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Towards Currency Union

GCC Half Diner

I've been studying developments in the Middle East lately, and particularly the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC has been running since 1981 and comprises six core states of the Persia Gulf Region: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. The GCC is a bit …

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Innovations and snails

According to Fast Company, only one of the Top 10 financial websites of the world comes from a traditional bank.  That bank is Itaú Unibancoe in Brazil.  Well done Itaú Unibancoe … what happened to the rest of you? Oh yes, banks don't innovate.  I forgot. Mind you, plenty of …

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The Card Awards 2010

Virgin Money

BLOG ENTRY SPONSORED BY: I've just received the magazine announcing the winners of this year's Card Awards (last year's winners can be seen here).  And the envelope openings went to: Best New Credit Card Product of the YearPayPal and Santander Cards Best Credit Card Marketing Campaign of the YearBarclaycard Best …

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Chip & PIN is broken (UPDATE)

As many readers know, I've disliked Chip & PIN pretty much since it was launched, as there are better solutions out there.  Here's my comment from 2006: Chris Skinner, CEO of financial services think tank Balatro told silicon.com: "I'm an anti-chip and PIN person. Sorry Apacs – I like them …

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More on remittances

I mentioned a dinner which I chaired about remittances the other day, and the firm that organised the dinner sent me a white paper as a follow-up. As a taster, read the previous blog entry or this paragraph gives a good indication of the content: "Remittances are no longer solely …

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Are you taking the PSD?

PSD progress, December 2009

Interesting article on the guide to all things Europe today, Euractiv, about the Payment Services Directive. The Directive “has been transposed in all but 11 of the 31 EU/EEA countries”. Hmmm … that would be Cyprus, Estonia, Italy and Latvia (Jan); Norway (Feb); Belgium, Greece, Spain, Finland, Malta and Poland …

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When will they ban travellers cheques?


Following the decision in the UK to phase out the paper cheque by 2018, here's a graph of travellers cheques usage as published by the Federal Reserve via Paul Kedrowsky (double click to enlarge): I wonder when these will be outlawed?   The Financial Services Club is sponsored by:  For …

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Europe’s new regulatory agenda


We had a fascinating and packed meeting at the Financial Services Club this week with David Doyle, EU Policy Advisor, discussing the challenges of the new Barosso European Parliament and their legislative drive in financial services. David is a regular visitor to the Financial Services Club, and runs our European …

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Over half of UK’s internet users bank online

As if to support my contention that a NEW bank should focus upon offering the world's best remote channel banking, the Payments Council released the following press release today: "It is just 12 years since internet banking began, but its popularity has grown so much that, in the first half …

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Remittances and the need for financial inclusion

I chaired a dinner last night on remittances and it was pretty interesting. The term ‘remittances’ is generally used to refer to foreign workers sending money home and represents major GDP for many countries. For example, Tonga’s remittances represent 40% of the country’s GDP, Samoa’s is 25%, Jamaica’s is over …

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Who am I?


I’m sitting in the house. It’s snowing. Look. This is big news. We don't get snow in Britain anymore. Global warming saw to that. So when it's snowing, it's major news headlines. Non-stop BBC reports saying: "it's snowing". And so it's snowing, and Britain has stopped. Literally. Everything has closed …

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