President’s Blog

Life Stages: Fostering Early Financial Literacy

November is Financial Literacy month, and one important but often-overlooked demographic in need of financial literacy is the under-18 crowd. Kids who learn the value of money and how to appropriately manage their finances are likely to grow into responsible and independent adults. The vast majority of schools, however, don’t have any educational infrastructure in […]

Trends in the Alternative Mortgage Sector

You’ve heard it all before: the Canadian housing market is an ever-expanding bubble, and banks are increasingly unable to meet the needs of the average borrower. With the Liberal party promising to build, preserve, or repair 1.4 million homes in the next four years, now is an opportune time for alternative lenders to educate homeowners […]

Private Debt Solutions: The Answer You’re Looking For

For far too long, a handful of banks have dominated the private debt market in Canada. Current supply-chain bottlenecks and inflation have led to growing retrenchment from banks, causing them to lend more conservatively. On top of this, commercial lending is extremely slow: it can take up to a year to secure a loan due […]

US BNPL Policy Snapshot

FAST FACTS:  The U.S. government has begun an inquiry into BNPL in advance of potential legislation. Last week, government officials heard testimony from both sides of the aisle. Here’s the rundown of what was covered: Dr. Kristen Broady specifically cited Klarna as a positive example of BNPL. There was a large focus on determining whether […]

Community Fintechs: How Banking in Segments is DEI in Action

Fintechs are the New Community Banks Fintechs across the world are challenging community banks by offering targeted products to niche demographics. While not banks themselves, they provide a suite of services that run the gamut of lending, savings accounts, and financial advice. Many engage in customer segmentation in order to better serve the needs of […]

Alt Data: Key to Inclusive Lending?

Alternative data is financial information not typically collected by a credit reporting agency. Unlike conventional data such as credit scores, quarterly financial statements or company filings, alternative data can drive new insights and can be leveraged for business expansion. Further, it can be used to provide credit opportunities for thin-file and no-file customers, democratizing the […]

BNPL Media Insight Report

A global study released today analyzed thousands of paid social media ad campaigns from Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm over the last 90 days. Brand Total’s research report analyzed all paid social campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn from the three leading BNPL solutions over a 90-day period, from June 13th to September 10th. […]

A $27 Credit Card Limit

Kudos to Slice. This Bengaluru-based fintech startup just launched their new Rs 2,000 ($27) credit card. In a market where adoption rate of credit cards has remained largely stagnant over the past several years, this entry level card can drive origination of first time users and is a hook in the data lake to identify […]

Africa: A BNPL Goldmine

Larry Diamond, CEO of Zip, is on a global shopping spree: Buy Now, Profit Later. Since August 2018, when Zip app was launched in the Google Play Store, Larry and his partner, Peter Gray, have acquired PartPay Limited (New Zealand), SpotCap (ANZ), Twisto (Czech), Spotii (UAE) and, this past month, Quadpay for $430 million. The […]

BNPL in Fractions

Survey by LendingTree of 1,040 Americans found: 1/3 of consumers have used BNPL! Among those who’ve made a purchase with buy now, pay later, 62% have done so five or more times and 81% said they’re likely to use it again. Amazing stats! 2/3 of shoppers who have used BNPL said they typically buy more […]

Amazon | Affirm: The End Game?

What is Amazon’s winning formula? Besides being the paragon of logistics it has always won on consumer stickiness (Prime) and seamless checkout. Amazon filed the 1-Click patent in 1997 and it was granted by the USPTO in 1999. Besos’ 1-Click payment shopping made decisioning on your basket almost too easy. One click made any payment […]

Earned Wage Access

This month two Canadian fintech lenders made Earned Wage Access (EWA) announcements: Koho, the challenger bank launched will now allow clients to access a portion of their paycheque daily instead of waiting until the end of their two week cycle. ZayZoon, the godfather of EWA in Canada announced a partnership with Visa making it easier for […]

Flinks: What does $103M get the National Bank?

