News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

London's financial district, pulsing with money and technology, photographed from the air

1. UK – FinTech

Altfi reports:

“Tandem Bank has been given the regulatory permission to fully acquire consumer lender Oplo, bringing its total assets to £1.2bn and customer base to 171,000.

Both firms are portfolio companies of Pollen Street Capital, a private equity and debt investor, that has been active in the fintech and alternative finance space for a number of years.

The acquisition will broaden Tandem’s product offering, it says, across a range of consumer lending products including first and second charge mortgages, home improvement loans, car finance and personal lending

Susie Aliker (pictured), the CEO of Tandem Bank will lead the new combined entity, which now has over 500 UK staff.

She says the deal will create a bank “totally focused on helping our customers to make fairer and greener” financial choices.

“The two businesses are a great fit, bringing together a complementary range of lending and savings products, with a shared common purpose to make a difference for our people, customers and the planet. With our flexible digital platform, new enlarged scale and strong profitability, Tandem is fantastically well positioned to become one of the UK’s leading digital banks,” she said.”

2. US – FinTech

Finextra reports:

“United Fintech, an outfit dedicated to hoovering up a stable of capital markets fintechs, has bought a 25% stake in Athena Systems, a US provider of investment decision support and automation software.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but United Fintech plans to buy another 26% in two years and the 49% remainder in three years.

Athena, which has offices in the US, Spain and Vietnam, services asset managers and hedge funds worldwide through its Athena Spark software, providing the full life-cycle of software planning, development, implementation and training.

Launched in 2020, United Fintech, has set its sights on buying up a slate of capital markets fintechs and helping them sell their products and services to the world's big financial institutions.”

3. International – FinTech

The Fintech Times runs a sighter on crypto adoption:

“The attitude towards decentralised finance and cryptocurrency has been evolving at a fast pace, with many beginning to view crypto as a viable form of currency, not just an investment. Inside the Crypto Community: Plotting the Journey to Mass Adoption was published by Paysafe, a specialised payments platform, and found that 55 per cent of crypto owners – rising to 60 per cent of 18-24 year olds – would rather get paid their salary in cryptocurrency.
The top reasons for this include people seeing cryptocurrencies as a smart investment, believing that they’ll likely get paid in it soon anyway, and greater financial flexibility.

Over half (54 per cent) of crypto owners agree that cryptocurrency is the future of finance and will take over as the dominant form of international currency. This was also the primary motivation for owning crypto in the first place, ahead of making money from trading or investing. However, the research suggests this conclusion has come through careful consideration – and that crypto owners have had concerns along the way. In fact, 70 per cent of people admitted to having doubts about investing in crypto at some point since they started trading, with nearly half (49 per cent) of all crypto owners having cashed out either some or all of their cryptocurrency assets at some point as a result.”

4. International - FinTech

Altfi reports:

"Digital banking challenger Revolut is inviting more of its customers to upgrade to a full bank account, after rolling out its Lithuanian banking licence across ten more markets.

Customers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden can now upgrade and add deposit protection of up to €100,000 to their accounts for free in just a few minutes.

It’s been just under a year since Revolut first launched as a bank in ten EU countries, with today’s addition taking the total to 28 countries where Revolut operates as a bank (full list below).

Revolut was first granted a European banking licence from the Bank of Lithuania back in 2018 and launched its first bank accounts in the country in May of last year.

“Launching the bank in ten new European markets will provide an even greater level of security and confidence for our customers, and will enable us to launch a host of new products and services in the near future”, said Joe Heneghan, CEO of Revolut Bank.

Although Revolut is available across Europe, accounts opened in countries like Ireland, Italy and the UK are only offered as e-money accounts, meaning they don’t qualify for deposit protection.

Revolut has previously published figures that suggest 50 per cent of its customers would be willing to put their salary in Revolut if the account was covered by deposit protection.

Last year, Revolut finally submitted its application for a UK banking licence after operating as an e-money institution in the UK for nearly seven years now.”

5. International – FinTech

The Fintech Times runs an opinion piece on AI and FinTech:

“Nick Chandi, CEO and Co-Founder of ForwardAI, discusses how open finance is being utilised to drive the provision of financial services, and why getting your data ducks in a row will prove to be highly beneficial to business development.

After working within accounting for over a decade, I’ve seen how data is at the centre of the industry and will drive change. The industry is ripe for disruption, and we’re starting to experience a transformation that changes processes and workflows and puts the focus on open data. From Consumer-Directed Finance, PSD2, UK Open Banking, to Consumer Data Right, countries worldwide are beginning to regulate open access to critical data that allows a wide variety of new use cases and data-driven decisions. Open finance is working to democratise financial services.”