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The Fintech Fix Weekly Roundup 30/03/2022

Welcome to The Fintech Fix, where we cover the biggest stories of the financial week! Whether it’s the next groundbreaking trend in cryptocurrency or Blockchain technology, a new partnership about to change the global, economic landscape or an upcoming startup generating a huge following, this is the place to keep up with the breaking news of the future. 

Apple acquires UK open banking startup Credit Kudos | Fintech FinanceHot Topics –  Starting this week’s roundup is not just the biggest story of last week, but the story that very well may be the biggest in 2022 so far for how it captured global attention. US tech giant Apple have recently acquired Credit Kudos, the UK Open Banking startup that helps lenders make better decisions. The acquisition generated mass headlines as sources valued the startup at £150 million. Launched in 2015 by founders Freddy Kelly and Matt Schofield, Credit Kudos became the latest in a string of big European Open Banking acquisitions in the past year. But a big question many are asking is why? Could we be seeing the launch of the Apple Card in the UK, similar to how Goldman Sachs powers the US version? Is it a tech talent grab to help build out a digital commerce ecosystem? Or is it even simply about improving its data management and analytics capabilities? There is so much excitement and anticipation about what this acquisition will bring to Apple’s arsenal for the future. 

In their latest market assessment report, “Banking as a Service: Outlook 2022 | Paving the way for Embedded Finance”, Finastra revealed the opinions of 1,600 senior industry executives concerning BaaS to provide retail or wholesale banking products and services to customers in context, as a service, using an existing licenced institutions secure, regulated infrastructure with the modern API-driven platforms. The Finastra survey reveals the true extent of the appetite for BaaS, with almost 85% of respondents already implementing or planning to implement BaaS over the next 12-18 months. Key findings also included:

  • More than 80% of regulated financial services providers expect the overall BaaS market to grow. Of these, 30% expect it to grow by more than 50% per year over the next five years
  • BaaS represents a $7 trillion opportunity – distributors, including retailers, e-commerce firms and other consumer brands, are migrating towards BaaS solutions and expect overall growth to exceed 70% per year over the next three years; 60-70% of distributors want to increase their spending on financial partnerships (including BaaS)
  • SME lending, corporate lending and corporate treasury/FX services are poised to gain the highest traction. Simplifying SME lending through BaaS is expected to drive growth of 30% by 2024

Mettle reaches 50,000 users | Fintech FinanceIn other news, Mettle, the NatWest-backed digital business account, has reached a milestone of 50,000 customers after recording a tremendous 500% customer growth since the start of 2021. It is no surprise too, since Mettle was built to serve the self-starters of the UK, who are a community that have expanded hugely in a post-Covid environment as more people believe they can work for themselves or turn their passions into a successful business. Mettle noted that the sectors they saw the most growth in included construction-based services, with 101% growth in accounts opening, followed by accommodation and food services, which noted a 94% increase. Newly appointed CEO of Mettle, Andy Ellis states “Mettle is uniquely positioned to support this movement’s ever-changing needs by sitting at the intersection of retail and business banking. It combines the innovative ways of working of a fintech with the backing and expertise of an established bank.

Big Partnerships To Watch – Sticking with NatWest, the company has announced they are now working with Adobe to improve customer experience. NatWest Group plans to leverage Adobe’s technology to support the delivery of personalised experiences to its customers, while protecting their privacy. By centralising customer data on Adobe Experience Platform, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, NatWest Group is using the power of Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform to analyse the behaviours, needs, and interests of customers in real-time and eliminate friction points across every channel they use. This promotes greater personalisation which in turn can offer more valuable and meaningful experiences. 

The second partnership in this week’s roundup is between Amwins Special Risk Underwriters (SRU) and Obsidian, a hybrid fronting program carrier whose newly added transportation program delivers primary commercial auto solutions for established fleets with a proven safety record and willingness to adopt growth-orientated technology. Mark Bernacki, Chief Underwriting Officer at Amwins shared how “as a leader in the transportation industry with more than $1.2 billion in annual premium placements, this program will provide Amwins brokers with an additional tool, delivering solutions and benefitting clients in an increasingly competitive commercial auto market.” 

Our last partnership of this week’s roundup is between Citi and Etihad, with digitisation and efficiency upgrading to the next level. Citi has decided to renew its cash management mandate with Etihad, further assisting the airline with a major Treasury transformation journey. Through this, Etihad will gain access to Citi’s breadth of digital capabilities across working capital and liquidity management, payments and collections, reconciliation and visibility, as well as working closely with Citi’s Innovation Lab to deploy a number of innovations in treasury management using AI-based and API technology. All of these innovations will save a whopping 73,000 man hours, showing the productivity benefits that are available here. Adam Boukadida, Chief Financial Officer of Etihad Aviation Group said how the company “look forward to working together and implementing more cutting-edge treasury solutions with Citi as our global partner.”

Transfer Gossip – In the last few roundups we’ve been short on stories in this part of the fix, so I’m very excited to share these stories today!

First, we head to superapp giant Revolut who have made two new leadership hires in an attempt to strengthen their position in the US, with Yuval Rechter appointed as General Manager and Danil Ovechkin appointed as Head of Growth. As US General Manager, Mr. Rechter will be responsible for building and scaling Revolut’s brand and business in the US. He joins Revolut after a successful stint leading growth and creator partnerships at Flip Social Shopping, the first-ever vertically integrated platform where social meets commerce. Mr. Ovechkin joins Revolut after leading growth for Healthtech company, Thirty Madison. Previously, he managed growth marketing for consumer brands such as meal kit delivery company, HelloFresh and dog food delivery service, Ollie.

And secondly, Till Payments, the global fintech disruptor, has announced the promotions of Tanya Green and Alison Long into newly created roles within its Executive Leadership Team. Green will step into the role of Chief Customer Officer, while Long will take on the position of Chief People Officer. Both promotions are effective from the 1st of April, 2022. As CCO, Green will now be responsible for leading Till’s global brand as it launches into new markets whilst Long will be ensuring the company retains its culture-first and people-first approach to employee experience. “Since joining Till, both Tanya and Ali have demonstrated exceptional talent, leadership and global business acumen. They have led the company through some of the most challenging and colossal projects, with an unparalleled dedication that has led to success after success,” said CEO, Shadi Haddad.

So that’s your weekly Fintech Fix! Stay tuned for next week’s dose so that you can stay up to date with the biggest stories of the future, right here in the present. 

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