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Shaping the future of finance

The Finanser’s Week: 24th August 2020 – 30th August 2020

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This week continued the focus upon the challenges for challengers:

[Monzo + Starling + Revolut] – Pandemic = The End?

Over the past week or two, the neobank and challenger bank sector has been issuing financial reports. If you haven’t noticed: WHERE WERE YOU? Monzo got a particular hammering for warning that the coronavirus pandemic could impact the company as a going concern. Some argue …

Forget about Monzo and Starling, what about Metro Bank, Tandem, Tide, OakNorth and all the other challengers?

Someone asked me about the other challenger and neobanks after yesterday’s blog. I guess we focus upon Monzo, Starling and Revolut, because they are the front-runners. But there’s also Aldermore, Atom, Tide, Tandem, Lintel, Metro, Monese, OakNorth, Zopa and more. Well, I don’t have enough …

Are challenger banks doing anything different?

After the last two blogs, various comments highlight other questions, with the commonest one being: will any of these new banks make a profit? The answer to that is yes. Some already are, such as Shawbrook, OakNorth, Aldermore … the ones you hear less about. …

What’s the difference between challenger banks 2020 and challenger banks 2000?

Carl Howard asked me to look at the challenger and neobanks we discuss today and those of twenty years ago … Have you ever done a piece comparing Smile, IF and FD with latest challenger banks. The cynic (cynic moi?) in me feels intuitively there’s …

Challenging: Why BaaS, Open Banking, APIs is all a confusion

I saw an article the other day: Top 10 startups offering ‘banking as a service’ in Europe by Silicon Canals. It’s an interesting article that completely misunderstands what Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) is, as most of the firms listed are companies offering just an API or a …

This week, we added:

Can challenger banks climb the mountain?

I’m going to shut up about challenger banks soon, but noted that even the regulator is getting worried about them. After Monzo’s admittance that it may not continue as a going concern if the pandemic continues through 2021, N26 admitting that profit is not their …

How to create a challenger bank …

I realise I come across sometimes as a bit whiny, crotchety and grumpy, so decided to upgrade the dialogue with what is positive and what can be done. After critiquing all last week, I do like the challenger banks’ ways of providing more analytics and …

In other views …

How’s lockdown been for you?

WARNING: LONG READ During the last week, I had a chat with a friend about lockdown. I always start conversations with how’s lockdown been for you? For him, it’s been particularly bad. Based in downtown New York City (NYC), USA, he described how hordes of …

Should you invest in Ant Group’s IPO?

As someone who’s followed Alibaba, Alipay and Ant Financial – now Ant Group, btw – for a long time, I cannot let their IPO appear without comment. If you haven’t spotted it, here’s coverage in The Wall Street Journal: Ant Group Co., the Chinese financial-technology …

The FinTech Poetry Challenge: I wandered lonely on the cloud

There are some iconic lines in films. Stop the world, I want to get off. I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore. Do you want to take the red or the blue pill? I’ll have what she’s having …


And the main news headlines are ….

Global bank to make working from home permanent - Personnel Today
US financial institution JPMorgan Chase has stated it will increase flexibility at the company permanently, in a move some analysts have said is because of the need to attract the best talent in the very competitive financial recruitment market.

Jack Ma's mobile payments firm Ant Group plans flotation - Guardian
Hong Kong and Shanghai IPO could raise as much as $30bn, valuing firm at more than $200bn The Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s mobile payments firm has announced plans to float on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges in a move that could value the company at $225bn (£169bn). Ant

Banks May Need To Replace Executive Suites To Succeed At Digital - Forbes
The future of banking will be so different that many banks won't survive unless they clear out most or all of their executive suite, says a new report from Forrester.

Zopa steps up digital bank war with fixed term savings account launch - Verdict
Digital bank Zopa has made a key move in the growing UK market with the launch of a fixed term savings account.

Tandem Bank acquires green lending business - Bridging and Commercial
Tandem Bank has acquired Allium Lending Group as part of a £60m fundraising deal that was finalised last week, in a bid to become the UK’s first green digital retail bank.

Rise of the central bank digital currencies: drivers, approaches and technologies - Bank of International Settlements (BIS)
Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are in the limelight. But the reasons for issuing them vary between countries, as do the policy approaches and technical designs. This paper looks at the economic and institutional motives behind current CBDC projects and asks how they might shape the design of such currencies.

It's just not easy for banks to train graduate hires remotely - eFinancial Careers
After two decades in banking, the training and onboarding new graduates pretty much runs on autopilot for most managing directors. This year, however, a certain pandemic, however, blew that theory right out of the water.

Watch stunning video of galloping black horse being filmed for 'Lloyds Bank advert' - Chronicle Live
An early morning walker was in for a treat when she encountered a crew on Beadnell Beach filming what she says was the iconic shot for the Lloyds Bank advert.

Digital banks race to turn profit - The Times
Digital banks are scrambling to do deals and grow income as the Bank of England sets a deadline for profitability.

JP Morgan prepares to launch UK digital bank next year - City AM
JP Morgan Chase is reportedly preparing to launch an online bank in the UK early next year. The investment bank is finalising plans to open its UK challenger bank in the first quarter of 2021, according to Sky News.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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