Category Archives: Personal Finance

No going back: New imperatives for European banking

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McKinsey & Company | By Matthieu L, Debasish P, Ildiko R, Hiro S, and Marcus S | May 18, 2020

New imperative for european banking - No going back: New imperatives for European banking

Now is the time for Europe’s banking leaders to reimagine how their institutions operate and their role in society.

COVID-19 remains an unresolved health challenge that has resulted in tragic loss of life. The economic contraction emerging in its wake will likely be the deepest since World War II and the road to recovery will be long and challenging.

Over the past few months, banking leaders have displayed resolve and resilience, moving swiftly to protect the health of employees and customers, ensure the continuity of basic banking services, and build up capital, liquidity, and cost buffers to strengthen their institutions. In the coming months, banks will start to return to something resembling normal service, reopening offices and branches. But so much has changed over the past few weeks: customers’ financial needs, the way they engage, how employees work, and even society’s expectations of banks.

See:  Dealing with a crisis: FinTech versus Bank

The industry will likely face a prolonged period of economic pressure and banks’ actions in the coming months will set their performance trajectory for the years ahead. Banks have shown during the lockdown what is possible in terms of speed and innovation. There is no going back. Now is the time for banking executives to reimagine how their institutions operate. Bold vision and disciplined execution on a set of key imperatives will ultimately differentiate the leaders from the laggards as this crisis abates.

The crisis will put banks under prolonged

It is too early to predict the full impact of the pandemic. The outcome will depend on the length of lockdowns, the drop in demand, and the shape of the recovery. The scale of government support will also be critical—in the last month, some European governments have rolled out packages worth up to 30 percent of GDP and this level of intervention might continue.

All companies must think through possible scenarios to plan their next steps. Based on a recent survey of nine scenarios developed by the McKinsey Global Institute, more than a third of European executives expect a muted recovery. This is the basis of the analysis that follows, but we must keep in mind that other scenarios, both more optimistic and pessimistic, are also plausible.

See:  Visa’s digital dollar concept opens a door to central bank currencies

The muted-recovery scenario translates into a drop in GDP of 11 percent across the Eurozone in 2020, and recovery in late 2023. 1 For banks, this would lead to sharp drops in revenue, a squeeze on capital and a hit on return on equity.

No going back - 6 imperatives to win

The crisis has upended the world in which banks operate in terms of customer behavior, ways of working, and government actions.

McKinsey’s European customer survey shows how customer behavior and needs have changed over the past month: digital engagement levels have climbed up to 20 percent, the use of cash has halved, 30 to 40 percent of customers have expressed a greater need for advice, while 20 to 40 percent want products to help them through the crisis. 4 Pension shortfalls are a particular challenge with those close to retirement facing a very immediate problem. Banks will need to reflect on the propositions and channels through which they can best meet these evolving needs.

See:  Open banking review faces ‘worrying’ delay as pandemic drives Canadians to fintech

  1. Innovate new products and propositions. COVID-19 has triggered a range of new financial needs that are waiting to be addressed.
  2. Lock in the shift to digital sales and service, and reshape physical distribution. In just a couple of months, customers’ adoption of digital banking has leapt forward by a couple of years.
  3. Create a structurally leaner and scalable cost base. To offset the effect of spiking risk costs and sluggish income, and to free up resources for building digital capabilities, banks need to aim for a cost improvement of 25 to 35 percent (or 20 to 30 percent net increase after reinvestments) over the next two to three years.
  4. Reset the organization and technology for speed. During the lockdown, many bank teams turned agile overnight and delivered the impossible—such as enabling thousands of employees to work from home, or deploying new digital journeys in record time.
  5. Double down on risk and capital management. Credit losses will be the defining differentiator of performance over the next year. Early detection and proactive intervention are critical to manage non-performing loans.
  6. Rebalance the business mix and seek targeted M&A deals. Industry landscapes are often redrawn after crises.

