In today’s top stories from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the United Kingdom’s top financial regulator places Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse on a watchlist until it shows it can improve its culture and accountability measures. Plus, Apple finally reaches an agreement with Dutch regulators over its dating app payment rules, Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) enters super app territory, and European Union residents aren’t excited about the possibility of a digital euro.
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has placed Credit Suisse on a watchlist of companies that require stricter scrutiny. The Zurich-based investment banking giant may not have done enough to “improve its culture, governance and risk controls,” the FCA said. Regulators said the bank needs to show evidence of what it would do to prevent misconduct and improve accountability, as well as address what the FCA said are “persistent” cultural issues such as a lack of internal challenges for risky transactions.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said Apple now plans to allow other payment methods on Dutch dating apps, following intervention from the regulator. Apple’s move replaces the company’s previous rule that said customers using the apps could only make payments using methods approved by Apple. The ACM had fined Apple numerous times over the issue, to the tune of 50 million euros (about $52 million).
Nigeria’s GTCO has won approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to begin operations on its FinTech subsidiary, HabariPay, marking the entrance of one of the country’s leading banks into the region’s increasingly crowded ePayment sector. Commenting on the news, GTCO’s Group CEO Segun Agbaje underlined the centrality of payment technology to the company’s goals.
The European Commission will conclude a public consultation on the digital euro Tuesday (June 14) after feedback from citizens showed that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) may not be as welcome as regulators had wished. So far, regulators received 16,299 responses, with 98% from EU citizens, and just 0.3% from companies or 0.03% from businesses associations. A vast majority of comments from EU citizens opposed the digital euro, with many arguing citizens would lose privacy in their transactions and the government would gain too much control.
Sales by discount retailers dropped 15% in May throughout the U.K., part of an overall 8.7% year-over-year decline in those types of purchases. That’s according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which monitors online sales for more than 200 retailers. Luxury retailers fell 3.6% year over year in May, while mid-market retailers rose slightly — 0.5% — compared to the same time last year. The May numbers were a 0.6% drop from April U.K. retail sales, an anomaly considering May is typically higher than April.
Walmart is inviting U.K. retailers to join its online marketplace to offer them another place to earn eCommerce revenue from the 120 million monthly visitors who patronize Walmart.com. Approved British sellers will get access to Walmart’s eCommerce portal, with the largest U.S. retailer promising two-day shipping to the U.S. for most of 2022, along with access to other services to help them drive sales. Walmart’s push to attract U.K. exporters comes as the British government is attempting to help businesses reach 1 trillion pounds (about $1.22 trillion) in exports by the end of the decade by focusing on non-EU markets like Australia, Canada, Japan and the U.S.
Payment information provider SurePay is working with Virgin Money to help the company execute its U.K. Confirmation of Payee (CoP) solution to protect consumers against fraud and misdirected payments. CoP gives customers peace of mind that their payments are going to the proper recipient, and not being rerouted, either accidentally or on purpose. SurePay said its algorithm is built for CoP and operates within the U.K.’s payment regulations.