Mar 22, 2021

NatWest buys back £1.1bn shares from UK Treasury

NatWest
OctopusEnergy
Banking
UKTreasury
William Girling
2 min
NatWest buys back £1.1bn shares from UK Treasury
NatWest has bought back £1.1bn of its own shares from the UK Treasury after more than a decade since the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bailout...

NatWest (formerly the Royal Bank of Scotland) was among the several high-profile government bailouts in the UK banking sector.

Others included HBOS and Lloyds TSB - the latter of which became fully privatised again in 2017. At the peak of the crisis, Lloyds was granted £20.3bn of public money in exchange for a 43% stake in the company.

At the time of writing this article, the UK Government still owns £14bn of NatWest and plans to offload incrementally in order to avoid significant losses. 

The Treasury reportedly plans to sell its entire stake in NatWest by 2025, calling today’s update “an important step in the government’s plan to return institutions brought into public ownership as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis to private ownership.”

NatWest: Focusing on ESG

Since the beginning of 2021, NatWest has been focused on a variety of ESG programmes such as funding for female entrepreneurs and incentivising the switch to EVs.

The former, particularly relevant in March because of International Women’s Day (see our Top 100 women in fintech list), included doubling funding for female-led business from £1bn to £2bn.

From a report, the bank specifically identified the lack of funding and scaling opportunities open to businesswomen compared to their male counterparts. 

“The NatWest Accelerator hubs have supported over 1,230 entrepreneurs of which 43% were female and NatWest’s ambition is to help create an additional 35,000 new businesses in the UK by the end of 2021,” said the bank in a press release.

Such investment could prove crucial to post-COVID-19 economic reconstruction, while the company’s initiative focusing on EVs (in partnership with Octopus Energy) could be vital for the future of transport. The scheme includes discounted charging technology, funding options via NatWest, solar and battery tech, and innovative energy tariffs.

“By working with Octopus Energy, we are offering a bundled solution to help people and businesses go green. We are determined to play an active role in the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy and this access to EV charging technology will make it easier and more affordable for our customers to make a positive difference to our environment,” said James Close, Head of Climate Change, NatWest Group.

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Jun 15, 2021

Mobile money app Monese partners with Veriff

monese
veriff
Fintech
Cybersecurity
3 min
The global identity verification provider Veriff, will provide Monese with an additional security layer

The London-based European mobile money fintech, Monese, has announced its partnership with Veriff, a global identity verification provider.

According to reports, the partnership was motivated by Monese recognising the need for enhanced security for its digital banking services. The collaboration will provide an additional layer of safety and security for the mobile money app.

Monese, which was launched in 2015 by Estonian entrepreneur Norris Koppel, was the UK’s first mobile app alternative to incumbent banks, and currently offers services for mobile money accounts across 31 countries. 

Veriff is an Estonia-based technology company focused on identity verification that has seen rapid growth over the past 18 months. In April, it secured US$69mn in a Series B funding round led by investment firms IVP and Accel.

Cybersecurity and fintech

The spate of data breaches in recent weeks is driving companies to seek cutting-edge technologies to fortify their platforms against hackers who use malware and ransomware to infiltrate and steal customer data. Identification fraud is also on the rise.

The partnership with Veriff will see enhanced security solutions integrated into the onboarding and authentication processes of Monese’s platform, to verify the identities of Monese users and help the company meet KYC (know your client) requirements. 

The integration will also speed up and improve the accuracy of user screening, thus helping to prevent identity fraud. 

Monese customer base

The majority of the banking fintech’s customers work in the gig economy, are self-employed, or living in a different European country to that in which they were born, and are not therefore well served by mainstream banks.  Monese has filled a gap in the market by providing access to flexible financial services and support.

Customers can deposit salaries, set up Direct Debits or standing orders, and use their account as a savings platform. Monese also allows users to link their PayPal and Avios accounts to their Monese accounts and pay via Apple Pay and Google Pay.  

Competative market for fintech

Speaking about the new partnership, Janer Gorohhov, co-founder and chief product officer of Veriff explained, “This partnership with Monese strengthens our position in the UK’s highly competitive digital banking market. We’re excited to aid Monese in its mission to provide access to fair, flexible financial services and support while minimising friction as we simultaneously expand our organisation’s footprint in the UK via our customer base and team.” 

Atul Choudrie, Chief Commercial Officer at Monese,  said the move would improve customer services and increase protection against fraudulent behaviors. “At Monese, we help people build sustained financial resilience, by providing access to fair, flexible financial services and support.”

He added, “Working in partnership with Veriff, we are unlocking new possibilities in delivering a safe and efficient onboarding experience that will help us reach more customers.”

 

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