On the heels of their $11M Series A round investment in July last year, National Bank steps up to acquire a majority stake in fintech startup Flinks. What does it mean for Canada’s sixth largest lender, National Bank?  The move uncannily mirrors the US investment news that J.P. Morgan was a named investor in Plaid‘s last equity round. Are we at […]

BNPL: Confessions of a Merchant

I am Sally Mainstreet Merchant who invested in cloud commerce 10 years ago. With COVID, we have pivoted most of the company’s efforts into our online operation. Optimizing checkout for our customers is key for me. Like most merchants, my goal at checkout is to eliminate friction. Undue clicks to commerce drive basket abandonment. Any […]

Layaway + Credit Card = BNPL

Back in the 1930s – yes, think Dust Bowl and The Grapes of Wrath – storekeepers, hard up for sales but leery of extending credit, invented a facility called layaway. The merchant would “lay it away” for later pick-up when the consumer had the cash to pay off the balance. (If the consumer did not […]

Confessions of a BNPL Shopper

I am Bob Average Millennial | Gen Z shopper. I have never experienced the need to step into the corner bank – I got a $500 entry-level credit card in college, forgot to pay for a novelty purchase, and have refrained from using it since. I live in a world of Wealthsimple Cash and KOHO […]

Open Banking Report: Toe in a Cold Lake

Guest Article by John Mavriyannakis Three years in the making, having initially been tabled in the 2018 budget, the Canadian federal government has released its final report on Open Banking. Touted by many media outlets as a win for the Canadian consumer, it will do little to impact the success of FinTechs here and may […]

The British Invasion

Zilch, a London-based Fintech, has acquired Miami-based lender Neptune Financial (NepFin) as a Buy Now, Pay Later beachhead into North America. Zilch rides the Mastercard rails with an open-loop payment card (Zilch presently provides access to 5000+ stores). The business model is focused on pre-purchase acquisition of the customer allowing for a seamless experience at checkout. Philip Belamant calls […]

The Birthplace of BNPL? Brazil.

It all started with inflation math. As far back as the 1950’s in Brazil “crediários” became synonymous with installment credit payments. For decades Brazil suffered from chronic high inflation. Inflation reached more than 6000% by the late 80s. People spent their money as soon as they earned it and shopkeepers were leery of extending credit. […]

An Ottawa Pre-Budget Missive

On Friday, August 6th, the Canadian Lenders Association officially submitted its recommendations to Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance in advance of the upcoming federal budget. In the submission, the CLA calls on the government to: Embrace a consumer-directed model of finance Ensure that Canadian FinTechs are fairly represented by the Canadian Payments Act Strive towards […]

The Invisible Person

Credit invisibility is a significant problem for Canadians. 35.3% of Canadians are credit invisible vs. 19.3% in the US. The issue disproportionately affects immigrants, minority communities or younger individuals. Recent research by PERC shines a light on credit invisible Canadians. PERC defines the ‘credit invisible’ population as individuals with “either no account payment history in […]

M&A Reciprocity: the Afterpay-Square deal. 

It is an embarrassment of retail riches: Afterpay brings 100s of thousands of merchants to the deal and Square brings a multiple of 10x that number. Reciprocity Key is enhancing Square (No-Bank Required) banking app: Cash App (formerly Square Cash): On the consumer side, the obvious benefit is that BNPL provides Square a strategy to onboard […]

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in FinTech

The business case for diversity in FinTech is clear: inclusive companies are better able to attract talent, tap into new markets and create innovative products. Financial services companies are seeing an average 2-4% revenue growth per 1% increase in diversity.  Unquestionably, this imbalance need to be righted: however, we need to go beyond checking a […]

EQ Bank: Payment & Open Banking

President: “What does the next 18 months look like in your sector – Anything loud and proud – the good and the bad.” Equitable Bank: We believe that two key areas should have significant impact within the banking ecosystem and be a net positive for consumer choice over the next 18 months: 1) Payments Modernization […]

Ottawa’s Open Banking Leaves Some Doors Closed

We commends Minister Freeland and the federal government for releasing the long-awaited report on the implementation of consumer-directed finance. This report is a step towards creating a more robust, competitive, and consumer-friendly banking industry. The 34 recommendations in the report offer a holistic overview to how Fintechs can use the financial information stored with banks […]

The Angle on the Square Deal

Square in San Fran & Afterpay in Melbourne have tied the ecosystem knot. What does $30 billion get Square? It allows for an enviable laddered service offering across its merchant network … and most importantly adds the extremely sexy Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) moniker to Square’s suite of financial services. BNPL is a white hot sector […]

Open Banking: Cut the malarkey!

