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OakNorth’s UK bank has approved £600m in loans since March

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OakNorth Bank – the UK bank operated by fintech OakNorth – has approved £600 million in new loans since 23 March.

The bank has approved an average of £150 million in new loans each month since the start of lockdown.

OakNorth sign

The British Business Bank (BBB) has given OakNorth an additional coronavirus loan allocation

The fintech has accreditation under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). As well as the larger scheme for businesses with an annual turnover of more than £45 million.

Some £220 million of the £600 million OakNorth Bank has issued since March came from these schemes.

More loan allocation from the government

As a result, the British Business Bank (BBB) has given OakNorth an additional coronavirus loan allocation. The bank has not revealed the amount.

“This additional allocation from the BBB will enable us to continue doing that in addition to the lending we’re doing outside of the schemes,” says Ben Barbanel, OakNorth Bank’s head of debt finance.

“While lockdown measures have continued to ease over the past month, things have hardly gone back to normal and there continues to be uncertainty around a potential second wave.”

Who is OakNorth Bank lending to?

OakNorth Bank offers debt finance loans between £500,000 to £50 million.

The fintech says it issued loans to several hotels. These included The Jade Hotel in South Kensington, Signet Hotel Group and Mitre Hotel in Hampton Court.

OakNorth Bank also issued a loan to Red Oak Taverns – the national pub operator, and Waverstone so it could purchase 135 retirement apartments across the UK.

OakNorth’s growth beyond its UK bank

The fintech’s lending platform is licensed to 17 banks globally, including OakNorth’s own bank in the UK, as well as NIBC Bank and lender Omio, both of which are based in the Netherlands.

In the last few months, OakNorth has announced three partnerships with US banks – PNB Bank, Modern Bank, and Customers Bank.

As OakNorth continues to outsource its technology, Khosla has noted potential acquisition opportunities for the company in the current climate.

“At a time like this, there may be great opportunities to pick up talent or certain intellectual property (IP) at moderately sensible numbers,” Khosla said at a Founders Forum event on 6 May.

Read next: OakNorth partners with major US lender PNC Bank

Source: https://www.fintechfutures.com/2020/08/oaknorths-uk-bank-has-approved-600m-in-loans-since-march/

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Angolan National Bank and Beta-i create fintech regulatory sandbox

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The National Bank of Angola (BNA) and Beta-i, an innovation consultancy, have joined forces to create the first fintech regulatory sandbox in the nation.

The project will allow fintech start-ups to test their products and services in a real market environment. It will also provide guidance on regulations, and help form new laws.

BNA runs the initiative with the executive management of Acelera Angola and Beta-i.

The regulatory sandbox project came from the Laboratório de Inovação do Sistema de Pagamentos Angolano (Lispa).

Angolan National Bank

The sandbox will open four batches, each composed of 10 selected projects.

About 70% of the adult Angolan population does not have access to banking services on a daily basis. Lispa is an acceleration and incubation program aiming to change that situation.

The program is open to any entity established in Angola. The sandbox will open four batches, each composed of 10 selected projects.

These projects will take part in eight months of regular development sessions. It has two main goals: guidance on regulation and acquisition of licences, and mentorship to build and refine a defined market growth strategy that boosts financial and social inclusion.

“We have concluded that we were getting behind other African countries in terms of fintech innovation,” says Pedro Castro e Silva, administrator at Banco Nacional de Angola.

We’ve then defined two clear objectives: to increase financial inclusion through technology and to create jobs, making room for innovators to establish themselves in the market,” he adds.

Read more: Inclusion, innovation, and mobile money in Sub-Saharan Africa

“Through tests and controlled environments, the sandbox comes as an opportunity for new projects to adapt themselves to the current legislation and evaluate the need for changes in the regulation, if applied.”

Lispa is also formed by Incubadora Fintech, a project that is already supporting 20 Angolan start-ups, mainly fintech.

It does this through mentorship on adapting operations to the real market and development of ideas. They aim to match with start-ups with investors to get investment at the end of the program.

Eduardo Sette Camara, head of acceleration at Beta-i and responsible for the design and implementation of Lispa’s initiatives, explains that the lab is an essential initiative for the ecosystem. “It has been structured to allow continued support to the start-ups, both in terms of business and regulation”.

During the 10 months of incubation, start-ups have access to Beta-i’s teams and mentors for technical guidance.

The CEO of Acelera Angola, José Carlos Santos, understands that although the nation has not yet achieved all the “desired excellency and dimension”, more services and products are being launched in Angola, “in a spirit of growth and effective collaboration”.

See also: Pan-African challenger Union54 to launch in 2021

Source: https://www.fintechfutures.com/2020/09/angolan-national-bank-and-beta-i-create-fintech-regulatory-sandbox/

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Why this prominent crypto analyst thinks Ethereum DeFi has topped for now

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Despite weakness in legacy markets, Ethereum has performed well over the 36 hours since the launch of Uniswap’s UNI token. From the time of the announcement, the coin has gained in excess of five percent, outperforming a majority of other cryptocurrencies.

ETH chart
Chart of ETH’s price action since the Uniswap launch. ETHUSD Chart from TradingView

Decentralized finance coins, though, have not performed as well.

