Up 2020 Challenge reveals money worries are negatively impacting the mental health of a quarter (23%) of the population. In fact, one in five (21%) say financial stress is having a bigger impact on their mental wellbeing than physical health concerns during the covid-19 crisis.

A quarter (25%) are more stressed about money than usual and 16% say financial worries are negatively affecting relationships with friends and family, although this almost doubles among 35-44 year olds (31%). Indeed, men in this age range with dependent children are some of the most likely to be struggling with their mental health because of financial concerns. They are significantly more likely to be more stressed about money than usual (49% vs 25%), or say that that money is having a bigger impact than physical health on their wellbeing (46% vs 21%). Worryingly, 42% of this group have lost sleep over money since the crisis began (more than double the national average of 19%).

The nation is also very concerned about the impact of money troubles on their loved ones’ mental health with four in ten (38%) worried about this. This concern increases when asked about those with existing mental health problems or cognitive impairments, as previous Open Up 2020 research found half (51%) fear vulnerable friends and family falling victim to scammers exploiting the pandemic.

Two apps which are designed specifically to support people with existing mental health or cognitive issues manage their money and stay safe are:

  • Kalgera – a personal finance platform for older or vulnerable people with cognitive impairments. Kalgera uses neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence to detect and predict financial vulnerability to help prevent fraud, alerting a trusted friend or family member.
  • Toucan – helps people who need extra help managing their money because of impairments like mental illness or dementia. The app allows users to securely share spending alerts or financial information with someone they trust, typically a carer, to get timely support.

In addition, there are a range of apps that help people improve their budgeting and money management, ensuring people have one less thing to worry about:

  • Cleo – a financial assistant with a sense of humour, personality and intelligence that is already empowering over 3 million customers to reach their financial goals through tips on spending, budgeting and saving.
  • Moneyhub – a financial management platform that empowers people to do more with their money by offering actionable insights from a review of all of someone’s accounts.
  • Plum – a free app that sorts all the tricky parts of money management. Plum automatically saves small amounts every few days, finds better deals on bills, offers spending insights and invests savings to help people be better off over their lifetime.

Lubaina Manji, Senior Programme Manager, Nesta Challenges, said: “People are facing a raft of financial challenges right now, which can have a severely negative impact on mental health, and those with existing mental health problems are even more at risk. Organisations such as Mind and the Money Advice Service offer support for people struggling with their mental and financial wellbeing and there are also apps and tools available that allow people to take control of their finances. These range from tools which help take the stress out of day-to-day money management to those designed specifically to protect those with mental health and cognitive problems from fraud or further financial hardship.”

All of these solutions are finalists in the Open Up 2020 Challenge, run by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity. There are 15 finalists in total which have already received £50,000 in funding in addition to non-financial support to further develop their product and enable them to reach and help even more people across the UK. Kalgera and Toucan were each also awarded an additional £50,000 owing to their focus on financial inclusion. Between three and four finalists will go on to be named winners in October 2020, receiving a further £150,000-200,000 each so they can help even more people to manage their money.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), said: “During this current time, it’s more important than ever that people have access to technologies that make managing their finances easier. It is encouraging to see how the financial services industry has risen to this challenge, using the power of open banking technology and our network as a springboard for collaboration and innovation to deliver products that make a positive impact on consumers’ lives.”

For more information about Open Up 2020, and the full list of finalists, visit

Chatbots alleviate call-center pressure for CUs

Share As questions around government economic relief flood financial institutions’ call centers, flustering customer service employees, some credit unions are stemming the tide with the help of AI-backed chatbots. The move to implement customer-facing and internal chatbots has helped Midwest-based Advia Credit Union and East Coast-based Corning Credit Union to handle the load of customer …Read More

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Citi’s new steering committee to drive digital transformation

Share Citibank’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) is forming a steering committee to help the bank transition client interactions to digital channels.  “We’ve had many product-driven digital initiatives for many years,” said Sandeep Arora, global head of fintech and innovation for Citi Markets. “We started a couple of years back looking at these across the ICG, …Read More

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India Tops China in Fintech Investment in Q1 2020

China is dominating geopolitical headlines – from the country’s unique challenge with COVID-19 to tensions with Hong Kong and the United States as Chinese leaders gather for the country’s annual National People’s Congress.