Earlier this month the Biden Administration published a lengthy executive order designed to promote competition in banking. Below are two snippets from the document that turned fintech heads (headers are ours): Checks on bank M&A “Over the past four decades, the United States has lost 70% of the banks it once had, with around 10,000 bank closures. Communities […]

We need new used-cars!

Used car values have skyrocketed over the last 12 months – up 45% YoY! Why? Increased demand: Consumers are sitting on savings that they have accumulated over the last 12 months, and are leveraging that money for larger purchases. Decreased supply: Troubles with new car production due to factory shutdowns and semi-conductor shortages have limited production, […]

Bye Bye Bye Overdraft

Overdraft fees are back in the hot seat after a number of consumer groups recently condemned the product as punitive. What are overdraft fees? An overdraft fee is charged when a payment or withdrawal from your bank account exceeds the available balance and your bank covers the transaction as part of an overdraft protection service. But in […]

How BNPL Works?

Remember Oleson’s Mercantile in Little House on the Prairie?  Local shoppers had the flexibility of asking Harriet or Nels Oleson if they could put some cash down now and pay the rest later. Similar to the trust relationship of a small town local store that would allow a regular customer to put an amount of […]

Native Digital Consumers & BNPL

Advanced by Millennials and Gen Zs,  BNPL has become a mainstream option at online check out. PYMNTS study of Gen Z consumers ages 22 – 33 were over 18% credit invisible and 20% poor credit.  We see that over 50% of all consumers have used BNPL services as an alternative at checkout: Key findings 55.8% of […]

The Future of Automotive Lending

How can our automotive industry mobilize around the goal of 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035? Adoption, lack of incentive and lack of raw materials make this an a challenging target. The Canadian Lenders Association automotive leadership round table is tasked with discussing strategies to service Canadians as we change the way cars are purchased […]

6 vs. 294 year-old

Six-year-old Revolut is now worth more than 294-year-old NatWest Bank, which has a market cap of $28bn USD. Revolut is a FinTech darling even with losses that doubled last year to $290m. Revolut’s 15 million customers and 35 country expansion helps sweeten the pill. Thursday the company raised $800m from Tiger Global Management and SoftBank. It’s rally cry is […]

How best to Discover Sezzle (BNPL)

BNPL continues to make news. Lots of corporate jostling and partnerships. Banks and rails are positioning themselves for the gold rush. Discover is in the game buying $30 million shares of Sezzle .There is a quid pro quo: Sezzle will be riding the Discover rails providing Buy Now Pay Later services to card holders and […]

FinTech = $1 of every $5

One in every five dollars invested by venture capital this year has gone into FinTech. According to The Economist, FinTech funding has surged to $34b last quarter and over 60 of these companies are headed to the public markets.

Apple Pay Later x 4

With Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) taking the fintech lending marketplace by storm, Apple has thrown its hat into the ring. No surprise. How it works: Users have the option to pay for: Four fortnightly INTEREST-FREE payments or INTEREST-BEARING installment loan over several months. Code named “Apple Pay in 4” and “Apple Pay Monthly Installments.” […]

The Crypto Rails War

Visa says crypto-linked card usage tops $1 billion in first half of 2021 used by consumers globally on non-crypto goods and services. That is up from a humble start compared to the same period last year. Visa said digital payments such as cryptocurrency have the potential to disrupt $18 trillion of annual consumer spending with cash […]

Forbes Fintech 50 2021

Note: Fintech 50 startups must have either headquarters or substantial operations in the U.S. and be private. Also some nice growth from last year: Stripe is worth $95 billion, up from $35 billion Many are likely to go public soon, either through IPOs or SPAC deals. Marqeta etc. Name Categories Funding Location Addepar Wall Street […]

