Weekly News Highlights – 07 March 2024

Welcome to the latest in fintech news, where cutting-edge technologies and innovative financial solutions converge to reshape the landscape of banking, investing, and payments. Stay tuned as we explore the trends driving the future of finance!

Reseda Group deploys $6.2m across 8 FinTech companies (Fintech Global)

Reseda Group, a subsidiary of MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU), has invested over $6.2 million in eight innovative FinTech companies, including CU LIFT Fund, CURevl, Debbie, Origence, Members Mobile, and Ranqx, with follow-on investments in Ascent and Changed. The investment aims to expand Reseda Group’s partnership ecosystem and underscore its commitment to advancing technological solutions in the financial services sector. The supported companies offer solutions ranging from permissioned data sharing, college planning, and education finance to debt repayment platforms, lending technology, and SMB funding. Reseda Group’s COO, Ben Maxim, highlighted the focus on innovation to empower credit unions and community banks in serving their consumers better. Read more

Irish Central Bank demands payments innovation…after shutting down Synch (Payments Cards and Mobile)

The Irish Central Bank, in its National Payments Strategy, has called for providers to ensure that Irish consumers and small businesses benefit from payment innovations. Despite the availability of instant payments infrastructure since 2017, the central bank notes that material providers of payment accounts in Ireland have not implemented it, and the payments landscape is lagging behind other countries. This comes as a criticism, despite previous efforts by Irish banks to launch a mobile payment app called Synch being hindered by regulatory issues. The central bank’s deputy governor, Vasileios Madouros, emphasized the need for progress and innovation in the country’s payments sector. Read more

Crypto Meme Coin Prices Surge: Dogwifhat Explodes 418% And Smog SOL Token Pumps 112% (Global Fintech Series)

The market capitalization of meme coins has surged by 15% in the past 24 hours, reaching $46 billion. Notable meme coins like Pepe, Dogwifhat, Shiba Inu, and newcomer Smog have experienced significant price increases, with Pepe up 1,075% in the past few hours. The meme coin sector continues to attract attention and investment, with no signs of the buying frenzy slowing down. Smog, a SOL meme coin, is gaining traction due to its use of the Solana blockchain, which is known for its speed and cost-effectiveness. The newness of coins like Smog provides greater upside potential and attracts new investors. Solana’s popularity is evident in its transaction volume, surpassing Ethereum in the past seven days. Smog’s airdrop campaign and community-building efforts contribute to its appeal, and it is gaining attention for its multichain architecture, fair launch, and staking options. The overall altcoin season, with Bitcoin dominance at 49.7%, indicates further potential for meme coins like Smog. Read more

Mexico’s Ziff acquires digital lending start-up Arrenda (Fintech Futures)

Ziff, a Mexican fintech specializing in revenue-based financing for businesses, has acquired digital lending start-up Arrenda, along with its flagship lending platform, Adelanta. Adelanta has been facilitating access to capital for commercial property owners in Mexico by utilizing up to 36 months of receivables on their lease contracts. With this acquisition, Ziff aims to strengthen its position in Mexico’s $9.23 billion real estate rental market and address liquidity challenges faced by the country’s SMEs. The deal is expected to enhance Ziff’s product offering and support its goal of distributing over MXN 1 billion to SMEs by the end of 2027. Read more

Nationwide to buy Virgin Money for £2.9 billion (FinExtra)

Nationwide has entered into an agreement to acquire Virgin Money for £2.9 billion, a move that expands the building society’s presence in business banking and presents a challenge to the four major high street banks. The deal would combine the UK’s largest building society, serving over 17 million customers, with Virgin Money, the sixth-largest retail bank with approximately 6.6 million customers and 91 branches. The offered price of 220p per share is 38% higher than Virgin Money’s closing position at the end of the previous day. The merged entity would be the second-largest mortgage and savings group in the UK by market share. Read more

Spain halts Worldcoin crypto project over privacy concerns (BFSI)