Per CryptoSlate market sector data, many top DeFi coins including Yearn.finance, Aave, UMA, and Synthetix Network Token have slipped over five percent in the past 24 hours, underperforming ETH by 10 percent and BTC by six percent.

Analysts think that this trend of DeFi underperforming Ethereum — something that hasn’t been seen in months — may be the beginning of the end for decentralized finance’s phase of growth in the short term.

One prominent market commentator released a Twitter thread on the matter, outlining why he’s calling the medium-term DeFi top.

This analyst is calling a top in Ethereum DeFi for these reasons

Prominent crypto derivatives trader “Theta Seek” is calling a top on the DeFi market after this space has surged exponentially since the launch of Compound’s COMP token in June.

His primary contention with DeFi is that right now, it’s “too difficult to use” for the average user, especially those that are just being onboarded into the crypto space:

“While traction for DeFi (AMM + deposits/yield) has grown tremendously over the past few months, DeFi is difficult to use, the ability to lose funds scares most new users away.”

He specifically cited the story of a user spending $1 million worth of Tether’s USDT on a contract where he couldn’t retrieve his funds. 

Theta also noted that the value of capital entering the DeFi space is likely slowing down:

“A more visible metric is the speed of increase in stablecoins market cap. Other than ETH, USDC is one of the most used stablecoin in the space. MarketCap of USDC increased by 800M (“new money”) in the past month while DeFi market cap inflates by more than 3B in the same period.”

This may be the case as many DeFi coins have printed technical tops over recent weeks, falling dramatically from the highs where they were at the end of August or at the start of September.

Only compounding this, Theta remarked that DeFi has reached a point where regulators may begin to target companies and innovators in the space, especially if there are any notable bugs, hacks, or other questionable trends transpiring in the space.

Not the only one fearful of a loss of momentum

It’s important to highlight that Theta Seek isn’t the only analyst that is fearful that it may be time for DeFi to cool down after a jaw-dropping rally over the past three months.

Crypto analyst Ryan Watkins commented on Sep. 17, referencing the ongoing network congestion:

“Ethereum is damn near unusable right now. I can only imagine what retail will think if they eventually come into this market and face $50+ gas fees and 10+ minutes transaction confirmations… This has been my biggest anxiety about this bull market. The protocols are ready, the infrastructure is not.”

Watkins is not alone in sharing this sentiment. Many others following the space have noted that a number of factors, largely user experience shortfalls, could put pressure on DeFi until technologies like ETH2 and EIP-1559 are implemented.

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/why-this-prominent-crypto-analyst-thinks-ethereum-defi-has-topped-for-now/

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Swift unveils expansion plans to “fundamentally transform” transaction management

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Swift has announced a new two-year strategy that sees it expand beyond financial messaging and into transaction management services.

Swift Logo

Swift has outlined a two-year target for its new strategy

The network says that it seeks to “fundamentally transform” payments and securities processing. It aims to provide financial institutions with “instant and frictionless” end-to-end transactions.

Swift says its new platform will utilise APIs to facilitate interactions between financial institutions and other participants.

Banks will use a set of common processing services, which Swift says they have “historically invested in individually”.

Swift says those opting in don’t need to worry about connecting their legacy tech to Swift. The firm promises “minimal disruption through backward compatibility”.

Swift claims at least four billion accounts could be powered by “instant and frictionless” transactions, saving the industry time and money.

It says that “new and extensive data capabilities” will enable the pre-validation of essential data, fraud detection, transaction tracking and more.

The messaging service is building on its other transformation initiative, Swift gpi. It claims that more than 1,000 banks have joined Swift gpi, operating 2,170 country payment corridors.

“We are innovating the underlying infrastructure that financial institutions use to make transactions run even faster end-to-end,” says Swift CEO, Javier Pérez-Tasso.

Bank integration

Harry Newman, head of banking at Swift, tells FinTech Futures the platform will sit between participating banks.

“It will be backwards compatible with existing infrastructure. This means customers can go at their own pace and leverage investments that have already been made without the need to retrofit later.

“Over the next two years, we will continue to roll out new functionality and services. Banks can then decide in their own time how to leverage the new platform capabilities.”

Newman says that 2020 and 2021 will be geared around the development of the new service. General availability is slated for November 2022, and will align with the adoption of the ISO 20022 payments standard.

Different but the same

Swift is keen to underline that payments infrastructure remains its core focus.

“Swift will continue to be, as per its true north, bank and market infrastructure-centric,” says Yawar Shah, chair of Swift, in the announcement.

According to Shah the entirety of Swift’s board, “representing the entire global banking community”, has endorsed this strategy.

“While the securities industry’s post-trade processes have been leading the way in terms of efficiency and safety, there are areas for further improvement,” says Alain Pochet, head of client delivery at BNP Paribas.

“This is a positive move, which will help our industry continue to innovate.”

Gamze Yalçin, deputy chief executive at İşbank, says that Swift’s new strategy “marks a major next step in meeting the evolving needs of its customers”.

She adds: “In the cross-border payments landscape, customers are in need of faster, safer and traceable transfers.”

Related: Swift names Nick Kerigan as new head of innovation execution

Source: https://www.fintechfutures.com/2020/09/swift-unveils-expansion-plans-to-fundamentally-transform-transaction-management/

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