Fintech Rocket

In The Business Research Company’s Report on Fintech the company assessed the global fintech market value at $127.66 billion in 2018, and indicated growth an annual growth rate of 24.8% through 2022. The FinTech (Financial Technologies) market consists of sales of technology and platform based financial services and related goods. FinTech is the use of […]

FinTech in a Box

Picks and shovels vendors in a gold rush usually do well. A new breed of startups are white labeling full-stack platforms that FIs can use to launch their fintech startups and products. FinTech in a box: the goal is to enable the emerging sector to focus on growth and not on servicing technical debt. The […]

Fintech Lending is on the Rebound

A recent report by S&P Global Market Intelligence paints an optimistic picture for fintech lenders in a post-pandemic environment. Unsecured personal lenders are projected to rise in volume by 51%, to $47.9 billion in originations annually. Small-and medium-sized business lenders are expected to rise by 16.1% to $15.8 billion. Student lenders are forecast to rise 152% to […]

Pride in Banking

The CGLCC estimates that Canada’s 1m person LGBT+ population has an annual spending power of $90 billion. To better serve the needs of this community, fintechs are personalizing the consumer banking experience: BMO, Citi, and Republic Bank now offer Mastercards with a client’s “true name”. US digital bank startup Daylight, advises clients how to set savings goals toward transition-related medical […]

Straight A’s For Student Lenders

54% of undergrads have student debt at graduation, owing an average amount of $28,000. In the U.S. this number has reached over $1.7 trillion. Startups in this space are developing technology to target both private and federal loan debt in areas, such as responsible lending, loan management and refinancing, as well as make it easier […]

A “teeny-weeny little bit” is now an official measurement

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, said the bank has seen “a teeny-weeny little bit” of life in its loan book, highlighting Chase’s consumer products as a source of growth. This jives with the latest from the Federal Reserve highlighting consumer loans as the only major category to post month-over-month growth in May, up 1.3% from […]

The APR Red Herring

The Annual Percentage Rate is a way of standardizing the cost of credit. It is simply the interest rate plus any additional cost associated with borrowing money and it serves as an important metric to compare different credit options. However, the media, regulators and government often fixate on this number and miss the underlying borrower […]

Future of Upsell | Downsell

What is the future of the upsell-downsell relationship between fintech lenders and banks? The wall between incumbent and fintech-forward credit is crumbling and 2021 maybe an opportune time to advance contiguous lending. I have always said that technology makes for strange bedfellows. Can banks partner with fintechs (with their iron-gut risk modelling) to service borrowers […]

Bank’s FinTech Sandbox

Once upon a time, I was in telecom running Impact Mobile. The refrain in the 2010s was that over-the-top (OTT) services would commoditize the carriers making them proverbial dumb pipes. Smartphone, App Store … Yup, it happened. Granted, a big and profitable dumb pipe, but many of the value-added services evaporated for the telecommunication leviathans. […]

Explaining FinTech to a 7-Year-Old

How do you explain #FinTech to a 7-year-old? Well it all starts with a bucket of Mega Bloks: quite simple, no instructions needed. You begin with deposits and then snap on savings … at some point add insurance, mortgage and investment blocks. We call these laddered services and they’re quite addictive when you’re 5 years old. Then […]

Financial Data Squeeze

In a world where data is the ultimate currency, the corner bank is becoming less useful to the struggling SMB. Enter embedded financial ecosystems. We know that commerce leviathans (Shopify, eBay, Amazon) have begun servicing mom-and-pop main-street with more than a storefront in the cloud. And we know that lending products are the gateway drug … […]

Revolut Losses and Gains

In the face of COVID, challenger-bank Revolut‘s adjusted operating losses rose to $210M Cdn. (A little down for its 3-fold sales growth in 2019.) Revolut’s main revenue comes from interchange fees and fluctuates based on consumer card usage – COVID led to a sharp decline in payment volume. However … the Crypto white knight came to […]

Open Banking Boon

In the four years since Britain introduced #openbanking, the island nation has been the beneficiary of near half of all global FinTech investment. “It wasn’t because there was political stability or a low-cost taxes, it was because there was certainty around the regulatory regime,” says my colleague Steven Boms, head of FDATA North America Yes, certain data can […]