But fintech observers would do well to consider developments in China’s neighbor to the southwest, India, whose fintech sector continues to challenge China’s in terms of investment.

In the first quarter of 2020, fintech investment in India again outpaced fintech investment in China. GlobalData, a data and analytics company, released an analysis this week that showed Q1 2020 fintech investment in China came in at “approximately $270 million” while, in India, fintech investment in the first quarter of this year topped $330 million. GlobalData analyst Ayushi Tandon noted that the global pandemic had played a role in dampening VC enthusiasm for fintech investment overall this year so far, and that India had benefitted on a relative basis from this easing of investor passions.

Deal volume showed the same preferences in the first quarter, with 26 deals closed in China in Q1 compared to 37 deals in India.

VC investment in the two countries differed in terms of startup maturity and sub-sector, as well. In China, there has been more investment in cross-sector fintech startups that were looking to scale. In India, payments and lending were the top sectors, and seed funding dominated the quarter’s investments. GlobalData’s report noted that fintechs involved in analytics were the biggest recipients of VC funding in both nations.

India’s fintech industry certainly had the wind in its sails coming into this year. According to research from Accenture, investment in Indian fintechs grew from $1.9 billion over 193 deals in 2018 to $3.7 billion over 198 deals in 2019. The country began to successfully compete with China in terms of fintech investment last year.

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in London, U.K., GlobalData was formed by a consortium of established data and analytics providers. Covering a wide range of industries – from banking and payments to insurance, aerospace, and technology – GlobalData serves financial institutions, government agencies, and corporations, providing thought leadership and analysis, as well as proprietary analytic frameworks to help them make data-driven decisions.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • NEC Payments and stc Bahrain, a telecommunications company based in Bahrain, partner to launch new virtual prepaid Mastercard offering.
  • JinglePay, neobank based in Dubai, announces plans for launch.
  • Emirates NBD collaborates with proptech startup Urban to offer financing program for property rentals in UAE.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Lendingkart, an online lender based in India, raised more than $42 million in Series D funding.
  • Indian SME accounting app Khatabook raises $60 million in Series C funding.
  • SadaPay, a fintech based in Pakistan, wins approval to launch a mobile wallet.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil unveils new regulations enabling banks, payments institutions, and other licensed companies to share customer data.
  • Koibanx, a fintech based in Argentina, announces plans to expand to Mexico.
  • Colombian lender ADDI raises $15 million in round led by Quona Capital.


  • Philippines-based mobile wallet GCash to support cashless payments system for taxi service in Manila.
  • Samsung Pay and Malaysia-based e-wallet Boost team up to support cashless payments in Malaysia.
  • Ant Financial invests $73.5 million in mobile financial services company Wave Money.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African business payments platform Peach Payments locks in growth funding with investment round led by UW Ventures.
  • Nigerian fintech Carbon goes live with new social banking service.
  • CompariSure, a fintech startup from South Africa, raises funding from UW Ventures.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Billon partners with Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) to pilot a DLT-based national currency.
  • EU Startups features CEE fintechs Crypterium, Humaniq, Revolut, and ANNA in its list of promising startups with Russian founders.
  • Financier Worldwide looks at AML and financial crime in Romania.

Top image designed by Freepik

Weekly Wrap: Plaid’s new platform and RBC’s ‘deep personalization’ efforts

Share Plaid made headlines this week with its new open banking platform, Plaid Exchange. The company told Bank Innovation it wants to eliminate cost as a barrier for smaller banks and credit unions to sign up for the service. Barwick Bank, meanwhile, is using technology from Finastra to create brand new digital channels. The bank …Read More

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Apex Group Ltd., a global financial services provider announces the launch of its Escrow offering for North American clients.

Apex delivers a single-source solution to asset managers, capital markets and private clients across fund, financial and corporate solutions, via 45 offices and circa. 3,500 employees worldwide.

The launch of Escrow services for the Americas follows the Group’s announcement in March that it had rolled out additional corporate services in the region, through its local accounting, tax, payroll and employee benefits business.

Continuing to build out its corporate solutions arm locally, the launch of Apex’s Capital Markets offering in North America follows the success of its long-standing European service arm to provide a range of services, along with independent experts and rapid turnaround. Its core service hub for these solutions will be the New York office.

