Our biggest stories of the past week are …
We talk a lot about challenger banks. These are the new banks that will create competition against the incumbents. The names thrown around include Metro Bank, Virgin Money, Tesco Bank, Aldemore, Shawnbrook and more. Although none of these have gained significant market share yet, the hope is they will against the Big Four: Barclays, HSBC, RBS/NatWest and Lloyds. In fact, in this context, the biggest competitor is Santander who now have as many branches as HSBC in the UK. Meanwhile, a name that isn’t thrown around so much is Harrods Bank.
Everyone’s getting excited about wearable banking. I’m often asked about it, and also see many examples appearing around such themes. The first was Banco Sabadell offering a Google Glass banking app a year ago. In response, one of Sabadell’s Spanish bank competitors, Caixa, has gone a step further and launched both Glass and Watch apps . In fact CaixaBank went a step further and launched a FinApps Party, a competition to find the best wearable apps in the world. This year Garcon! won, a wearable app allowing streamlined checkout, multi-factor authentication, tagging, transaction history and purchase voiding. PayPal is here with Android Wear …
Someone was attacking the premise of digital bank change the other day, by claiming it only refers to consumer banking. Nothing is changing in corporate or investment banking, they claimed. Wrong. All areas of financial processes, products and services are being attacked by some new start-up company somewhere. I realise this every day when I see so many bright young things creating a new model using direct connectivity over the net, and thus displacing the trusted intermediaries through technology. Disintermediation is finally happening; it’s only taken twenty years to get there.
Everything is moving from C2C via B2B to P2P. I hate all those TLAs, but it puts the context of what’s occurring in our world quite nicely. The core of this change is articulated best by the bitcoin community who believe we do not need a trusted third party to exchange value these days. The technology is that trusted third party. In code we trust.
This question struck me after reading a variety of articles recently. The first showed that the top 1% own over half of the world's wealth. The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published in October, which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.
The major general news stories of the past week include …
Standard Chartered is under attack, and our craven politicians do nothing – The Telegraph
The great British bank had every right to trade with Iran, and the US must be told to back off, says Peter Oborne
London Stock Exchange to freeze trading at midday to fend off high-frequency traders – The Independent
Trading on the London Stock Exchange will be halted mid-session for the first time in more than 200 years in a bid to protect its biggest customers from “flash boy” high-frequency traders.
Nationwide offers wrist watch for bank balance checks – The Telegraph
Nationwide has launched an Android Wear smart watch, which will allow its customers to check their bank balance on the move
Interest rates are so low that Germans are paying to keep money in banks – The Telegraph
Deutsche Skatbank has become the first EU bank to introduce negative savings rates for retail clients, months after the European Central Bank introduced interest rates below zero
Soaring Santander must treat its new customers right to keep them – The Independent
Dynastic succession is not generally a good way to be selecting your top executives. Santander might just be the exception to that rule.
UBS loses safaris and strippers court case – The Independent
A judge gave a withering condemnation of the banking practices of UBS London in a judgment handed down yesterday in a case involving a grimly familiar cast of alleged luxury safari trips and strippers laid on for clients.
RBS ends 14-year relationship with Deloitte – The Telegraph
Taxpayer-owned bank breaks from Fred Goodwin era by awarding lucrative auditing contract to EY
HSBC battered by more than £1bn in new potential fines over scandals – The Independent
HSBC has admitted it could face new fines and costs for its alleged role in banking scandals of more than $1.8bn (£1.1bn) – with more expected to follow.
British banker arrested in Hong Kong double murder case – Reuters
A 29-year-old British banker has been arrested in Hong Kong in connection with the grisly murder of two women, a rare occurrence in a city known for its low homicide rate.
Tesco eyes £1bn from bank sale – The Telegraph
Tesco has begun exploring the possible sale of a stake in its banking arm as it speeds up plans to raise billions of pounds in much-needed additional capital.
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