N26 review: a challenger bank lacking key features

Want to know how fast disruption happens? Look at N26. This Berlin-based challenger bank has been around since 2013, after longtime friends Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal co-founded it. Back then, Number 26, as it was then known, was little more than an app interface for Wirecard.

But in 2016, it rebranded to N26, won a banking licence, and became one of the first mobile banks, landing in the UK in 2018. There were early challenges, with a withdrawal-limiting fair-use policy angering German customers, but only a few years on and N26 now has a valuation of $2.7 billion and 3.5 million customers – and is set to add plenty more as it launches in the US, where it is sure to blow the minds of Americans still amazed by contactless payments.

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Financial Brands Should Bank on Experience

We are currently the top European destination for FinTech venture capital investment. In 2018, fundraising here reached £15 billion, representing one in every six pounds invested in the sector worldwide. Only the US and China outperformed us.

This year’s Innovate Finance Global Summit – which we helped deliver – highlighted the country’s future as a FinTech powerhouse, thanks in part to the Bank of England rebuilding its hard and soft infrastructure. Not only is FinTech an integral part of the financial sector, but the two will soon be synonymous. As the market becomes more and more crowded, brands will need to differentiate themselves if they’re to succeed in the long term.

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Commerzbank Tests a Blockchain-Based Payment Solution

Commerzbank Tests a Blockchain-Based Payment Solution. Commerzbank, the second-largest bank in Germany, is exploring a blockchain-based payments solution that won’t require human intervention, according to an announcement Thursday.

The bank has already completed testing the first use case of the solution, where it issued euros on a blockchain and provided automobile giant Daimler Trucks, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, with “cash on ledger” to process the payment.

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UK Bank Standard Chartered Uses Blockchain for Supply Chain Finance

London-based bank and financial services firm Standard Chartered has completed its first joint blockchain-based supply chain financing transaction.

Standard Chartered announced on Aug. 5 that the institution successfully ran their first joint deep-tier supply chain financing transaction in partnership with China-based supply chain financing service provider Linklogis. UK Bank Standard Chartered Uses Blockchain for Supply Chain Finance.

The news follows a memorandum of understanding signed by Standard Chartered and Linklogis in February 2019, when the firms agreed to collaborate on expanding the bank’s supply chain visibility, as well as to support sustainable growth of China’s economy and innovation.

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RBS: Global to Gone in Ten Years

On thursday The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reported another disappointing earnings and formally took itself off the global stage.

“This is a plan for a smaller, more focused, but ultimately more valuable, bank with the vast majority of its assets in the U.K., and for RBS marks the end of the stand-alone global investment bank model,” stated Ross McEwan, Chief Executive Officer of R.B.S.

I don’t invest in banks or insurance companies.Haven’t worked under a bank since 2004 when I left a member of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) group to join an independent. And usually don’t comment on the banks unless it has to do with investment strategies, innovation or ethics. All three of which are often lacking in good measure at banks these days.

However having lived, studied and worked in and around Edinburgh for most part of the past five years. I still scratch my head when driving by the RBS Gogarburn headquarters or walking by the historical RBS offices across St. Andrews Square; How did an iconic institution with almost 300 years of history get it so wrong!?

Here is a glimpse of how the bank went from being at one of the largest financial services group in the world to a small U.K. bank. Erasing tens of billions in shareholder value during the process:

March 6, 2000: RBS offer for NatWest is declared “unconditional”. Fred Goodwin replaces Sir George Mathewson as chief executive and shares close at £2.70.

May 4, 2004: Charter One bought for £5.8bn. RBS launches £2.5bn rights issue to fund takeover of US bank. Deal fails to hit income targets, prompting investor criticism. shares still higher at £4.81.

September 14, 2005: Queen opens new £350m headquarters building at Gogarburn. Yeah!

May 28, 2006: Sir Fred, having been knighted in 2004, is voted most powerful businessman in Scotland for the fourth year in the Scotland on Sunday Power 100 list. Share price hasnt’ move much in two years and sits at £4.74.

April 16, 2007: Consortium led by RBS enters bidding war for Dutch bank ABN Amro, which was already in advanced talks with Barclays for a friendly merger. Shares climb to £5.78.

October 10, 2007: RBS declares takeover of ABN “unconditional”, just as market value of assets plummet in midst of credit crunch.

April 22, 2008: under pressure from Government, RBS announces £12bn rights issue to shore up its weak capital base. shares still holding up surprisingly at £3.

October 13, 2008: a week after accepting emergency funding, RBS receives multi-billion pound bailout as it comes close to collapse, leaving taxpayer as its majority shareholder. Shares hit 65.7p

November 2008: The Government takes a 58pc in RBS for £15bn, with a further £5bn of preference shares.

February 26, 2009: RBS reports a loss of £24.1bn for 2008, the biggest in British corporate history.

February 10, 2009: Sir Fred and former chairman Sir Tom McKillop appear before MPs. Sir Fred and Sir Tom apologise for the near collapse of RBS and the “distress” it caused. Shares 23.8p.

I’d like to get some comments from the bankers out there and particularly with any that may have had the pleasure or pain of working at the bank. How did it RBS. get it so wrong, so many times?

Disclosure: I do not have any position in RBS shares.

Source: RBS Investor Relations, The Telegraph