As an independent Escrow services provider, Apex delivers tailored support and Escrow solutions with its clients now able to benefit from these capabilities;

Escrow arrangements are commonly used by Apex clients, including intermediary firms and private equity firms to provide transactional support in the following situations:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Project finance
  • Capital raising
  • Litigation settlement funds
  • Real estate and construction
  • Pension scheme funding
  • International trade finance

Paul Wilden, Global Head of Capital Markets comments:

“Along with the expansion of our subsidiary, Throgmorton, into the US a couple of months ago, the launch of locally delivered Escrow services really signifies our intent for the region. We are focusing on the expansion of our Capital Markets offering to deliver local solutions that our clients operating and transacting in the Americas can benefit from. Debt-restructuring as a result of the current environment is an increasing trend and the expansion of our Escrow offering means we have a broader solution to support our clients looking to leverage those kinds of opportunities”.

Georges Archibald, Head of Apex Americas comments:

“At a time of upheaval in global markets, we continue to provide best-in-class advice and support to our clients and to introduce new products and services as part of our single-source solution to better serve their needs. Services like this are critical to helping our clients run their businesses at this time and to help them to adapt to the current market environment. We look forward to adding complementary services to our offering over the coming year.”

TFT Webinar Review: Has the Faster Payments ‘New Access Model’ been a success?

In this 60-minute webinar, We discussed volumes of Faster Payments versus traditional Bacs credit, the effect of open banking, are there enough participants in the service and what does the future hold for the Faster Payments Service.

Accenture produced a report back in June 2019 summarising the aims of the “New Access Model” to boost speed, competition and innovation in UK payments our panel of experts will discuss if this new access model is having the desired effect.


Myles Stephenson, Chief Executive, Modulr

Ryan Jackson, Head of UK High Growth, Form3

Bob Lyddon (Chair of the AUKPI) – a lobby group who still find access to payments difficult

Jenni Himberg-Wild, Head of Team – Fintech and PSPs, Barclays

Moderated by:
Mark Walker, Editorial Director at The Fintech Times

By Miles Raises $18 Million for Pay-By-Mile Auto Insurance

With the coronavirus keeping drivers off the road, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding auto insurance. In fact, many providers have recognized the decreased daily mileage (and the increased need for cash) during this time, and responded by offering rebates and credits to consumers in return.

Because of this, the pay-by-mile insurance model is looking more sensible than ever. This is likely what CommerzVentures was thinking when it led By Mile’s $18.3 million (£15 million) round of funding. Existing investors Octopus Ventures, Insurtech Gateway, and JamJar also participated.

“This crisis has shown U.K. drivers what we’ve known for a while: the way car insurance works now isn’t working for everyone,” said ByMiles CEO and CoFounder James Blackham. “Our pay-by-mile car insurance provides lower mileage drivers with a flexible, lower cost policy that drivers can track in real-time.”

Launched in 2016, By Miles offers U.K. residents a new alternative for car insurance in which drivers only pay for the miles that they drive. The company offers two options, both aimed at users that drive less than 7,000 miles per year. The Standard option uses a Miles Tracker device, a black box that plugs into a car’s dashboard. The telematics device uses mileage data from the user’s car to help price their insurance. The device does not use other data, such as speed, to price the insurance. Newer cars can use By Miles’ Trackerless option that pull mileage data directly from the connected cars’ manufacturer.

ByMiles is already seeing growth thanks to the global pandemic. The company experienced its strongest sales in April.

Manchester-based SME lender B-North chooses Leeds-based RegTech platform TruNarrative to provide top-level onboarding and compliance technology

Ahead of authorisation from the FCA and PRA, B-North is set to procure TruNarrative’s RegTech SaaS services, enabling delivery of B-North’s compliance and customer onboarding strategy.

B-North, the Manchester-based firm building an SME lending bank for the UK, has chosen Leeds based RegTech innovator, TruNarrative, to provide a full suite of customer onboarding and compliance capabilities that will enable B-North to deliver crucial business lending up to 10x faster than large incumbents.

TruNarrative’s platform capabilities will be added to B-North’s selected technology stack providers, which already includes core banking from Mambu and loan originations workflow from nCino (the first time that both providers have integrated their solutions together for business lending).

Founded in 2018, B-North is led by a team of former senior leaders from Atom Bank, Metrobank, First Direct and Santander. They aim to challenge the current SME lending landscape, offering mid-to-high value loans with the face-to-face experience of a traditional bank and the speed and efficiency of a modern FinTech lender.

