It's fairly remarkable that younger customers believe they should invest in a UK, but Monzo continues to defy the naysayers, raising £20 million this week in a crowdfunding exercise via Crowdcube. It follows two earlier rounds of crowdfunding by the challenger bank, which now claims to have one in six of the new accounts being opened in the UK. "Existing investors got first dibs, jumping in on 3 December with £2 million pledged," writes Finextra. "Eligible Monzo customers were next up, with 33,549 of them investing up to £2000 each through the bank's app, raising the remaining £17.9 million in just two hours and 45 minutes today." Monzo raised eyebrows when it allowed customers to use its overdraft facility in order to take part in the fundraising. "Nonetheless the investment round caps a successful week for Monzo after it was crowned the UK's best-rated lender in an annual Which? poll, knocking long-standing champion first direct off its perch for the first time in ten years."
We mentioned recently the new deal between Brett King's Moven app and Russian digital giant Yandex.Money, and now Yandex is to launch its own smartphone. Why Yandex thinks this will work is a mystery, since attempts by others including Google (with Pixel) and Amazon (Fire), Facebook, Tencent and Baidu, but Yandex is keen to build a localised and trusted piece of hardware. Apple has built a nearly unbeatable hardware/software ecosystem which locks users in to many Apple products and other businesses would like to build the same structure. "We built Yandex.Phone to offer Russian users a smartphone that is equipped with all the localised tools that help users better navigate their daily routines and the most widely used Yandex applications," said Fedor Yezhov, Yandex's chief vice-president of ecosystem products. Samsung and Huawei currently control around fifty percent of the Russian market, and the Yandex phone will sell for $270, less than the high end offers of other players. Lafferty News has noticed that many Apple fans stopped upgrading at the iPhone 6 or 6s, with newer phones seeming to offer little more value.
There's some jaw-dropping stuff in the current issue of Private Eye on what's ahead for British banking. The Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry since 2008, to give its full unwieldy name, has come up with some basic answers in its interim report, catching the eye of, er, Private Eye. "It eviscerated the culture and behaviour of leading Aussie banks, which all operated in the UK," writes Private Eye. "They were driven by 'greed — the pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty." Has the bonus-driven culture, blamed for the financial crisis, changed? "Judging by the cover-ups at Lloyds over HBOS Reading and RBS over its Global Restructuring Group, Danske Bank's laundering of €200bn of mainly Russian dirty money, Santander and other banks' involvement in a possible Europe-wide dividend tax fraud, and Goldman Sachs' assistance in the $2.7bn pillaging of Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, the answer is No." Those are some of the milder comments by Private Eye, which notes that the FCA (which it dubs the Fundamentally Complicit Authority) has failed to report on two HBOS investigations.
Lloyds achieved three stars in the 2018 Lafferty Banking 500. The maximum score is five stars.
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