News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Young woman whispers in friend's ear

1.UK – FinTech 


AltFi reports: 

“Nearly 12 months to the day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the original CBILS lending scheme to help SMEs, the British Business Bank this month replaced all three of its lending packages. 

In their place now stands the Recovery Loan Scheme, a new programme of 80 per cent government-backed loans of between £25,000 and £10m, with interest rates capped at 15 per cent. 

Through CBILS, CLBILS and Bounce Back Loans, the British Business Bank has facilitated some £75bn worth of financing for 1.6m businesses, and Recovery Loans will undoubtedly prove similarly popular.” 


2. US – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports on regulatory rumblings in the United States’ crypto sector: 

“Several months ago, FinCEN submitted for publication in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding certain transactions that involve virtual currency or digital assets. FinCEN or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is a bureau of the US Department of the Treasury that seeks to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activity. 

The proposal in question has received criticism from the digital asset industry due to the extensive reporting requirements in the potential rule. FinCEN came under criticism when it appeared to rush through the NPRM in the midst of the holidays and during the transition to the Biden administration and subsequently, an extension was added for the comment period regarding “digital assets with legal tender status” (LTDA) or involving “convertible virtual currency” (CVC). 

David R. Burton, Senior Fellow in Economic Policy at The Heritage Foundation – and expert on legislation and securities law, submitted a comment letter addressing the proposed rules slamming the NPRM. Burton, in his comment letter, said that combatting the financing of terrorism and other illicit activity is a very important goal. But the proposal by FinCEN fails in its objective as that “rules and reporting that do not actually further the objective of countering terrorism or other illicit finance and merely add substantial costs to the operations of law-abiding businesses are dumb regulations. Then there are rules that may actually impede law enforcement objectives. This proposed rule, in its current form, falls in [one] of the two latter categories.” 

In the letter addressed to Kenneth Blanco, Director of FinCEN, Burton claims that FinCEN’s proposal addressing crypto would do “almost nothing to combat terrorism and illicit finance.” Burton states that FinCEN’s proposal is “likely to have a devastating economic impact on the responsible actors in the virtual currency, alternative currency or digital asset field and drive virtual currency users to engage in peer-to-peer transactions via unhosted wallets that cannot be effectively supervised by regulators” while undermining FinCEN’s stated mission.” 

3. US – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Ramp, a corporate credit card startup founded by the team behind Paribus, a consumer finance firm acquired by Capital One in 2016, has confirmed $115M in new funding from D1 Capital Partners and Stripe, with support from Goldman Sachs, Founders Fund, Coatue Management, Thrive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Box Group, Neo, and Contrary Capital. 

The round brings total venture and debt financing raised by Ramp to $320M and raises its valuation to $1.6B.

Ramp is taking aim at a market dominated by the likes of American Express and new fintech firms such as Brex.

But rather than encouraging customers to spend more, Ramp's USP includes the deployment of card usage analytics designed to help companies identify wasteful spending.

The card's benefits were designed with high growth companies in mind, requiring no personal guarantees, 1.5% unlimited cashback, and high limits balanced with complete spend control.

Over the past six months, transaction volume on Ramp has grown by approximately 400%. A third of Ramp customers switched over from American Express, and more than 90% of customers adopted Ramp as a comprehensive spend management platform, replacing Expensify, Concur or manual alternatives.” 


4. International – FinTech 


The Fintech Times reports: 


“Treasury Management International (TMI), a corporate treasury publishing group, has received payment in bitcoin for costs associated with researching the utility of Crypto Assets. TMI chose to work with Nasdaq-listed Diginex on this transaction, utilising the company’s cryptocurrency exchange and their industry certified custodian Digivault to receive and store the bitcoin. 

TMI has undertaken this initiative, with the support of Diginex, as part of a wider study into the practical applications of crypto assets for corporate treasurers. This work will include hosting an event entitled: “Crypto Assets: The Questions Every Corporate Treasurer Should be Asking” on April 21st where a panel of experts will discuss whether crypto assets and more specifically bitcoin has become a viable treasury asset.” 



5. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Singapore's DBS has added a feature to its AI-powered financial and retirement planning tool that provides retail customers with investment recommendations tailored to their profiles. 

DBS says that, although retail customers increasingly take a self-directed approach to investing digitally, eight out of 10 have not taken any action in this area over the last year.

The bank says that it has seen a positive response to the personalised nudges and recommendations provided by its financial and retirement planning tool, NAV Planner.

Now it is hoping to have the same success with investment recommendations. Customers will be prompted to complete a five question assessment to create an investment profile. Then the new 'make your money work harder' digital advisor uses AI to short-list and recommend specific investment solutions across six broad product classes.

DBS is also amalgamating the customer knowledge assessment and customer account review assessments a customer must take and pass before being permitted to invest in more sophisticated products.”