FinTech/bank partnerships are becoming more prevalent within financial services, and so are cross-border pacts between governments to jointly bring resources to bear on nurturing tech-nimble upstarts.
To that end, and as announced this week and reported by opengovasia.com, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Trade signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance collaboration in FinTech between the U.K. and Hong Kong.
The latest pact follows on the heels of the agreement between the Hong Kong SAR government and the U.K. government that was struck two years ago in what was termed the Bridge, which laid out principles for FinTech collaboration. The memorandum between the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Trade would allow for repeated visits to the respective countries by a number of FinTech startups and enterprises each year with an eye on, among other things, pitching and investment activities.
In Israel, the Banking Supervision Department said late last week that it has opened an assistance center in that country, focused on FinTech and access to traditional banking accounts.
The department’s move comes just weeks after Israel made cross-border information and resource sharing announcements of its own, declaring at the end of September that the Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings Authority, and the Israel Security Authority have jointly signed a memorandum to work with the Croatian Financial Services Supervisor Agency.
A bit closer to home, in the United States, Central Payments, which operates as the payments division of Central Bank of Kansas City, said that it had formed Falls Fintech, billed as a FinTech accelerator. Central Payments also said it had formed CPX, an open API platform. According to a release, Falls FinTech is targeting FinTechs that are nearing what is termed “the minimum viable product stage,” and where there is the involvement of a bank as issuer and source of insured deposits, and which will utilize the CPX platform. The project, said Central Payments, has secured the support of Mastercard, which also serves as a founding sponsor.
In terms of individual company news — also with a tie-in to cross-border efforts — in Europe, Enterpay, an invoicing company based in Finland, said this week that it had closed a funding round valued at the U.S. dollar equivalent of $1.1 million and also struck a partnership with a German bank, Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken. The funding, according to an announcement, will help Enterpay, which focuses on B2B eCommerce, credit scoring and invoicing automation, broaden its geographic reach. The German bank, for its part, represents about 25 percent of the European eCommerce market, worth an estimated $496 billion.
Elsewhere, FinTech Rapyd has announced that it received a remittance license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The FinTech, which announced $100 million in funding last week, has said that the remittance license means that its own corporate customers can extend digital payments offerings to end users across 100 countries and more than 160 currencies. The FinTech as a service model will, according to the company, simplify and speed cross-border payments for trade, for SMBs and supply chains. The latest license follows news of Rapyd’s partnerships with TNG FinTech Group over the summer and OCBC Bank in April.
Finally, ComputerWeekly.com reported that a proposed sale of a digital challenger bank, known as Fidor, has collapsed. Fidor Bank had been put up for sale by the French banking company BPCE late last year, and the French firm had reportedly been in talks with Oldenburgischen Landesbank (OLB) and private equity firm Apollo.
“These talks have now ended with no agreement,” reported the site.
Fidor had been launched in Germany and had been billed as one of the earlier FinTechs to launch, using social media and APIs to bring traditional financial services online.
“The failure of the deal demonstrates the challenges faced by traditional banks when it comes to integrating a different culture into the business,” reported ComputerWeekly. “Large, traditional banks, for example, face a lot of resistance to change as a result of their structure.”