When Irish poet WB Yeats imagined the age of revelation as the first world war receded, he created an image of a "rough beast" which was "slouching towards Bethlehem". Today, in place of that imagined sublime, we have the UK shambling towards Brexit. British prime minister Theresa May is increasingly loved by European politicians, as she makes them look like thoughtful, forward-thinking political geniuses in comparison to the flailing and thrashing around currently favoured by the UK government in place of any useful strategy. Yes, the Brexit vote due to take place today has been abandoned due to the certainty that the Conservative government was going to lose spectacularly, with many of its own members due to vote against the proposal. As it currently stands, we are looking at a hard Brexit in March 2019. For Ireland, that means a sudden change from exporting most of its goods through the UK into Europe, and potentially going through several sets of border checks on the way to France — in just four month's time. Theresa May yesterday amazed Irish politicians (who have studiously avoided any talk of a United Ireland) by stating that the prospect of a hard border in Ireland might drive the entire island into a union. "We have been very careful not to talk about a united Ireland during this, so to hear it from the British prime minister was extraordinary," an Irish government source told the Irish Independent. "Mrs May's U-turn came after she and senior ministers had spent days insisting the vote would go ahead, despite the scale of opposition. Her statement in the House of Commons yesterday is also a clear signal that her relationship with the DUP, which had been propping up her government, is all but over."
Trust in the banking business is hard won and easily lost, and the same goes for the data business. Finextra picked up on an interesting comment by Tandem Bank chief operating officer Nick Bennett this week, as Bennett remarked that Tandem's strategy would be to build trust among customers that judicious use of their data would bring rewards — but over a five to ten year period. That is definitely hard won. And Bennett believes that incumbents are going about open banking in the wrong way. "People are not going to say after all this time that they will share data with their bank," he told Finextra. "It's a five to ten-year thing and Open Banking and data privacy will make it more of a gradual transition. GDPR is a good thing and we should expect consumers to be aware about how they share their data. I think social media has not helped because these companies haven't been as transparent as they should have been about how they use people's data. Bennett added that banks have a reputation for managing money well and that is why they pushed forward for a banking license for Tandem Bank. It is the bank's responsibility to look after customer data and while GDPR is encouraging trust, progress will not be abrupt."
Lafferty News is in Jordan this week to learn more about local bank-fintech developments. Jordan Bank Ahli has started a separate division called Ahli Fintech, and is offering places on the programme to international businesses wishing to investigate the market. The programme was announced in Cairo last week. "The selected startups could receive up to $200,000 as investment from Ahli Fintech," reports Menabytes. "But there's no minimum so some startups could choose to just join the program if they're selected without receiving any investment, Rami Al Karmi, Jordan Ahli Bank's Chief Innovation Officer and CEO of Ahli Fintech said, adding that they have already received some interest from those who want to join the program because they are interested only in instant market access." The programme will offer access to APIs in the Ahli Sandbox environment which mimics the live production environment, "enabling startups create customer-facing application with ease, advice, and mentorship from a network of over 1,000 mentors including Ahli Bank's team, partners and vendors, free workspace for six months, and an option to pilot with Ahli Bank's customers."
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