TFU | Feb. 10 – 16

Leading Off

The FDIC approved Varo’s application to become an insured depository institution; N26 is shutting down its UK operations due to Brexit complications; Canada Stablecorp is launching a stablecoin pegged to the CAD; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced legislation to create a federal Data Protection Agency; and Regtech firm Fenergo raised $80M in new funding at an $800M valuation.

In the News

FDIC approves Varo, moving it closer to bank status.  After three years and several rounds of applications, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) approved the fintech firm’s application to become an insured depository, putting Varo one step closer to offering the full suite of traditional bank services. Varo is awaiting OCC approval on its application for a national banking charter.

N26 brexits.  The German fintech is shutting down its U.K. operations due to post-Brexit passporting rule changes that require European companies to reapply to continue to operate in the country. In addition, the cost of setting up a British banking subsidiary and fierce competition in the U.K.’s fintech market likely contributed to N26’s decision. N26 will close its British accounts on April 15th.  

Canadian stablecoin launched.   Canada Stablecorp, a joint venture of blockchain developer Mavenet and crypto asset manager 3iQ, is launching a stablecoin pegged to the Canadian dollar. Stablecorp expects “QCAD” to be both a form of payment and a settlement solution, compliant with KYC and AML regulations. Stablecorp hopes QCAD will become the first Canadian stablecoin to see general use.

Senator proposes federal Data Protection Agency.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced legislation to create a federal Data Protection Agency to regulate companies’ use of personal information and “give Americans meaningful protection over their data and how it’s being used”. Responsibility for overseeing privacy is currently split between the FTC, FCC, DOJ and other agencies.

Fenergo raises $80M.  The Irish regtech firm, which builds compliance and customer lifecycle solutions for financial companies, raised $80M at an $800M valuation. The funding round, led by ABN AMRO’s venture arm and DXC Technology, will be used to finance product development and future acquisitions. Fenergo currently has 70 customers, including PNC, RBC, and Mizuho.

JPMorgan plans to merge its blockchain unit with ConsenSys.  The global bank will merge its in-house blockchain unit Quorum with ConsenSys. Quorum underlies JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network, which has expanded to include over 300 banks sharing global payments data via blockchain. Quorum also is expected to be the platform for the bank’s upcoming JPMCoin digital currency.

Revolut partners with open banking API provider.  Revolut announced a new Open Banking feature in partnership with API provider TrueLayer, which will allow U.K. customers to connect, access, and view their bank accounts on a single app. Revolut believes the advent of APIs will allow customers of U.K. banks to easily share their data with Revolut without having to share their account passwords.

China files over 80 patents for central bank digital currency.  The People’s Bank of China has filed more than 80 patents related to its secretive plans to launch a digital currency, according to an investigative study by the U.S. Chamber of Digital Commerce. These patents reportedly focus on the control the issuance and supply of digital renminbi, the frameworks for performing interbank settlements, and integration of the digital currency with China’s existing retail banking infrastructure.

Starling Bank raises another £60M.  The British challenger bank raised £60 million in new funding from existing investors, bringing the firm’s total amount raised to £323 million. The new funding will be used to continue the firm’s expansion, including a European launch, and to award more shares to all 800 employees.

Nova Credit raises $50M.  The startup, which has built a cross-border platform to improve immigrants’ access to credit, closed a $50 million Series B funding round. The firm’s technology takes foreign credit data and translates it into US-equivalent data to help American underwriters make credit decisions in near-real time. The new funding will be used to accelerate Nova’s expansion.

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