Stay up to date with the latest news from fintech! This week, we bring you updates on regulations, legislation, partnerships, and more. Enjoy reading!
OpenAI ordered to stop processing people’s data in Italy (The Paypers)
The Italian Data Protection Authority has blocked OpenAI’s ChatGPT in the country citing the illegal collection of personal data. The reasoning behind the ChatGPT block relates to concerns that OpenAI is breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A lack of any system to prevent minors from accessing the tech was also cited as a concern, and as a result, the independent authority has opened an investigation. OpenAI has 20 days to reply to the order and could face some serious penalties if it doesn’t fall in line with European regulations. OpenAI does not have a legal presence in the EU, and the GDPR allows any data protection authority to take measures if it identifies risks to local users. Read more
Dutch online bank Bunq applies for U.S. banking licence (Investing.com)
Bunq BV, a prominent European online banking start-up, formally filed for a banking licence with U.S. regulators on Tuesday, the company’s CEO told Reuters in an interview. Ali Niknam, the Canadian-Dutch entrepreneur who founded Bunq in 2012, said his bank is attracting depositors in Europe despite jitters following the collapse last month of Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S. “When things are bad, that’s the best time for us,” he said. “That’s when people reconsider their choices, which is precisely the moment we need to get a foot in the door.” An expansion to the U.S. would help Bunq, which turned a 2.3 million euro ($2.50 million) profit for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2022, grow more quickly after years of investing in its software and operations. Bunq raised $228 million at a $1.9 billion valuation in 2021. Read more
UK Government considers new regulations for ESG ratings providers (The Paypers)
The UK Government has released a consultation paper that focuses on the introduction of new regulations for providers of ESG ratings. Under the new regulatory regime, ESG rating providers should meet certain standards and should never mislead investors through inaccurate or incomplete information. The primary activity subject to this new regulation involves the direct provision of an assessment of ESG factors to a user in the UK, where the assessment is used in relation to a specified investment in the RAO, unless there is the case of an exclusion. According to ffnews.com, the scope of this new regulation is relatively broad, but it would potentially apply to ESG rating and data providers, including ESG consultancy or service providers. When compared to the current regime for benchmark administrators or credit rating agencies, the proposed regulatory regime is expected to be more punishing. Read more
Genesis Market: Popular cybercrime website shut down by police (BCC)
One of the world’s biggest criminal marketplaces used by online fraudsters to buy passwords has been closed down in a global law enforcement crackdown. Genesis Market sold login details, IP addresses and other data that made up victims’ “digital fingerprints”. Often costing less than $1, the personal information let fraudsters log into bank and shopping accounts. Law enforcement agencies around the world were part of the co-ordinated raids, including the UK. During a series of raids, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested 24 people who are suspected users of the site. They include two men aged 34 and 36 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, who are being held on suspicion of fraud and computer misuse. Read more
Walmart-owned PhonePe drops acquisition of fintech startup ZestMoney (The Paypers)
Fintech platform PhonePe has halted its proposed acquisition of India-based Buy Now, Pay Later startup ZestMoney. The deal, which was poised to fetch anywhere between USD 150-USD 200 million and USD 300 million, has hit a snag over lapses in due diligence, disagreements over valuation, sustainability of the business, and shareholding structure of ZestMoney, according to sources cited by business-standard.com. The collapse of the deal is also being attributed to a slowdown in the financial technology (fintech) sector in the midst of a funding winter, difficult regulatory environment, and macroeconomic uncertainty, informed other sources. The acquisition was expected to help PhonePe strengthen its lending services and compete with Google Pay, Paytm, and Amazon Pay in Indian fintech, expected to be purportedly worth USD 350 billion by 2026. Read more
Tandem Bank acquires Loop (The Paypers)
Tandem Bank, a UK-based challenger bank, has acquired Loop, a socially-conscious money-sharing app, in an attempt to build a greener digital bank. With Tandem’s focus on helping consumers save, borrow, and spend a little bit greener, the addition of Loop to the bank’s digital offer will give customers a new way to borrow and lend from each other, while supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. Launched in early 2022, Loop is a social network app focused exclusively on helping friends and family to easily and safely lend and borrow money with each other. Designed to improve the informal money-sharing market and break the social taboos around money sharing, Loop helps users avoid expensive bank overdraft charges, which are estimated to make traditional banks over GBP 2 billion in profit each year. Loop will continue to operate as a standalone app and brand, with plans to embed Tandem products and features in the Loop app, offering users access to a wider range of savings and lending services. Read more
Visa and Mastercard reportedly in talks to acquire Pismo (Fintech Futures)
Payments giants Visa and Mastercard are reportedly among a number of firms competing to acquire Brazilian payment and banking platform Pismo. News reports state that the firm is working with Goldman Sachs on a potential sale at a reported valuation of $1 billion. Sources tell Bloomberg that other interested parties include a bank and a private equity firm, and that the talks may not result in a sale. According to Valor Economico’s Pipeline, Visa submitted an initial offer of $1 billion which was rejected by Pismo, following which Visa upped its bid to $1.4 billion. On reaching out, Pismo tells FinTech Futures that it “does not comment on market rumours”. Founded in 2016 and based in São Paulo, Pismo offers a cloud-native platform for payment and banking services, including digital banking, core banking, cloud computing, card-issuing and digital wallets. Read more
Zurich Insurance becomes second firm to quit climate alliance (Reuters)
Zurich Insurance Group (ZURN.S) said on Wednesday it was withdrawing from the Net Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA), becoming the second founding member to quit the climate group in less than a week. Part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) umbrella group of sectors pushing to decarbonise, NZIA members have faced growing pressure from campaigners to move faster in cutting emissions linked to their underwriting. Zurich, one of Europe’s biggest insurers, said after establishing a standardised methodology for tracking and disclosing emissions, it wanted “to focus our resources to support our customers with their transition”. Read more
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