See:  COVID-19: A Test Of The Stakeholder Approach

The role of banks in society: A time for purpose-driven choices

Crises often prompt self-reflection and change and this may be a perfect time to reset what has been, at times, a challenging relationship with society. Banks have already been involved in economic support measures, but some may want to be even more proactive, as in Switzerland for example, where banks supported the government-initiated COVID-19 small-business loan program.  This could also be a time for banks to rethink their culture. Moving from a control-based culture to one based on strong values supported by smart controls might prove far more effective in steering European banks towards recovery in the volatile future.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Google and Gates Foundation to help spread digital payments in developing countries

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Fortune | David Z. Morris | May 6, 2020

digital payment initiative - No going back: New imperatives for European banking

For more than a decade, Kenyans from the bustling capital of Nairobi to far-flung farms have had access to a digital payments service that was ahead of its time. M-Pesa, introduced in 2007 by Vodafone and Kenya’s Safaricom mobile provider, lets users send and receive money on their mobile phones, providing bank-like services for millions who had relied on cash and informal networks.

See:  Can Fintech Make the World More Inclusive?

By 2012, Kenyans had registered 17 million accounts. And by making saving easier and small businesses more efficient, M-Pesa had helped lift 194,000 Kenyan households out of poverty, a study in 2016 concluded.

Now, a coalition of nonprofits and tech companies including Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation want to repeat those outcomes worldwide by making it easier for developing countries to build real-time digital payments systems. On Wednesday, they announced the formation of the Mojaloop Foundation, which will develop and promote a free, open-source real-time payments platform intended for nations and central banks. The Mojaloop Foundation’s founding sponsors also include the Rockefeller Foundation, the philanthropy and investing group Omidyar Network, and the financial technology startups Coil and ModusBox.

The initiative would help tie together a growing array of digital financial services. M-Pesa, which has expanded from Kenya to countries including Ghana, Egypt, and India, has inspired hundreds of imitators worldwide. But these largely privately-run systems are fragmented.

“Systems [like M-Pesa] are silos,” says Kosta Peric, deputy director of financial services for the poor for the Gates Foundation. That can mean friction and high fees to transact between systems. “Imagine a mobile phone system where you can only talk to people connected to the same provider. It’s useful, but only so much.”

Mojaloop is modeled on digital fast-payment systems such as the U.K.’s Faster Payments Service and Australia’s New Payments Platform. Building those systems, however, often involves big up-front technology development costs and politically difficult negotiations among a variety of players. Those challenges have slowed or stalled digital banking advances not just in developing countries, but even in the United States.

See:  Estonian fintech askRobin scores $1.7M to bring ‘fair credit’ to emerging markets

Mojaloop is meant to reduce such roadblocks by providing a standard digital-payments blueprint. The software, which is publicly available via Microsoft-owned software repository GitHub, includes a directory for identifying account holders, a transfer system for routing payments, and a clearing and settlement layer that transfers funds among users’ financial institutions. The routing system relies partly on a technology called Interledger that was originally developed by Ripple, a company that aims to use Bitcoin-derived blockchain technology to connect banks.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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With $73 million CAD, Symend closes one of the largest Series B rounds in recent Alberta history

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Betakit | | May 7, 2020

Symend  - No going back: New imperatives for European bankingCalgary-based Symend has raised a $73 million CAD ($52 million USD) Series B round of funding for its customer engagement platform designed to better connect with financially at-risk customers.

The round includes $47 million USD in equity and $5 million USD in term financing from Silicon Valley Bank. The round was led by Inovia Capital’s growth fund, with participation from a group of returning and new investors, including Ignition Partners, Impression Ventures, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, Mistral Venture Partners, Telus Ventures, BMO Capital Partners, and angel investors including Plenty of Fish founder Markus Frind.

