FinTech Futures: Top five stories of the week – 8 December 2023
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
AGCM interrupts Intesa Sanpaolo’s migration to Isybank
The Autorita’ Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has interrupted Intesa Sanpaolo’s plans to migrate 2.4 million customer accounts to its digital banking offering Isybank.
The Italian competition authority says the bank must gain the express approval of account holders before completing the migration after more than 5,000 of its own customers sought the regulator’s intervention.
In response to this, the AGCM has taken a precautionary measure against both Intesa Sanpaolo and Isybank to assert a “reasonable deadline” for their customers to consent to the transfer.
Intesa Sanpaolo is believed to have already transferred 300,000 current accounts to the offering, which launched in June this year using Thought Machine’s Vault core.
Monzo co-founder Jonas Templestein departs after nine years
Monzo co-founder and former chief technology officer (CTO) Jonas Templestein has announced his intention to leave the UK challenger after almost nine years.
In an announcement made through the bank’s website last week, Templestein, who has been on parental leave since February, addresses his pride in Monzo’s development since launching in 2015, as well as the community and technology that has enabled its rise.
“After nine incredible years at Monzo (half my adult life!), it’s time for me to move on,” his statement reads. “This moment feels right.”
In his parting letter, Templestein says that the company “performed best when facing an existential threat”, pinpointing 2020 as a particularly difficult year in light of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the restricted appetite of investors for new-age digital banks.
“You must not allow success to lead to complacency,” his post reads. “Standing still was never an option, as we knew we would simply run out of money before long.”
Templestein is departing Monzo at a pivotal point in its business development as the bank edges closer to a potential stock market floatation.
Indian BNPL fintech ZestMoney is reportedly closing down
Indian buy now, pay later (BNPL) start-up ZestMoney is reportedly set to close down by the end of December.
According to several news reports, ZestMoney’s new leadership team informed its nearly 150-strong workforce this week of the decision to completely wind down, after efforts to find a buyer or raise additional capital proved unsuccessful.
The news comes after its co-founders Lizzie Chapman, Ashish Anantharaman and Priya Sharma left the firm after payments giant PhonePe called off a proposed acquisition in May this year.
At its peak, the company was valued at nearly $450 million after its Australian counterpart Zip acquired a $50 million stake in the firm in 2021. Over the last eight years, the company raised more than $130 million in funding.
Liberis fuels expansion with $112m debt financing
UK-based embedded finance platform Liberis has secured $112 million in fresh debt financing to help fuel its expansion plans in North America and Europe.
The firm plans to use the new debt financing, which has been provided by HSBC Innovation Banking and BCI Capital, to go live in Canada, Germany and Poland in 2024.
It currently operates in the UK, the US and a number of European markets, where it’s trying to help close the “$5.2 trillion funding gap” being faced by small businesses.
Founded in 2007, Liberis uses AI and ML algorithms to analyse business data and form accurate risk profiles to provide personalised funding options to small businesses that might otherwise struggle to secure responsible and sustainable finance.
Coventry Building Society reportedly eyeing Co-operative Bank takeover
Coventry Building Society has entered discussions with the Co-operative Bank over a potential takeover, according to a Sky News report.
The report suggests that if the deal goes through, the combined entities will manage nearly £90 billion in assets, with sources claiming Coventry Building Society is “extremely serious” about the move.
Talks between the two parties are ongoing but not exclusive, the report adds. A potential price point is not currently known.
Manchester-based Co-operative Bank has reportedly been mulling a sale since its split from the Co-operative Group in 2020, with sources previously telling Reuters that it was considering potential mergers and acquisitions, as well as an initial public offering (IPO).