Oct 22, 2020

Quontic Bank appoints Casey Christopher to unique new role

Quontic
Community bank
digital banking
Disruptor
William Girling
2 min
Disruptive community bank Quontic has announced the appointment of Casey Christopher to a unique role: Chief Empowerment Officer
Disruptive community bank Quontic has announced the appointment of Casey Christopher to a unique role: Chief Empowerment Officer...

Disruptive community bank Quontic has announced the appointment of Casey Christopher to a unique role: Chief Empowerment Officer.

The company, which recently featured in our October 2020 edition, has called the newly developed role an opportunity to drive “empowerment and cultural development within the workplace.”

No stranger to innovation, either technologically or culturally, Quontic is the first community bank to create such a role, reflecting its commitment to holistic innovation across all aspects of finance.

Re-envisioning banking

Christopher joined the company in April 2020 as VP of Specialty Banking. In a statement, she declared her excitement and affirmed that the company’s values were clearly being displayed to the industry: 

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“As the first community bank to create this role, I’m honoured and committed to driving purposeful and meaningful change at Quontic.

“We believe it’s time for companies to empower both customers and employees, which is the reason why my new role was created. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for employers to give employees a dedicated leader focused on shared experiences, impactful opportunities, co-creation, and positive energy.”

Her new duties will include overseeing cultural development, social impact and industry-wide collaborations. Additionally, Christopher will handle internal-external communication, develop best-practices, and foster an environment wherein employees can initiate and cultivate change.

“Quontic embarked on its journey two years ago to re-envision what it means to be a community bank,” added Steve Schnall, CEO. “We believe that community banking can and should be different, which is why we are doing things differently. 

“The culture and mission of a community bank should be meaningful and vibrant. Today, we are the only community bank to have both a Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Empowerment Officer. This is the very manifestation of us living out our mission statement and I, along with the Quontic team, will continue to diligently pursue our purpose.”

Main image credit: Quontic

Photo of Casey Christopher sourced from LinkedIn

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Jun 14, 2021

Basel Committee urges recognition and management of crypto

baselcommittee
Cryptocurrency
Banking
Fintech
3 min
The Basel Committee has set the tone for the official handling of Bitcoin in banking through its regulatory announcement

Experts have welcomed the news that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has proposed splitting cryptocurrency assets into two categories and managing them according to their current stability.

The regulatory body has recommended that crypto should be assessed on its operational risks to the bank, its credit, and its market liquidity. Well-established currencies, such as Bitcoin, will be managed in line with a “new conservative prudential treatment” the committee said. 

Currently, the leading global standard-setter for the prudential regulation of banks, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) is based in Switzerland and comprises 45 members from bank supervisors and central banks in 28 jurisdictions. 

The recommendations have come as a welcomed move by banking leaders and crypto cynics alike, and experts say the move now needs to be followed by a global policy that makes crypto assets safer for both banks and customers. This is despite the potential pitfalls due to crypto being associated with criminal activities and terrorism.

Cryptocurrency regulations welcomed

Although currently, banks have limited exposure to cryptocurrency, the popularity of Bitcoin, Etherium, and others is increasing rapidly among consumer and business transactions. 

Recently, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

According to reports, 62 out of 84 congressional votes saw the move approved following President Nayib Bukele's proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency. This occurred despite concern about the potential impact on El Salvador's programme with the International Monetary Fund

Fintech giants such as PayPal are also loosening their grip on cryptocurrency. The California-based online payments leader recently announced at the Coindesk Consensus 2021 conference, that it would allow customers to move cryptocurrency holdings off its platform via third-party wallets. 

PayPal has also enabled users to buy and sell digital currencies through its platform since October 2020.

In an official statement released by the BCSC, the committee’s members said, “Continued growth and innovation in crypto-assets and related services, coupled with the heightened interest of some banks, could increase global financial stability concerns and risks to the banking system in the absence of a specified prudential treatment.”

An opinion report in the Financial Times also backed the move, saying that the popularity of cryptocurrencies shows no signs of slowing down and therefore, its volatility, which puts retailers and lenders at risk, must be made a safer asset. 

Data shows that the value of Bitcoin makes up 50% of the cryptocurrency market, which is currently worth an estimated US$2trn. The BCBS announcement also boosted the value of the market because regulation classes cryptocurrency officially as an asset and is a significant recognition of maturation.

However, volatility remains an issue following Bitcoin’s turbulent year, which has seen it rise from $30,00 to more than $60,00 and then back down to $37,000 in under 12 months. 

Crypto cynics not happy

But not everyone is pleased about the move. The director of the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, Pieter Hasekamp, published an article entitled ‘The Netherlands must ban Bitcoin” in response to the news for daily newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad

Hasekamp has predicted that cryptocurrency is a bubble that will ultimately collapse. He also urged the Netherlands government to ban bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with immediate effect. 

He said, “Cryptocurrencies are unsuitable as a unit of account and means of payment outside the criminal circuit; its use as a store of value is based on the hope that cryptocurrencies will one day replace real money. But that’s not going to happen.”

He continued, “Cryptocurrencies are essentially neither money nor a financial product, but an example of what Nobel laureate Robert Shiller calls a contagious narrative: a contagious story in which people believe because other people believe in it. Gresham’s law is replaced by Newton’s law: what goes up, must come down.”

However, so far, the Netherlands’ finance minister Wopke Hoekstra disagrees that banning cryptocurrency is right for the country and is supportive of the BCSC's recommendations.

Image credit: Getty

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