B-North will grant loans of between £500k and £5million and is architected to deliver secured loans to SMEs in as little as 10 days, delivering capital to businesses up to 10x faster than incumbent banks and lenders.

TruNarrative’s technology will enable B-North to rapidly and compliantly deliver their lending products to market. Their technology is trusted around the globe across a range of industries, including banking, lending, eCommerce and payment services.

The TruNarrative platform will deliver customer onboarding, robust compliance and financial crime prevention, delivering a single risk view through the implementation of strong ID & biometric verification, risk assessments, business credit insights, multi-bureau eKYC, PEPs, Sanctions and Adverse Media.

With a requirement to make rapid, high-value lending decisions central to their overall proposition, BNorth went to market for a solution or solutions to facilitate low-friction customer journeys whilst maintaining the highest levels of compliance and risk mitigation.

The partnership follows a competitive tender process and will give B-North full access to the TruNarrative solution and its capabilities, for customer onboarding, identity verification, account monitoring, payment screening, transactional risk and ongoing risk monitoring of customers.

The TruNarrative solution will integrate with B-North’s core banking platform and front-end systems to deliver a seamless experience for B-North employees, direct customers, commercial finance brokers and intermediaries.

TruNarrative will deliver checks and ongoing monitoring against corporate entities, their directors and associated third parties, giving B-North a single customer view when making compliance decisions.

Within the TruNarrative interface, B-North will also have access to a full case management system for manual review and referrals, a natural language rule builder allowing for rapid strategy changes, and a comprehensive audit trail for instant recall of all data for regulatory purposes.

Rather than building onboarding and monitoring systems from a range of point solutions or using legacy systems, B-North’s partnership with TruNarrative provides them a quick route-to-live mode, whilst managing the client risk process and driving agility and speed-in-decisioning within a single platform.

B-North has raised over £7m in seed capital to date, most recently surpassing its crowd fundraising goal of £2m at the turn of the year. It is currently fundraising again to raise capital which will underpin its bank licence and support its lending activities during mobilisation, due to begin in the second half of 2020.

Tapping into a UK SME lending market valued at over £150 billion per year, B-North will operate regional ‘Lending Pods’ of underwriters, valuers and expert lending bankers across the UK – the first of which will launch in Manchester – to build face-to-face relationships with growing businesses and deploy capital efficiently.

“TruNarrative has been working with B-North since early 2019 and I am delighted that they will be becoming one of our newest customers. B-North are true innovators in the SME lending space and are backed by an exceptional and highly experienced team.” Edward Vaughan – Head of Banking, TruNarrative

“B-North unlocks real benefits for businesses by harnessing the best technologies and combining them with our unique regional approach. TruNarrative is a key partner for us in building our tech-focused bank and will be instrumental in helping us deliver fast, informed lending decisions whilst ensuring the highest levels of compliance and a smooth customer experience. We aim to facilitate SME lending with market-leading technology and lead times, and to give our customers the best of the traditional and the modern.” Jonathan Thompson – CEO, B-North.

Citcon, Tulip enable QR code payments and luxury, fashion retailers

Citcon, Tulip enable QR code payments and luxury, fashion retailers

The partnership between Citcon and Tulip will allow mobile wallet customers from Alipay, WeChat Pay and others to buy luxury goods using QR codes.

Citcon, a Santa Clara, California-based mobile payment platform, is partnering with Tulip, an in-store mobile application provider, to enable QR code payments at various luxury and fashion retail brands. 

The agreement will let Tulip customers accept QR code payments from some of the world’s top mobile wallet providers, initially from Alipay, WeChat Pay and Union Pay, which have hundreds of millions of users in China. Other mobile wallets from Asia, Europe and the U.S. will be added to the program starting later this year. 

“The partnership is designed to enable retailers to accept alternative payments that are becoming increasingly popular with shoppers globally now and in the future,” Evelyn Yang, head of marketing at Citcon, told Mobile Payments Today via email. 

The partnership will enable both in-store and remote purchases using Pay by Link, which is a secure remote payment link that uses SMS, email and social media. The partnership will also allow store associates to manage customer relationships using WeChat. 

Tulip is used by major retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors and Bonobos.

