FinTech Futures: Top five stories of the week – 28 July 2023
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
NatWest chief exec Alison Rose steps down with immediate effect
Alison Rose is stepping down as group chief executive of NatWest Group after admitting “a serious error of judgment” in discussing Nigel Farage’s relationship with the bank with a journalist.
Rose’s departure from the bank, where she has spent the last three decades, is the latest development in the row between NatWest Group and Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence party.
Farage produced evidence earlier this month indicating that his account with the group’s private banking business Coutts had been closed. He claims he was “de-banked” because his political views were at odds with the bank’s core values, while the bank says it was a commercial decision.
Rose later discussed Farage’s relationship with the bank with BBC journalist Simon Jack. The broadcaster was ultimately forced to apologise to Farage for how its coverage breached his customer confidentiality.
Just a day after Rose’s resignation, Coutts chief executive Peter Flavel also announced that he was to step down.
Banco Santander, BBVA and CaixaBank team up to tackle fraud with FrauDfense
Spanish banks Banco Santander, BBVA and CaixaBank have announced a new alliance in an attempt to mitigate and prevent the impact of fraud.
The trio have created FrauDfense, a new joint venture that will enable the exchange of all relevant and useful sources between the three banks to form one joint response to the issue.
The alliance will initially work to develop a new tool that will allow the banks to more effectively share information on fraudulent practices in a private and secure setting.
Their efforts will target financial fraud in all its many forms, including but not limited to new account fraud being powered by stolen identities, online fraud and card payment fraud.
A board has also been created to guide FrauDfense’s operations, which will include two representatives from each founding bank, while being led by its new CEO, Banco Santander’s Carlos Requena.
Wirecard fugitive Jan Marsalek resurfaces with a message for the courts
Former Wirecard chief operating officer Jan Marsalek has re-emerged after three years in hiding, delivering a statement to the Munich Regional Court via his defence lawyer Frank Eckstein last week as Germany’s largest fraud trial continues.
Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun, along with former execs Oliver Bellenhaus and Stephan von Erffa, are currently on trial in the country on charges including fraud and accounting manipulation.
Austrian-born Marsalek, 43, has not been seen or heard from since he vanished shortly before the German payment processor imploded in 2020 with a $2 billion hole in its accounts and a debt of almost $4 billion to investors. German police have issued a warrant for his arrest amid an international search.
And while Marsalek still manages to evade capture, his latest correspondence delivers an intriguing twist in one of Germany’s highest profile fraud cases.
Germany’s N26 appoints new chief risk officer, Carina Kozole
German digital bank N26 has named Carina Kozole as its new chief risk officer (CRO) and managing director of N26 AG.
Kozole will take over the role from Jan Stechele, who has served as CRO in an interim capacity since April 2023 following the departure of the company’s previous chief risk and banking officer Thomas Grosse, who quit the firm for personal reasons.
Kozole has spent the last 17 years at UniCredit Group, where she has held a number of senior positions, including the role of senior vice president and head of credit risk operations (Europe, Americas, Asia) of HypoVereinsbank – UniCredit Bank AG in Germany.
She will assume her new position with the neobank later this year.
Pay.UK reveals big jump in number of current account switches in the UK over last 12 months
Pay.UK‘s Current Account Switch Service has seen a 50% increase in switches compared to last year, with 1,277,484 account switches having taken place in the UK over the period between 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, according to its latest results for Q2 2023.
According to the figures, the service experienced a 76% year-on-year jump in the number of switches between April and June of this year alone, equating to a total of 338,194 switches.
In comparison, the service incurred only 191,777 switches during the same period last year.
UK bank NatWest incurred the highest amount of switching gains during Q1 2023 with 45,651 switches, followed by HSBC with 28,486, Lloyds Bank with 10,959 and RBS with 4,165.
A decade since its launch, the service, which allows users to switch current accounts between banks and building societies, has now hosted a total of 9.5 million account switches, and has successfully redirected 137.8 million payments.