See:  NorthOne announces Series A round of $21M USD

Symend CEO and co-founder Hanif Joshaghani told BetaKit that the majority of the round was primary, with a small portion of secondary investment. In May 2019, Symend quietly raised a Series A round led by Ignition Partners. Symend also raised a prior seed round led by Impression Ventures, and an angel round that included a personal investment from Joshaghani. The Series B brings the start

Symend Hanif Joshaghani - No going back: New imperatives for European banking

Hanif Joshaghani at Symend wins NCFA's 2018 VanFUNDING pitch competition in downtown Vancouver #VF2018

up’s total funding to date to more than $85 million CAD ($60 million USD), according to Joshaghani.

The startup noted that its $73 million CAD round marks one of the largest Series B rounds in recent Alberta history. The province’s tech sector has matured at a rapid rate over the past few years, with tech startups comprising 35 percent of Alberta-owned and operated technology companies in 2019.

Alberta was the fifth largest Canadian market for venture capital investment last year, with $227 million across 39 deals. According to PwC Canada and CB Insights’ report for the full year 2019, Calgary deal activity increased from five to 22 deals last year, while funding rose to $132 million.

Symend was founded in 2016 by Joshaghani, a serial entrepreneur who had previously invested in Wave, and Tiffany Kaminsky, a sales and marketing strategist that serves as the company’s chief strategy officer.

The startup has developed an “engagement platform” designed to better engage, treat, and retain financially at-risk customers. Symend’s mission is to digitally transform the engagement experience for those consumers by using behavioural science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Symend works with enterprise organizations such as service providers and financial institutions to help them interact with at-risk customers “with empathy.” The company says it has “treated” more than 10 million at-risk customers to date and is on track for 100 million by the end of 2020.

“We started this company with the north star of, ‘lets help people and help as many people as we can,’” Joshaghani told BetaKit. “The mic drop moment is, if you can measure at an ecosystem or country-level the number of people you’ve saved from this negative credit outcome, and we’re doing that now.”

“It’s not about collecting every dollar, it’s about preserving lifetime value and working with the customers to find a resolution that ensures that they keep their service, and they’re not negatively impacted on their credit,” Kaminsky added.

See:  The paradox of 2020 VC is that the largest funds are doing the smallest rounds

Symend sells its offering as a white-labelled software-as-a-service (SaaS) product. The startup helps companies create “treatment strategies” that are meant to positively engage customers who have outstanding debt. The startup’s goal is to replace legacy collection techniques and states that its scientific research confirms that positively engaged customers are more apt to pay debts in full as well as stay with their provider or financial institution over the long run.

“Enterprises that take an innovative approach to solving common business challenges with a human touch catch our attention,” Rich Osborn, managing partner of Telus Ventures told BetaKit. “Symend is a great example of a company doing exactly that, using both data and digital interactions to create thoughtful solutions that consider both immediate and future customer relationships.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Podcast: When Currencies Fail: A Primer on the Dollar Crisis in Lebanon

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Coindesk | Nathaniel Whittemore | Apr 29, 2020

Crisis in lebanon - No going back: New imperatives for European bankingA massive shortage of dollars is instigating economic chaos, including a more than 50% loss of value in the Lebanese pound and what looks like an enormous local premium for bitcoins. Presented in podcast and full-transcript formats.

The Lebanese pound has lost at least 50% of its value against the dollar since last year. About 220,000 people have lost their jobs. Food prices are up 58%. An estimated 75% of the population needs assistance of some kind. And over the last two nights, at least a dozen banks have been torched by protesters.

See:  Living on Defi: How I Survive Argentina’s 50% Inflation

The catalyst? Not coronavirus but a massive dollar shortage destroying an economy that relies on inflows of U.S. dollars to function.

In this episode, NLW breaks down how Lebanon models what it looks like for a currency to fail, and why this likely isn’t the last emerging market currency to experience a similar crisis in the months to come.