Cover image: Citcon

Topics: Mobile/Digital Wallet, In-App Payments, Mobile Payments, Mobile Apps, Retail Companies: Michael Kors, Citcon, WeChat Pay, UnionPay International, Alipay, Saks

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Collections Strategies In A COVID-19 Shaped World
  • FICO expert explores applicable learnings from 2008 financial crash.

  • Bruce Curry, vice president for collections and recovery consulting and sales in EMEA at global analytics software provider FICO, urges the collections community to ensure it gets its data strategies right to handle the challenges resulting from COVID-19.

“Clearly the current situation is like nothing experienced before – but there are certainly lessons that can be learnt from the financial crisis of 2008 that will stand the collections and recoveries business operation in good stead for the future. And we believe data is at the heart of finding the right solutions for the future,” Curry said.

“The current COVID-19 environment and the debt and financial stress it is creating will deliver a lot of data. Organisations need to capture the right data, understand it and where it will be needed further down the line. The financial community should also take heed from the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis. There were a number of things not done then that must be addressed now to ensure that lenders and their customers can emerge with mutual loyalty still intact.”

FICO believes that the lending sector must take immediate action to ensure it can identify the customers who would not have been in collections were it not for COVID-19 and understand how these particular customers would perform compared to those individuals frequently in debt. Collecting and analysing this data will help determine the likely return to financial good profile by customer cohort data, including:

  • Were they in a protected industry?
  • What circumstances drove their reduction of income? E.g. was it:
    • Furlough and if so with what degree of protection?
    • Redundancy?
    • Sickness?
  • What has been the true level of impact on disposable income – can open banking support and validate the impact?
  • What is their likely return to good curve given their household dynamics and industry sector?

By taking this forensic approach to understanding the new cohort of debtors, lenders will be able to create more effective segmentations to create the right collections strategies and treatment paths for the long-term. As Bruce Curry continues, this approach delivered positive results after the 2008 financial crisis.

“Two years before the 2008 crash, the average return to financial good was two and a half years. Two years post the crisis that period of return to financial good had reduced to nine months. This is because the customers who rolled into collections as a result of the 2008 financial crisis were actually good customers, with a short-term payment problem. They had a very different financial morality profile and were soon back in employment and earning again hence returned to a good status. This depth of understanding – and going further – must underpin collections strategies for 2020 and beyond.

“Treating the customers who are now facing financial stress as a direct consequence of COVID-19 with the right outcomes will generate a lifetime of loyalty. However, there is one very important difference this time round. Unfortunately, the scale of vulnerability in both the short and long term appears greater.

“How we come out of the current crisis is not about having 2020 vision. It’s about having the right analytics in place to understand the data and create the right strategies.”

FICO is running a series of resilience webinars for the financial community. To register, visit

This Week in Fintech ending 22 May 2020

this week in Fintech V3.001

This weekly summary from our 8 experts, brings you insights based on their experience as investors, entrepreneurs & executives.

To continue receiving This Week in Fintech, you can either become a paying Member for $143 per year (and receive all our content in addition to this weekly summary) by clicking here.  If you just want to receive This Week in Fintech for free, you will need to fill in this form

Your Editor is Bernard Lunn. He is also the CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy and occasional opinion columnist.

Monday Ilias Hatzis our Greece-based crypto entrepreneur (Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech) @iliashatzis wrote Binance killed

On April 2, 2020, Binance posted on its blog that it acquired (CMC), the best known crypto data site. It’s been reported that the size of the deal was $400 million in a cash and equity and that Brandon Chez, the founder of CMC was stepping down. He was replaced by Carylyne Chan, CMC’s current Chief Strategy Officer. The basic question is why would an exchange like Binance need a data aggregator like CMC and why would it pay such an enormous amount of money? Well, maybe because CoinMarketCap is one of the most visited websites in the world, with 2.5 to 5 million unique people visiting it, every day.. This is a huge deal for Binance, because it could funnel more visitors from CoinMarketCap, to its product offerings. But just like Jack Ma’s ownership of Hong Kong’s major newspaper South China Morning Post and Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post, two things come to mind: transparency and independence. Six weeks after the acquisition, CoinMarketCap changed the way it ranks exchanges, making Binance the top exchange on CMC. Has CoinMarketCap now become a marketing tool for Binance?

