The Finanser's Week: 6th April 2015 – 12th April 2015

Our biggest stories of the past week are …

The reports of my bank’s death are greatly exaggerated

There are a number of debates that pop-up regularly including the war on cash, the end of the branch and the death of banking.  The last one I haven’t blogged about much because it’s irrelevant, but I’ll blog about it today as there are two camps of thought: incumbents and new entrants; and today’s blog is inspired by exactly this argument between Michal Panowicz of mBank (an incumbent) and Brett King of Moven (a new entrant) on twitter.

It’s not the end of banking as we know it, but …

I’m intrigued by how often I hear the line: “banks are stuck in the past”.  Most upstarts and startups are saying that banks have their heads up their rears, aren’t focused upon the future, don’t think out of the box, cannot change, blah blah blah.  Do they really believe this?  Apparently yes.  Such arrogance is impressive and is the reason why so many new companies are entering the industry to change it.  The question is: will they?   My answer is: a little.

Why Fintech Banks Will Rule The World

Whilst debating whether new fintech startups would eat the banker’s lunch yesterday, I stumbled across a really interesting read by Philippe Gelis, co-founder and CEO of FX firm Kantox.  It was so good that I asked Philippe if I could put it on the blog and he kindly agreed.  Read and enjoy …

As the Bitcoin Foundation fails, banks wake up

I’ve blogged before about how bitcoin will become institutionalised, that you cannot have money without government, why it needs a Foundation and how a Wild West structure for value exchange will fail.  It’s certainly moving in that direction after the latest revelations about the Bitcoin Foundation, alongside the equally revealing announcements that banks are incorporating the blockchain.  Here’s the latest.


The major general news stories of the past week include …  

Atom Bank raising £75m before launch – City AM
Atom Bank is raising £75m from investors as it prepares to gain its full licence and launch this year. The Durham-based challenger bank plans to be the first fully digital lender, operating predominantly via mobile apps.

How secure are new payment technologies? – Financial Times
Latest developments increase safety — but can also pose risks

Gangsters flood Italian banks with €500 notes known as ‘Bin Ladens’ because they are notorious, but rarely sighted – The Independent
The €500 note, the Euro-gangster’s favourite form of money, is behind an unprecedented wave of money laundering in Italy, officials warn.

Bank systems creak under weight of digital transactions – Financial Times
Pressure is mounting on the archaic technology systems that underpin some of the largest banks as they roll out online and mobile services to compete in the digital age.

UK launch of digital bank Fidor hamstrung by payments providers – The Telegraph
Innovative German lender Fidor Bank’s UK launch has been delayed by difficulties gaining access to the country’s payments system infrastructure

Stupid errors in spreadsheets could lead to Britain’s next corporate disaster – The Telegraph
Large firms have failed to learn lessons from Enron, which was brought down by spreadsheet inaccuracies

IdeaBank offers in-car deposit box – Financial Times
Mobile bank targeted at small businesses that rely on cash transactions

Cyber risk the most serious threat to business, says Lloyd’s chief – The Telegraph
Lloyd’s of London is receiving more enquiries for protection against costly cyber attacks

Labour is being far too reticent: it didn’t cause the global financial crisis and Coalition austerity policies have stalled the recovery – The Independent
My old Bank of England colleague Tony Yates – soon to be Professor of Economics at the University of Birmingham – has an interesting post about electoral politics on his blog, longandvariable. He notes that the Coalition claims credit for the extraordinary job-creation – which he argues almost certainly had

Banks ‘pay 60%’ of profit in penalties – BBC
Britain’s largest banks have paid 60% of their profits since 2011 in fines and repayments to customers, according to a report by accountants KPMG


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