News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Young woman whispers in friend's ear

1.UK – FinTech        

 Altfi reports: 

“As both inflation and interest rates rise, digital bank Monument has increased the headline rates it pays on its 2-year and 5-year fixed savings accounts. 

Launched in December the accounts originally launched at 1.5 per cent and 2.05 per cent respectively, today those rates sit at 2.95 and 3.05 per cent, which Monument says place them second in the best buy tables. 

Unfortunately, the rates are only for Monument customers, who must have a balance of at least £25,000 in order to open an account, part of the bank’s aim to capture the mass affluent customers. 

“We’re pleased to be introducing our new fixed-term deposit accounts to the market, offering competitive rates for savers who wish to make their money work harder for them,” said Monument’s chief commercial officer John Saunders. 

“Fixed-term deposit accounts are ideal to complement longer-term savings goals – such as saving for a wedding or a new home – and allows savers to benefit from higher interest rates than those typically offered by easy access accounts, and make their money go further.” 

In January Monument co-founder Mintoo Bhandari handed over his CEO role to ex-Barclays boss Ian Rand who is coming to scale-up the business. 

Monument was granted its unrestricted banking licence in November, launching into the market shortly afterwards.” 


2. UK – FinTech 

The Fintech Times reports: 

“Consumer intelligence Talkwalker has released its latest report, High Street vs Challenger Banks. It examines how the future of banking in the UK is seeing rapid and irreversible change, with challenger banks hot on the heels of high street banks. 

High street banks lead the way with the lion’s share of voice in the sector, with Barclays (34.4 per cent) and HSBC (27.4 per cent) being spoken about the most. This is in part due to huge peaks and clusters in conversation around popular culture and sport such as football, with Barclays sponsoring the Premier League. 

While challenger banks such as Starling and Revolut are often mentioned in the same sentence, Revolut sets itself apart as the brand being spoken about and engaged with the most with the highest market share of voice (8.9 per cent) amongst the challenger brands. Themes here are far more customer-centric, talking less about the world in broad terms and more about payments, platforms, and plans. 

Overall, net sentiment for all of the banks is low. High street banks are spoken about more by consumers, but not favoured. Challenger banks come out on top with more positive sentiment than high street banks. Starling Bank has the most favourable net sentiment score (-4.4 per cent), whilst high street bank NatWest fairs the worst (-36.6 per cent). 

The biggest issue for both high street and challenger banks and the number one factor driving the decision for people to switch banks is customer service. Sustainability and ethics are also seen as the big drivers, but for positive reasons. 

HSBC can be seen advertising bank accounts for those people with no fixed address, and climate-crisis-fighting initiative Tech Zero attracting the likes of Revolut, Starling Bank, and Monzo. 

Topic analysis identifies fraud, crime, and support as key conversation drivers; challenger banks are surrounded with far more operational conversations about the app, access, and their account. 

The report distils twelve months of data by analysing shared and earned media as challenger banks experience significant growth and are increasing their share of the market.” 


3. UK - FinTech  

Altfi reports: 

“Payments service provider SumUp has raised a huge €590m funding round to reach a valuation of €8bn. 

The London-based fintech was reportedly seeking a value as high as €20bn, which would have positioned it as one of the UK’s most valuable start-ups.  

An equal combination of debt and equity, the round was led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities and brings the global fintech’s total capital raised to €1.5bn. 

Over a decade of rapid growth and expansion, SumUp has grown into a financial services ‘super app’, evolving from a company that once just transformed smartphones into card payment terminals into a range of business services for its more than four million small and medium businesses.” 


4. International – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 

“German BaaS player Raisin Bank is moving into the payments business after agreeing to buy a Bankhaus August Lenz unit. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

By acquiring the payments division of the German private Bank, Raisin will be able to offer its partners and their customers electronic payment transactions as well as cash solutions.

Specifically, the firm will get access to over 4500 ATMs in Germany, working with major bank-independent operators as well as retailers, restaurants and petrol station chains.

The new payments division will be led by Mirko Siepmann, who helped build up the vertical for Bankhaus August Lenz. All employees working in this area at the Munich location will be kept on.” 



5. International – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 

“In November of 2021, the European Union announced pan-European securities crowdfunding rules. While there are still certain details being worked out, effectively an issuer may now list a security on an online investment platform and raise capital across all EU member states. European Crowdfunding Service Provider Regulation (ECSPR) enables the harmonization of securities crowdfunding and is expected to be a boon for early-stage firms which are now allowed to raise up to €5 million from European individuals – more if you roll in the UK market (and perhaps the US). The EU explains its belief that online capital formation is good for continental Europe: 

“Crowdfunding can contribute to providing access to finance for SMEs and completing the Capital Markets Union (CMU). Lack of access to finance for SMEs constitutes a problem even in those Member States where access to bank finance has remained stable throughout the financial crisis. Crowdfunding has emerged and become an established practice of funding business activities of natural and legal persons.”