Most London-based banks decided long ago to switch locations ahead of Brexit developments, deeming waiting for political clarity an ask too far. Daniele Nouy, the chief supervisor for banks at the ECB told Bloomberg that 25 banks with their European headquarters in London headquarters are finishing or have finished their applications for EU subsidiaries. "The number rises to 37 when you include investment firms which are related to banks but don't fall under the ECB's responsibility, she said." Readers will recall that the ECB warned banks that any new subsidiaries in the EU would have to be substantial, and that the regulator would not approve "empty shells" or "letterbox-type operations" where a bank simply moves a few staff to an EU address while keeping the substance of its business in the UK.
We know that you come to Lafferty News not just for the serious news, but for those badly-needed moments of levity, especially when it comes to the particularly dour nature of Brexit. Irish media business Maximum Media has made a name for itself by expertly re-editing movie or TV clips. Here's Theresa May appealing to DUP leader Arlene Foster, in song, to the melody of the Dolly Parton classic Jolene.
Israel's digital mobile bank Pepper has set its sights on the US market. Pepper, a spin-off from Bank Leumi, has been looking to expand overseas and decided that the US market provides the right opportunities, said chief executive Rakefet Russak-Aminoach. "We said we wanted to go overseas and we searched wide," she said. The bank had weighed expanding to India before the US was chosen as its first overseas market due to its size and because American banks are so technologically advanced in most, but not all, respects. She added that expansion was influenced by inquiries from foreign banks and potential partners. "We... are currently pursuing several options for collaborations in the U.S. with significant and interesting players," Russak-Aminoach said, without revealing any names.
In a separate but related story, Leumi Card, which was run as a separate business from Bank Leumi, will be acquired by US private equity business Warburg Pincus, which has extensive interests in the card processing industry.
Readers will know that the US has some quirks when it comes to banking, like wanting to send cheques in the post, or adopting new standards just when the rest of the world has moved on to new ones. But who knew that Harvard University, which is firing out high financiers into the world, doesn't accept credit cards for fees? It was that realisation that led Eliot Buchanan to build a business called Plastiq, which turns card credit into any credit. "For a flat 2.5 percent fee, you pay Plastiq through your credit card, and it issues the proper wire transfer, check or deposit for up to $500,000, or even more, on your behalf to whomever you owe," writes TechCrunch. "Now with more than 1 million clients, growth-stage VCs are taking notice. Kleiner Perkins has just led a $27 million Series C for Plastiq with partner Ilya Fushman joining the board. A source says the raise that also comes from DST Global between doubles and triples Plastiq's valuation over its 2017 Series B-1 rounds of $11 million and $16 million. Now with $73 million in total funding, it plans to add 100 people to its current team of 60, while building out its small business product and bank partnerships."
Over in cryptoworld, bitcoin has been taking a savage dip this week, after chugging along in the $6,000 price range for most of 2018. "On Tuesday morning bitcoin, the most actively traded digital currency, fell by more than 10 per cent to a low of $4,237, its weakest level since October 2017, according to Refinitiv data. This follows steeper moves earlier in the week also among its closest peers. Ethereum, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation has fallen by 14 per cent in the last 24 hours to $139.66."
Bank Leumi scored four stars in the Lafferty Banking 500. The maximum score is five stars.
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