TFU | Sept. 9-15

Leading Off

The CFPB launched a program to encourage collaboration between state and federal regulators on financial innovation; the London Stock Exchange unanimously rejected the Hong Kong Exchange’s £29.6 billion takeover bid; Switzerland’s financial regulator published new guidance on stablecoins and confirmed that the Libra Association requested an assessment of its Libra coin; Blockstack raised more than $20 million in the first SEC-approved token sale; and Stripe launched a corporate credit card for business customers.


In the News

CFPB forms federal-and-state innovation network.  The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched the American Consumer Financial Innovation Network (ACFIN), aiming to “enhance coordination among federal and state regulators to facilitate financial innovation.” The CFPB has invited all 50 states to join ACFIN, with Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah joining so far. 

LSE rejects HKEX’s takeover bid.  The board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) unanimously rejected the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing’s (HKEX) unsolicited £29.6 billion takeover bid. LSE Chair Don Robert wrote to HKEX head Charles Li that he was “surprised and disappointed” in the takeover bid, and would not be pursuing a deal “given the fundamental flaws in your proposal.” 

FINMA publishes stablecoin guidance, receives Libra application.  Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) published new “guidelines outlining how it treats so-called ‘stable coins’ under Swiss supervisory law” [full text]. In addition, it confirmed receipt of an application from the Libra Association for an assessment of how its Libra token would be regulated under Swiss law.

Blockstack completes first SEC-approved token sale.  The decentralized identity platform raised $23 million in becoming the first firm to successfully conduct a token sale approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to SEC filings, Blockstack raised $15.5 million through a Reg A+ sale in the U.S., and another $7.6 million through a Reg S offering in Asia.

DBS Bank launches blockchain-powered trade finance platform.  The Singaporean multinational bank launched the platform to help small and medium-sized enterprises in China get faster access to trade financing. DBS says the platform will allow trade financing to be “provided in 24 hours, compared with the weeks and months using the traditional paper-based approach.”

Santander issues bond using blockchain.  The Spanish bank used Ethereum and other tokens to issue and settle a $20 million bond, claiming to be the first institution to manage all aspects of a bond issuance on a public blockchain. Santander’s head of digital investment banking called the project “an evolutionary step” in bond issuance.

Stripe launches credit card for business customers.  The payments firm launched the Stripe Corporate Card on the heels of its move into lending last week, when it rolled out Stripe Capital. The new card runs on the Visa network and is available to businesses incorporated in the U.S. Users are “expected to pay their balance in full each month, so for now there is no interest rate, or fee, to use the card.”

Numerated raises $15M.  The Boston-based startup, which provides a real-time sales platform for banks, raised $15 million is a Series B round led by Patriot Financial Partners. The funding will be used to “accelerate platform expansion and keep pace with demand from existing and prospective customers.”

Square sues San Francisco over taxes.  The payment processor filed a lawsuit against its home city, seeking to recover over $1.3 million in taxes. Square is arguing that the city should classify it as a technology company rather than a financial company, which would subject the firm to a lower tax rate, and is seeking to recover the difference it has already paid the city. 

Affirm reportedly is raising $1.5B in new capital.   The consumer finance firm is said to be raising as much as $1.5 billion in debt and equity, aiming to capitalize on increased investment in consumer and B2B lending businesses. Affirm gives consumers an alternative to personal loans and credit by financing online purchases at point-of-sale, and recently raised $300 million in Series F capital.

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