Editor note: When Binance acquired CoinMarketCap that data driven media business went from many advertisers to one. The most proven business model in trading (whether crypto or ANO asset) is exchange/brokerage ie making money on each trade no matter what the trading outcome is. So the synergy for the deal is obvious, but the benefit for users is less obvious. Room for an independent market data site to replace Binance owned CoinMarketCap?


Tuesday Efi Pylarinou @efipm our Swiss-based Fintech Adviser,  founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019 wrote Funding from the crowd, VCs, or Angels

Funding is on everybody`s mind, especially for early-stage companies with no significant customer base. Will this time be different than in other market downturns?

Crowdfunding limits in the US are increased

The SEC increased the amount that companies can raise through crowdfunding. SEC is has proposing to increase the limit from $1million to $5million for accredited investors and to revise the calculation of investment limits for non-accredited investors (allowing them to allocate a greater percentage of their net worth). Of course, it will take time to be able to tell the impact. When will the appetite kick in at the current lower valuations.

 Editor note: Efi offers a fascinating analysis of which parts of the venture capital/fundraising market is most/least impacted by the pandemic slowdown/coronacrash.

Alan Scott Managing Director EMEA at 24 Exchange @Alan_SmartMoney wrote Stablecoin News for week ending Tuesday 19 May 2020

This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the Stablecoin market.

Wednesday Jessica Ellerm @jessicaellerm, our Australia-based Fintech entrepreneur and thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy & CEO/Co-Founder of Zuper, a new superannuation startup in Australia wrote Miaowing Debit Card Banks £17.5m From Strategic Investor

How do you build a bank differently? Perhaps by taking a design led approach to everything, starting with the sound a debit card makes when it does a contactless payment.

In ANNA’s case, the bank for freelancers and SMEs, that sound is a ‘miaow’.

In February of last year, a miaowing debit card was reported as being enough to catch the attention of the startup’s first 3500 customers. Not bad going for a simple sound effect.

Fast forward to May 2020, and ANNA will surely be feeling like the cat that got the cream, having landed a new strategic investor hot on the heels of a crowdfunding campaign late last year.

In just 19 months since launching, the business has now sold off a majority stake in the bank for £17.5m to ABH Holdings SA, a privately owned, European financial investment group.

Editor note: Jessica looks at a capital efficient digital bank doing well during the pandemic. Forget gazillions raised, focus on traction and cost of that traction ie CAC/LTV, by using creativity.


Thursday Patrick Kelahan @insuranceeleph1, our US based Insurtech expert (a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners who also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’) wrote Dominoes have fallen – what insurance learnings have we so far from COVID-19 business disruption?

When this article was first posted in late February 2020 the COVID-19 outbreak was still focused on China, but its effects were menacing the globe.  At that time the concern was supply chain issues and a less than one hundred coronavirus cases distributed primarily on the east and west coasts.  As this article is reread one can consider what parts were on point, and if on point, was there anything that really could have been done to mitigate the then unimagined scope of what was to come?  Let’s revisit three months ago, think of what might be done next time, and also discuss with insurance agents how the market’s customers have changed in the ensuing time period (if at all.)  Text from the original article will be noted in italics.


Editor note: Pat’s article is required reading for anybody thinking about how to position for the post pandemic future of Insurance.

Thursday Christian Dreyer @x3er, our Swiss based CFA who focusses on how XBRL changes our world wrote XBRL: SIX launches, xBRL-JSON and the UK regulatory

Editor note: This weekly snapshot is the news that matters in the XBRL market.


Friday Bernard Lunn, CEO of Daily Fintech and author of The Blockchain Economy wrote Security Tokens: don’t fight the regulator if you want to be regulated

The idea of Security Tokens was to combine all the efficiency and low cost of ICOs with legal and regulated offerings. The reality is that not much is really happening currently  in  Security Tokens – as our NQA data shows.


We have been tracking the Security Token space since before it had an official name while the unregulated ICO wave was still cresting. Recently we created a unique way of tracking the news in this and other spaces – our News Quality Assesment (NQA) methodology. This gives us good data on which sectors are getting traction and which are not.


NQA tells us that not much is happening in Security Tokens today. Are Security Tokens taking a refreshing nap or in a coma at death’s door? All we know is that it is quiet out there.

Editor note: What do you think? Are Security Tokens taking a refreshing nap or in a coma at death’s door?


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