A few Snippets from the full transcript

It is Wednesday, April 29th and today we are going to be talking about Lebanon, specifically the currency crisis overlapping a political crisis overlapping a larger economic crisis that is engulfing Lebanon and I think has relevance for how we understand the dollar in the world, the dollar's role in the world and the fallout from COVID-19. I wanted to bring this episode to you because I noticed last week Lebanon start to emerge in the crypto sphere and there were two contexts:

The first was Dan Tapiero. He picked up on a piece by newsBTC noticing that Bitcoin seemed to be trading at fifteen thousand dollars in lebanon via localbitcoins.com which is a peer to peer platform for trading Bitcoin between people. He said the classic emerging market funding crisis was made worse by deflationary dollar peg that is breaking. Study this case as it will be modeled for other weak emerging markets. It will be a key part of the macro story behind the upcoming Bitcoin price rally.

Banks start to limit withdrawals, which is exactly what happened.

Banks started to limit how much could be withdrawn in USD and that creates more demand for dollars. All of a sudden that activity moves to the black markets because if banks won't allow people to withdraw money or get access to dollars, black markets will, but the black market price is not going to stay the same as that official peg.

See: 

This keeps going on. As people start to see the peg fall further, they want to minimize loss.

They go from, "I don't want to lose the value that I would have had at that official peg going on the black market" to "The black markets, the only place I can get those [US] dollars

if it's 2000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, now, I want to lock in that loss rather than worry or take the risk of a loss of greater debasement of the value of the Lebanese pound in months to come.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Microsoft And Plaid Should Target Small Businesses (Not Consumers) With Money In Excel

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Forbes | Ron Shevlin | April 6, 2020

Microsoft CEO - No going back: New imperatives for European bankingMicrosoft and data aggregator Plaid announced a partnership to offer a service they’re calling Money in Excel. According to Plaid:

“Money in Excel essentially turns the spreadsheet into a fintech app. It allows users to securely connect their financial accounts, import the data within them, sync balances and transactions over time, and, ultimately, gain greater insights into their financial health.”

See:  With Plaid Acquisition, Visa Makes a Big Play for the ‘Plumbing’ That Connects the Fintech World

Here’s how it’ll work: Plaid will provide a permissioned connection to financial accounts from within Excel. After linking their account(s), users will have access to their balance and transaction history. The tool will provide charts and graphs analyzing users’ spending in a “Monthly Snapshot” tab.

According to Microsoft, the tool will also feature proactive alerts about price changes for recurring payments, bank fees, and overdraft warnings.

Although there was no mention of fees by either Microsoft or Plaid, American Banker reported that Money in Excel will will cost $7 a month for individuals and $10 a month for families.

  • The Good News: Competition in the PFM Space is Weak (For Now)

  • The Bad News: Few People Use PFM Tools

Microsoft and Plaid Should Focus on the Small Business Market

There’s a better market for Microsoft and Plaid to go after with Money in Excel: Small businesses.

That sentiment is shared by Bryan Clagett, Director, Strategic Initiatives at StrategyCorps, who knows a thing or two about this: He’s a former banker, was the Chief Marketing Officer of PFM provider Geezeo, and is a small business owner.

According to Clagett, “An Excel ‘add-in’ makes more sense for small businesses than for consumers. Consumers don’t care about tracking their spending behaviors—small businesses do. In addition, small businesses are already closely tied into the Microsoft ecosystem.”

A survey of small businesses from Cornerstone Advisors confirms this. Roughly three in ten small businesses use spreadsheets to do their accounting, about a quarter use them for invoicing and bill payment, and a little more than a fifth rely on spreadsheets to do payment acceptance.

See:  The mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs

And that doesn’t include the number that throw data into spreadsheets to analyze their cash flow and spending trends. A study from Aite Group estimated that about 70% of small businesses are more dependent on spreadsheets than they need to be.

Microsoft and Plaid Missed a Big Opportunity

By not focusing on the small business market, Microsoft and Plaid missed an opportunity to jump start their new service.

According to Derik Sutton, VP of Marketing for Autobooks, a fintech that integrates small business financial management tools into digital banking channels:

“Small businesses owners spend too much time cobbling together data from multiple platforms, or offline record keeping, in order to apply for a loan from a bank. We are seeing this play out with the recent PPP and SBA programs.”

