Weekly News Highlights – 16 June 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!

MAS Partners IFC and UNDP to Launch Global MSME Empowerment Programme (Fintech News)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched an open financial education and action programme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Asia and Africa. Known as the SME Financial Empowerment (SFE), this programme aims to help MSMEs build foundational digital financial literacy skills, and gain a good understanding of cross-border financial services relevant to MSMEs, to help them thrive in the post-pandemic digital economy. The SFE was rolled out with market partners in Asia and Africa, starting with Ghana, India, the Philippines, and Singapore, and will benefit more than 400,000 MSMEs across both regions. Read more.

Global fintech Ascenda announces partnership with Banque Saudi Fransi to power JANA Rewards program in the Middle East (PR Newswire)
Ascenda, the global loyalty technology company, announces a strategic partnership with Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), the leading Saudi bank that has established itself as the most innovative financial services company in the region. This best-in-class loyalty solution will tap into BSF’s JANA Rewards Program premium customer base and unlock critical high-value spend across the entire banking relationship. Ascenda’s TransferConnect network, the world’s largest points exchange network, is powering the new program, bringing more than 50 live integrated live currency rewards partners to BSF’s JANA Rewards Program portfolio. The only global hub connecting banks and major merchants, TransferConnect is facilitating seamless rewards currency conversion for all of BSF’s retail customers. BSF is also leveraging Ascenda’s best-in-class customer engagement capabilities to deliver personalized financial solutions for its customers both at home and abroad. Read more.

Germany’s DSWV signs three fintech partnerships (SBC News)
The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) has entered into agreements with three different fintech groups, as it seeks to bolster its payments and compliance operations. Deals have been inked with Kerberos, DIMOCO and TrueLayer, following the launch of a partnership programme by the DSWV at the start of the year, open to companies from the sports betting value chain. Efforts by German sports betting stakeholders to update the national sector’s compliance and payments capabilities come amid major changes in the market, which is continuing to adjust following re-regulation under the Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) enacted last year. Read more.

Celsius Network Pauses All Cryptocurrency Withdrawals (HypeBeast)
Celsius – one of the largest cryptocurrency lenders — has locked up all of its customers’ assets after this week’s market crash. On top of both Bitcoin and Ethereum taking a sharp dive, Celsius’ CEL coin also took a huge tumble, going from $0.65 USD last Friday to yesterday’s low of $0.18 USD. Celsius’s official statement reads: “Due to extreme market conditions, today we are announcing that Celsius is pausing all withdrawals, swap, and transfers between accounts. We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations.” Read more.

Swedish fintech giant Klarna slashes fundraising ambition (Penews)
Klarna Bank AB is considering raising fresh funds at a significantly lower valuation than it achieved a year ago, according to people familiar with the situation, a sign of the punishing environment for tech companies. The Swedish payments firm is in talks with investors about a deal that could value the company at around $15 billion, the people said, less than it was seeking just last month. The Wall Street Journal reported Klarna was in talks to raise up to $1 billion at a low $30-billion-range valuation. Read more.

Fintech lender Uncapped acquires app funding platform Sugar (Fintech Futures)
Fintech lender Uncapped, which provides startups with financing without taking an equity stake, has acquired app and gaming funding platform Sugar. Fintech lender Uncapped has acquired Sugar, a specialist finance provider to the makers of gaming and digital apps. The acquisition gives Uncapped a foothold in the gaming and apps market, giving it access to more companies that could benefit from funding opportunities on the Uncapped platform. The fintech, which was founded in 2019, is a London-based finance provider that gives European startups advances of between £10,000 and £10mn. Instead of taking an equity stake in the businesses it supports, Uncapped charges a flat fee which is paid back from future revenues, meaning entrepreneurs can keep control of their growing business. Read more.

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