Weekly News Highlights – 23 February 2023

Stay up to date with the latest news from fintech! This week, we bring you updates on regulations, legislation, partnerships, and more. Enjoy reading!

Neobank Bunq hits profitability (altfi
Ending 2022 with a quarterly profit of €2.3m, Bunq expects to keep turning a profit through 2023. Amsterdam-based Bunq has just reached quarterly profitability. Having reached break-even for the first time at the end of December 2021, the neobank has steadily worked to profitability since. The challenger reached a pre-tax profit of €2.3m for the last quarter of 2022 and says it expects to continue to turn a profit throughout 2023. “I’m incredibly proud that, just a decade since our inception, bunq’s service-oriented business model has proven to be profitable,” Bunq founder and CEO Ali Niknam said. Read more

FSB outlines new steps to assess risks of DeFi (Fintech Global)
The US’ Financial Stability Board (FSB) has outlined new measures it will carry out to explore the risks of DeFi. This comes following a new report published by the FSB on the financial stability risks of decentralised finance (DeFi). This report was delivered to the February G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. DeFi is used to describe services in crypto-asset markets that aim to replicate some functions of the traditional financial system in a decentralised manner. The report found that while the processes to provide services are in many cases novel, DeFi does not differ substantially from traditional finance in the functions it performs or the vulnerabilities to which it is exposed. Read more

Checkout.com forges partnership with payments fintech NewDay (Fintech Magazine)
Checkout.com’s new partnership with NewDay will see a streamline of services for the fintech. The global-leading online retail payments fintech, Checkout.com has partnered with the London-based payments fintech NewDay. NewDay, which is a leading provider of consumer credit in the UK, has appointed Checkout.com as its payments provider for debit card payments. The deal will see NewDay streamlining its payment process, operations and reporting. According to reports, NewDay, which serves five million UK customers, processes millions of transactions every year. The fintech currently operates multiple direct to consumer credit products and powers products for leading merchants such as AO.com, Argos and John Lewis. The partnership also sees NewDay process its card processing through the Checkout.com platform. Read more

Stripe launches Enhanced Issuer Network to combat fraud (Global Fintech)
FinTech giant Stripe has launched Enhanced Issuer Network, a set of partnerships with major US card issuers, with the aim of reducing fraud. Stripe offers secure access to transaction fraud scores from its fraud prevention solution Stripe Radar through an encrypted pathway with issuers including Capital One and Discover. The Enhanced Issuer Network helps issuers decrease fraud, reduces checkout frustration for consumers, and increases payment authorization rates for businesses. Each year, Stripe claims to process hundreds of billions of dollars for millions of businesses around the world. Through machine learning techniques trained on transaction data, Radar assigns each transaction a score from 0-99 based on the risk that it is fraudulent – 99 being the highest risk. Read more

National Australia Bank builds its own fintechs (Fintech Futures
I recently sat down with Howard Silby, chief innovation officer at National Australia Bank (NAB), to learn more about the company’s approach to innovation. Like most banks, a few years ago, NAB came to the realisation that it was slower to market with new propositions compared to emerging competitors, such as fintechs and neobanks. To address this, NAB set up the NAB Labs function, which Howard worked closely with as the then leader of the bank’s biggest product division. Their first success was the creation of QuickBiz, the world’s first fully automated SME lending decision proposition from a bank, leveraging rich third-party data such as transactions from open banking, accounting, and e-commerce software. But the journey wasn’t without its challenges along the way. Read more

CarbonCode acquires 10% of social media platform (Business Cloud)
The Cardiff-based developer has invested in Manchester’s Vulse, which was the brainchild of Social Republic founder Rob Illidge. Cardiff-based developer, CarbonCode, has acquired 10 per cent of Manchester’s social media platform Vulse. The startup will be working with CarbonCode on the platform’s latest update, with the investment helping to create new features, reducing content creation times from hours to seconds. Vulse.co is the brainchild of Rob Illidge, founder of Manchester-based social media agency, Social Republic, launched in 2015. Capitalising on the meteoric rise of employee advocacy and personal branding, Vulse combines the LinkedIn API, a unique post-scoring system and algorithm knowledge to produce highly engaging posts. Read more

Insurtech Roadzen to go public via $965 million SPAC deal (Insurance Business)
Insurtech firm Roadzen has announced its plan to go public in the United States via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Vahanna Tech Edge Acquisition I Corp – in a deal valued at about US$965 million. The transaction reflects a pre-money equity value of approximately $683 million for Roadzen, according to a joint statement issued earlier this week, with the combined company expected to be listed on Nasdaq. Founded in 2015, Roadzen uses advanced AI to provide data that enables insurers to build auto insurance products. The company has grown to $9.8 million in total consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, and is expected to generate around $59 million and $118 million for 2023 and 2024, respectively. Read more

ECB to monitor digital transformation efforts at banks (Finextra)
The European Central Bank is to undertake targeted reviews and on-site inspections at banks after uncovering a number of shortcomings in digital transformation strategies. Last summer, the ECB conducted a survey among 105 large banks to assess the status of their digital transformation. The central bank says early results reveal some interesting trends falling across six policy areas. The survey found that almost all European institutions have a digital transformation strategy, typically consuming a fifth of the IT budget, although the degree of maturity differs. Main objectives are becoming more customer-centric in how products and services are offered as a lever to increasing revenues and improving operational efficiency by automating processes and modernising IT infrastructures. Read more

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