Weekly News Highlights – 17 February 2022

Stay up to date with the latest news from fintech! This week, we bring you updates and developments on partnerships, lending, banking, crypto, NFT and more. Enjoy reading!

Mastercard Bets Big on Crypto, Hires 500 People (The Street)
Mastercard  (MA) – Get Mastercard Incorporated Class A Report said that it was expanding its payments-focused consulting service with new practices dedicated to crypto. The new practices will focus on such areas as crypto and digital currencies, and environment, social and governance, or ESG. “Payments are just the beginning,” Raj Seshadri, president of data and services, said in a statement. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked with our customers across banking, fintech, retail, travel and other sectors, helping them understand and navigate every challenge and opportunity thrown their way.” Mastercard said it has curated partnerships with digitally native firms that offer solutions in cryptocurrencies and has helped fintechs expand into new markets. Read more.

JPMorgan opens metaverse lounge (Finextra)
JPMorgan has dipped a toe into the metaverse, becoming the first bank to open a lounge in the Decentraland virtual world. The bank opened its Onyx lounge – complete with roaming tiger – in blockchain-based Decentraland to coincide with the publication of a paper on the opportunities presented by the metaverse. With Facebook changing its name to Meta as Mark Zuckerberg bets bid on the Metaverse, JPMorgan’s paper suggests that the “opportunities presented by interactive, digital worlds seem limitless”. Read more.

MoneyGram agrees $1.8bn sale to PE firm (Finextra)
MoneyGram has inked a definitive agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP) in an all-cash deal worth around $1.8 billion. Funds affiliated with MDP will acquire all outstanding shares of MoneyGram for $11 per share – a premium of approximately 50% to MoneyGram’s closing stock price on 14 December just before speculation about a possible sale began. Shares in the money transfer firm hit $10.60 today, up more than 18%. Read more.

Synctera Boosts Liftoff Program to Help FinTechs Launch Products Faster (PYMNTS)
Partnership banking platform Synctera updated its Liftoff program to help FinTechs partner up with banks and rollout products faster. Meanwhile, GreenBox POS will soon launch its first Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) initiative following a licensing partnership with Cross River Bank. Additionally, Webster Financial Corporation is about to finalize a deal with health savings accounts cloud platform Bend Financial, using Bend’s connected user experience technology for a better overall customer experience. Read more.

Walker & Dunlop (WD) Set to Gain From GeoPhy Buyout: Here’s How (Entrepreneur
Walker & Dunlop, Inc. WD has inked a deal to acquire GeoPhy, a commercial real estate technology company. The transaction, expected to be complete during the current quarter, is subject to approvals. Per the terms of the transaction, Walker & Dunlop will pay $85 million in cash at the closing in addition to $205 million of cash earn-out potential. This cash earn-out potential is structured to directly align with the company’s Drive to ’25 goals. Read more.

Huawei Partners Aleta Planet and UnionPay to Launch New Virtual Card (Fintech News)
Huawei has partnered with Singaporean payments service provider Aleta Planet to enable its users to make digital payments with the new AP-1 / Huawei Pay UnionPay card. According to Aleta Planet, the AP-1 UnionPay virtual card can be easily added to the Huawei phones and is capable of making contactless and QR payments. The card allows Huawei users to pay, remit, and collect payments through the UnionPay network. UnionPay’s Contactless payment is accepted at 29 million merchant point-of-sale terminals in 93 markets. Meanwhile, the UnionPay QR Code payment is accepted at 31 million merchants in 45 countries and regions. Read more.

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