Sutton adds, “Microsoft and Plaid would have been inundated with Money in Excel customers had they recognized the small business need. If they had templates for historical and projected cash flows, income statements, and balance sheets, every bank in the country would be telling small businesses to sign up for the service and add their accounts before applying for loans.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Central banker bulletin: COVID-19 cash concerns to drive digital currency

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Ledger Insights | April 6, 2020

covid 19 and cash - No going back: New imperatives for European bankingbulletin from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the body owned by 62 central banks, highlights cash concerns because of the COVID-19 virus. It states that perceived risks, valid or not, brings the potential for digital payments to the fore. And the BIS specifically makes a case for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC).

In recent weeks, internet searches have shot up relating to COVID-19 and cash, especially in jurisdictions that use small denomination banknotes.

Additionally, research has shown that viruses can persist on banknotes. That’s based on past research relating to influenza and other viruses as well as more recent COVID-19 research, which show non-porous surfaces are better at transferring the illness.

See:  Dirty money: The case against using cash during the coronavirus outbreak

However, there are no proven cases of transmission through cash, and scientists found the risks are thought to be low compared to other frequently touched objects. The main risk for COVID-19 is thought to be airborne droplets. Plus, using cards at point of sale terminals also carries some risks, particularly PIN pads. In both cases, washing hands is important.

Examples given of central bank actions include the Bank of England statement: “the risk posed by handling a polymer note is no greater than touching any other common surfaces such as handrails, doorknobs or credit cards”. China disinfected cash in some regions, and South Africa has seen scams claiming money is being withdrawn from circulation in order to relieve people of their cash.

One of the most interesting observations is that in a financial crisis, one usually sees a flight to cash. While cash in circulation has increased in the U.S., so far ATM withdrawals in the U.K. have fallen. Although restricted movement is likely to play a major role in that.

BIS Bulletin:  Covid-19, cash, and the future of payments 

Key takeaways:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has fanned public concerns that the coronavirus could be transmitted by cash.
  • Scientific evidence suggests that the probability of transmission via banknotes is low when compared with other frequently-touched objects, such as credit card terminals or PIN pads.
  • To bolster trust in cash, central banks are actively communicating, urging continued acceptance of cash and, in some instances, sterilising or quarantining banknotes. Some encourage contactless payments.
  • Looking ahead, developments could speed up the shift toward digital payments. This could open a divide in access to payments instruments, which could negatively impact unbanked and older consumers. The pandemic may amplify calls to defend the role of cash – but also calls for central bank digital currencies.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Applications OPEN: UNCDF Announces Gig Economy Challenge – Driving Financial Health for Gig Workers

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UNCDF | Jia Wei Khor | April 2, 2020

Gig economy challenge - No going back: New imperatives for European bankingAPEC Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) launched the Gig Economy Challenge.

The challenge is funded by MetLife Foundation through the i3 (Innovate, Implement and Impact) program.

In light of COVID-19, gig workers are likely to face new and unforeseen challenges which will affect their financial health.

Calling for applications to seek viable solutions for improving the financial health of gig workers in APEC's (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 21 member economies.

If you have a solution, apply now!

See:  Malaysia’s potential as the fintech hub for the ASEAN region

Why participate?

  • Technical assistance worth $100,000 to pilot your technology product or service
  • Up to $30,000 grant per team as seed capital
  • Opportunity to pilot the solution in Malaysia
  • Access to enabling partnerships, including financial institutions, technology companies and other infrastructure providers

 

Questions?

Join the info sessions!  Click below to register

7 April (Tue) 11 am ( GMT +8)

14 April (Tue) 10 am ( GMT +8)

23 April (Thurs) 11 am ( GMT +8)

 

Where can I know more?:  www.bit.ly/GigEconomyChallenge

Application Deadline:  27 April 2020

Contact finlab@uncdf.org

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - No going back: New imperatives for European banking The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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