The Spanish government’s data protection agency (AEPD) has ordered Worldcoin to suspend its activities for three months due to privacy concerns. This decision was made based on “exceptional circumstances” to protect people’s personal data, particularly regarding the processing of biometric data which poses high risks to individuals’ rights. Complaints about insufficient information and data protection have been filed against Worldcoin in Spain, with regulators in Kenya, Germany, and France also investigating the cryptocurrency project. Worldcoin, founded in 2023, aims to provide a secure form of identification through iris scans but has faced backlash over data collection, storage, and use. The company has encountered regulatory issues globally, with Kenya suspending new user sign-ups and Germany and France expressing privacy concerns. Read more

Red Oak Compliance and SiteQuest merge to enhance financial services solutions (Fintech Global)

Red Oak Compliance Solutions has acquired SiteQuest Compliance, a firm specializing in compliance monitoring and website surveillance software. The acquisition aims to reshape the technology landscape within the financial services sector, offering compliance teams a more comprehensive set of tools to streamline processes, minimize regulatory risks, and enhance competitiveness. The deal includes the integration of SiteQuest’s innovative technologies, such as Eagle Eye, SQWatcher, and Policies products, to broaden Red Oak’s product suite. The acquisition brings together two companies committed to excellence and innovation in the compliance technology space. The move is expected to enhance customer experiences and overall effectiveness in compliance programs. Read more

Morgan Stanley to Deploy OpenAI Chatbot for Financial Advisors (Global Fintech News)

Morgan Stanley is set to introduce an OpenAI-powered chatbot to assist its 16,000 financial advisors. The chatbot, developed over a year, leverages GPT-4 technology, an advanced version of the OpenAI ChatGPT. The tool will enable advisors to access the bank’s extensive data and research resources. To enhance reliability, the chatbot will only generate responses based on 100,000 pieces of vetted research from Morgan Stanley. The bank will also involve human oversight to verify response accuracy. While technology can streamline routine tasks, Morgan Stanley acknowledges that machines cannot replace human empathy in serving sophisticated clients. Read more

Deel acquires Africa-based payroll company PaySpace (Fintech Futures)

Deel, a US-based HR solutions fintech, has acquired PaySpace, a South Africa-based payroll and HR company, for an undisclosed amount. PaySpace, founded in 2002, offers local payroll engines and HR services in 44 countries. The acquisition positions Deel as the first global payroll company and Employer of Record (EOR) with its own full-stack payroll engine localized in 50 countries. Deel aims to provide customers with tailored and localized compliance insights, the ability to adjust payroll anytime, and faster payroll processing cycles. With this acquisition, Deel claims to own the full HR stack, covering entities, local teams, and local payroll engines across six continents. Read more

Fugitive Marsalek of bust fintech Wirecard hiding in Russia (Intellinews)

The former COO of Wirecard, Jan Marsalek, who is a fugitive and currently hiding in Russia, has reportedly collaborated with Russian intelligence services and is using three fake passports. According to an investigation by The Insider and Der Spiegel, Marsalek has long-standing ties to Russian intelligence, dating back to 2014. He is accused of money laundering and working on projects for the Russian security services. Marsalek has reportedly retained access to some of his funds and continues to work for intelligence in Russia, using aliases and fake passports. The Western intelligence services are said to be monitoring and suppressing his activities. Read more

Singapore insurtech Sunday acquires Indonesian general insurer KSK Insurance (TNGlobal)

Sunday Ins Holding, a Singapore-based insurtech group, has completed the acquisition of PT KSK Insurance Indonesia. The deal, which makes Sunday one of the largest insurtech groups fully licensed in the two largest general insurance markets in the region, was approved by Otoritas Jasa Keuangan, the financial services authority of Indonesia. Sunday aims to lead as a digital-first insurance group using artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance customer experience and services for health, car insurance, and other retail and commercial products. The insurtech has grown organically to sell more than $70 million in premiums regionally as of 2023. Read more

Interoperable Europe act: Council adopts new law for more efficient digital public services across the EU (European Council)

The Council of the European Union has adopted a new law called the “Interoperable Europe Act,” aiming to create a network of interconnected digital public administrations and accelerate the digital transformation of Europe’s public sector. The regulation establishes a cooperation framework for EU public administrations, facilitating the seamless delivery of public services across borders. It includes provisions for a multi-level governance framework, interoperability solutions sharing, and measures to promote innovation and enhance skills and knowledge exchange. The goal is to save time and costs for citizens and businesses while fostering a successful uptake of digital solutions. The regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU’s official journal. Read more

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