A bit of everything this week in fintech news with a flawed study from the University of Texas, more BNPL news, Jamie Dimon does a U-turn on Plaid, SPACs, and of course more funding rounds. Here are what I consider to be the top 10 most important fintech news stories of the past week.
Study Blames Fintech for Bad Data in the PPP Program from LendIt Fintech News – The University of Texas study on fintech’s role in the PPP was an abomination. It claims, with no hard data, that 40% of PPP loans originated by fintechs were deemed suspicious and calls out several fintech lenders. These lenders are furious because many of the loans deemed as suspicious were never even made.
Visa challenges Mastercard, others with BNPL rollout from FinLedger – More evidence that consumers really love BNPL. Visa announced their new offering, called Visa Installments, as they try to play catch up with the segment leaders, Klarna, Affirm, and Afterpay.
JPMorgan Bets on Plaid Months After Dimon’s Data Criticism from Bloomberg – So, in January Jamie Dimon calls out Plaid on an earnings call for their improper use of data and we find out in August that JPMorgan likes the company so much they have invested.
The Fintech Unicorn Hubs of 2021: Where Do the Largest Fintechs Hail From? from CFTE – New research shows the U.S. is still where the action is in fintech with more than half of the world’s 157 fintech unicorns residing in this country.
Sustainable finance company Aspiration to go public through SPAC merger from MarketWatch – After the rumors swirled last week we now know it is official. Leader in the green banking space, Aspiration, is going public via SPAC that values the company at $2.3 billion.
New York enacts law to curb overdraft fees from American Banker – We shouldn’t have to create a law for this but it shows the sorry state of many traditional banks. In New York, a new bill just became law that mandates state-chartered banks process checks from the smallest to the largest to minimize the impact of overdraft fees.
Walmart is the latest Fortune 500 Company hiring a cryptocurrency expert from CNBC – Walmart has an open position right now for a “visionary leader” in the crypto space. This person will help develop the retailer’s “digital currency strategy and product roadmap” as well as identifying “crypto-related investment and partnerships”.
SoftBank-Backed DriveWealth Gets Insight, Accel Funding at $2.85 Billion Value from Bloomberg – The largest funding round of the week goes to Drivewealth, the brokerage infrastructure company, with a $450m round led by Insight Partners and Accel.
Branch raises $48M from Lee Fixel’s Addition, Indeed to provide accelerated payments to workers from TechCrunch – Some news outlets reported Branch’s latest round as a $540m Series B but it was, in fact, a $48m Series B along with a $500m credit facility.
Wells Fargo abandons plan to shut down personal credit lines from American Banker – There was an uproar last month when Wells Fargo said it would be closing down their personal line of credit product, thereby potentially hurting their customers’ credit scores. They have now backtracked and will keep this product available.