The United Kingdom-based money transfer company TransferWise is in the midst of discussions with a number of lenders about embedding the company’s money transfer functions into financial institutions’ smartphone applications.
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Financial Times reported Monday (Dec. 21) that the financial technology firm has a deal already in place with one retail bank, LHV, in what the financial publication said “opens the door for a rollout of its technology” in tandem with banks stretching across the continent — and beyond, with entree into the United States. The company also was quoted by FT as stating that it is in “preliminary talks with other banks looking to make similar moves” across what it said were both established and “challenger” institutions, without naming them.
Yet, an unnamed source familiar with the talks told FT that the roster includes a number of lenders based in the United Kingdom. The company, for its part, has a deep bench of investors, such as Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, and recent valuations — based on funding rounds in the past year — have been at $1 billion.
As has been noted across numerous sources, large banks are linking up, and looking to link up, with financial technology services companies to help stem the tide of disruption they can bring and integrate their technologies into existing platforms. Among recent headlines has been JPMorgan’s deal with online lender OnDeck, with an eye on small business loan underwriting. Also, Kabbage has gotten a vote of support with an investment from Scotiabank.
The pie is a large one, as the company vies within a $529 billion industry that covers remittances sent globally. TransferWise gains some reach with the LHV deal, as the bank is the largest one in Estonia, with roughly 70,000 customers, and the combined services will debut early in 2016.